Do you know yourself?

To know yourself.

It seems kind of silly in a way.  Like when people go to “find themselves” when they were right there all along.  It seems silly because in theory, we should know ourselves better than we know anyone else on the planet, right?  After all…we are with ourself 24 hours a day, every day.  So, what the heck am I talking about?

It is my opinion that most men don’t really know who they are.  They “think” they know who they are of course, but sadly, they don’t.

The reason for this is fairly simple; often the person we are most dishonest with is ourself.  We lie to ourself, and for some it is almost impossible to be truly objective with your self.

As a result of all this dishonesty, many men tend to think they are something they are not.  They inflate their own virtues in their mind and are blind to their faults.  How in the world can anyone expect to be better at anything if they are not first really honest about where they are right now?

In the realm of being a better man, knowing yourself well is of vital importance.  If I am on a path of perpetual improvement (which I am), then it is extremely important to be able to identify the areas that I need improvement in.  The only ways I know of to achieve this is by being brutally honest with myself, and also by paying attention to myself as I go through my life.

Being brutally honest with yourself is not easy to do, but it is pretty easy to understand.  So what do I mean by paying attention to myself?  What I am talking about is observing myself as though I were someone else.  Being aware of how I act and react in different situations and evaluating my performance as though I were evaluating someone else.  Commending myself when I do well and taking note of the things I could have done better.  Then, all this evaluated data is stored away in my brain for use at a later time.  In other words…I learn from my mistakes, and I also learn from and get reenforcement when I do things right.

I got to know myself pretty early in life, because it always made sense to me.  This however led me to another big lesson.  That being the fact that we as people and men, are constantly changing. 

So maybe I knew myself really well when I was 19, great.  So I got lax about paying attention, maybe I stopped being so diligent about being honest with myself because after all…I knew who I was.  A couple years go by and now I’m 21.  One day something happens and I act in a way that surprises me.  How could that happen if I am tuned into who I am? 

It turns out the truth is that I no longer know myself…I just thought I did.  Because I am a different person at 21 then I was at 19.  I am a different guy today at 53 then I was 5 years ago at 48. 

So you see getting to know yourself well is like Being A Better Man; it’s an ongoing project, it never ends.  The second you stop paying attention, the second you stop being honest with yourself you will suddenly know yourself less.  The less you know yourself, the less effective you are as a man.

There are other advantages to knowing yourself too.  If you truly know yourself, you are aware of your strong points, you are aware of and are working on your weaknesses…then, you really don’t have anything to prove to anyone.  You are in charge of the person you are and you can relax.  Knowing yourself from day-to-day gives you something not only useful, but very valuable; peace of mind. 

I challenge myself with this everyday, it’s not always easy but it has been very beneficial. I encourage everyone reading this to make knowing yourself, being honest with yourself, and paying attention to yourself a constant habit in your life.  If you do, your mission of Being A Better Man today then you were yesterday will be a lot easier.

5 Comments

  1. Peter on January 30, 2016 at 14:49

    Awesome entry, Alf. Your insights are on point. We as men have to stay on guard in order to be aware of who we are becoming – but all the meanwhile, not feeling like we have anything to prove to anyone other than ourselves.

    Kudos.

  2. Mark on June 16, 2016 at 16:46

    Just started listening to the podcasts, good show!!

  3. Don on August 9, 2016 at 04:40

    Knowing yourself. So easy to say yet so hard to do. We can be so blind to our own shortcomings.
    Thanks for the podcast! I really enjoy it as well as being challenged by it.

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