THE HABIT OF KNOWING YOURSELF…
You may have noticed that I repeat a lot of the same words and phrases during these shows. You know, like; the things you focus on expand, and your relationships are the most valuable things you possess, excuses don’t exist, and things like that.
These things I repeat from time to time are important things, they are part of the foundation that makes up the entire philosophy here at the being a better man podcast. Today I want to expound on one of those things that I often repeat.
Knowing yourself, and being true to yourself. These are two slightly different concepts but they are tied together…because it’s impossible to be true to yourself, if you first do not know yourself.
Knowing yourself comes up a lot. I have provided you on several occasions with tips and tricks to know yourself better and why it is so important. I’ll go over it again for the sake of any new listeners.
First, the reason so many people don’t know themselves well is because we lie to ourselves. I think humans are the only animal capable of this, but we do it all the time. We lie to ourselves about who we are and what we stand for, even about what we truly believe in. We do this because it’s natural for us to all want to think the very best, especially about ourselves. Then, after a time, we come to believe the lies. So many people are walking around with a false, inaccurate perception of who they really are.
This becomes a problem when something unexpected happens. Suddenly you find yourself acting or reacting in ways that are not consistent with who you believed yourself to be. Depending on the situation, that can be a big problem, it can even be dangerous or life altering.
Not knowing yourself well is also a problem when it comes to improving yourself. All of you listening to this program are here because you want to become a better person. Well, if you have not made the effort to truly know yourself…then how will you know what things really need to be improved? How will you direct your focus if you aren’t being honest with yourself in the first place?
The other component of this is that we are always changing, so we never finish the task of knowing ourselves. I’m a different guy than I was 10 years ago, so if I stopped trying to know myself back then I would not recognize the changes that have occurred in me since. So that is a refresher on the importance of knowing yourself.
The other thing I said I would talk about, is being true to yourself. Like I said earlier; it’s impossible to be true to yourself, if you first do not know yourself.
When I talk about being true to yourself I’m talking about never compromising your personal values and beliefs. I’m talking about always acting in a way that is consistent with who you are and what you stand for. We can’t begin to be true to these things unless we know what they are. We wind up trying to be true to how we think we are…and that almost never works out because ultimately we are betrayed by the reality of who we are.
I don’t tell anyone how to act, or what to do, or how to think on this show. My message is pretty simple; decide who you are and what you believe, and be true to that. Each man must also decide for himself what it means to be a better man. It’s something that must be realized, rather than taught.
What values do you hold in high regard? What character traits do you assign to being better? What behavior do you find unacceptable or acceptable? These are all questions you need to ask yourself…and then act on the answers.
I realize it may not be what you are used to. In our modern cultures there are many different organizations, groups, institutions and subcultures that tell us what to think and how we should act. They tell us what is good and bad, right and wrong, and expect us to comply.
We become conditioned by society to look for these answers outside ourselves instead of looking within. This may be a paradigm shift from what you are used to…but who is ultimately responsible for you, besides you?
I’m going to break it down a little further now, so if you don’t understand what I’m saying yet, hang on for another minute.
In every civilized society there are acceptable behaviors, and there are other behaviors that are not acceptable. You know like stealing, murder, assault, lying, cheating and so on.
In different social circles the same thing exists; a list of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.
Most of you listening probably abide by most of these societal standards already…at least I hope you do. The question…and the difference in what I’m talking about, is why.
For many people what keeps them from acting a certain way is the law. Or, they may comply with the law purely from social pressure. What’s missing in my opinion, is that they have never bothered to question it or make up their own mind about it. Therefore, they are being true to the agency that created that law, rather than to themselves.
For example, lets take a behavior like stealing. Most of us will agree that it is wrong to steal, but what is actually informing us, ourselves or the society we live in?
I can tell you this…if a man comes to it on his own as a result of knowing himself that stealing is wrong, then he won’t cheat on his taxes, he will return money he found, he will not knowingly take advantage of someone like that. Not because it’s against the law…but because he himself had determined that it is wrong.
The primary difference in all of this is a matter of motive and intention. For example I always try to drive the posted speed limit..why? Because that is the law? No, it is because from my years as a professional driver I have determined that it is the best and safest thing to do. So every time I drive the speed limit, I am being true to myself. If I am speeding I am not being true to myself. I am out of integrity because of a decision I made about the merit of that law.
I’m not suggesting that if you disagree with a law that you should break it, you can if you want, but there will be consequences. What I am suggesting is that by questioning everything you do or don’t do throughout each day you can find out what you agree with or not…and why. When you figure out the why, and make these determinations they become part of you and you know yourself a bit better as a result.
If you approach life this way, eventually you find that almost everything you are doing is because you are true to yourself, and that has happened because you took the time to know yourself. Doing this will also create a habit of self reflection and questioning…in other words, a habit of knowing yourself, and being true to yourself.
When you reach this level of self-knowledge there are many benefits. Insults will no longer affect you, you will be above them because you will be secure in the knowledge of who you are. Your confidence will be increased, as will your self esteem. Chances are you will like and respect yourself more, and others will as also, as a result of your own self respect.
That’s all I’ve got for today guys. Now head out into the world intent on getting to know who you are. Question everything, determine why you think or feel everything. Decide for yourself what is right or wrong. Decide for yourself what is better or worse…and then, be true to that. Every time you are true to yourself, you are being a better man today, than you were yesterday.
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