We’ve been meditating on the theme of ‘know thyself’ this week and we thought it might be a useful thing to have a quick gallop through all the benefits of truly knowing one’s own authentic self
1. You can say no. If you know who you are and what you want and what you believe, you can draw lines so that you don’t end up doing stuff that won’t make you happy with people who drain the life out of you. This is the most positive no you will ever say. It’s a huge life skill and most of the team here are still working on it.
2. You can say yes. You can especially say yes to following your heart. You end up doing what you are passionate about instead of desperately trying to please Uncle Bernie, who always wanted you to go into accounting.
3. You can make others happy. Think how relaxing and soothing it is to be around people who have a lovely, strong sense of self. They don’t have to prove themselves, or show off, or pick fights for the sake of it, or generally cause trouble. People who know themselves are great company and they definitely add to the sum total of human happiness.
4. You save a whole boatload of wasted energy. If you are trying to be something you are not, you have to work excessively hard. You are always going against the grain instead of with it. Plus, you are likely to have a barrel full of cognitive dissonance going on, and that tends to make people tired and cross.
5. You can laugh at yourself. This is one of the most charming traits any human can have. If you know exactly who you are, you are secure enough to roar with laughter at your own quirks and foibles and absurdities. (All of us humans have those.) This means that you not only amuse yourself, but you are much less vulnerable to unkind people. You can learn to laugh at slights and insults instead of taking them to heart. (Easily the best person at this in public life is James Blunt. His Twitter feed is a masterclass in laughing at himself so that the trolls can get no purchase. He served in Bosnia, and we think he must have learned some valuable lessons out there. Or perhaps it just comes naturally to him. Either way, if you want to take a masterclass in how to take a social media attack and turn it into a laugh, he is your man.)
6. You find it easier to empathise and sympathise with other human beings. If you know yourself, that means you accept that you have weaknesses as well as strengths. This in turn means you are much less likely to judge weakness or vulnerability in others. You can put yourself in their shoes, and hold out a hand to let them know they are not alone.