I am a very analytical person. But that doesn’t mean that I spend all my time trying to figure people out, on the contrary. Sure, as a psychology major, getting to the bottom of things and understanding why people do what they do is sort of my modus operandi. But the real win in being analytical is truly, analyzing myself, being self-aware and getting to the bottom of why I do the things I do.
I am reminded of the show, Family Matters and the archetypal nerd Steve Urkel who shamefully reminds me of myself, not that I was or have ever been a blundering meddler. But taking note of his familiar line, “Did I do that?” That question never seemed rhetorical for Steve. Steve, really wanted to know was he the cause, the bungler.
How many times, if ever, do we ask ourselves, “Am I the blame for this mess? Rather than make excuses or point the finger at someone else, to avoid the pain of seeing ourselves as we truly are or, to rid ourselves of the responsibility to be introspective and courageous; to learn who we really are, why we do what we do and maybe even go as far as pondering on who we want to become?
This is where faith and hope is needed. Because once we see the ugly truth about ourselves, we are categorically going to need faith and hope to see the possibilities of who we can become and that we can…become the person we were meant to be, the person God intended for us to be. Sometimes in that dark place of despair, the reality of who we are or who we’ve become can be frightening. That is where the courage comes in: Courage to face it, courage to own our part in it, courage to be vulnerable, and courage to forgive others and ourselves in order to move past it and not get stuck: Stuck in the cycles, stuck in the trauma, stuck in the pain. We can never become the person we were intended to be or reach the expected end that God has for us, if we are repetitively stuck.
A famous quote by Plato – Know thyself. Knowing oneself ensures that you never walk in self-deception, which is the worst kind of deception. Who pulls the wool over their own eyes right? We do, when we don’t know what makes us tick. What our triggers are, why we repeat the same cycles, what we like, dislike or what we really want deep down inside or what we long for and dream about and that's if pain and disappointment hasn’t robbed us of our dreams.
We are sometimes too busy getting to know everyone else, rather than ourselves, just so we can please and satisfy others. How many times have you tolerated something because someone else liked it, without him or her knowing that you don’t particularly care for it? Don’t get me wrong, tolerance and compromise are inevitable components of most relationships but being misleading is not a component to a fulfilling and healthy relationship. There is another famous quote from William Shakespeare's Hamlet that says, “To thine own self be true.”
In my Octavia Spencer voice, “Now there are times, when we have to let people know where we stand.” Give voice to our likes and dislikes, to our dreams and fears, and to our ideas and beliefs; not to be antagonistic but to be honest, forthcoming, so that we are not misleading or deceiving. To be honest, you can’t love me, if you don’t really know me. Sometimes fear prevents us from revealing things about ourselves, and instead of people getting the right impression from the truth they get the wrong impression from our lies. And what do we do, let them believe our lies and we end up resentful and bitter toward them, simply because we were not forthcoming. It is impossible to be true to others if we are not true to who we are.
Now who you are, may not be the person you are supposed to be, so let’s not make that statement a doctrine. Being true to yourself means being honest with yourself and others about who you are and who you aspire to be. It means not compromising who you are or who you want to be, so someone else can be who they are or want to be.
Life is about making informed decisions and choosing wisely. The more information you have, the clearer the choice. If you don’t truly know yourself, you are going to make wrong choices. How can you ever determine what’s right or best for you if you don’t know “You”?
So let’s get unstuck! Take the time to get to know you, for a change. At the end of day, most of us do what we do because we want to feel our life mattered and we made a positive impact on those around us.
May your journey to self-discovery be rewarding and fulfilling. - Jenine