17. Getting to know yourself
We tend to be unsure of ourselves because we rarely pay attention to ourselves, only to our experiences. Getting to know yourself, you re-claim your power.
What we resist, persists, what we look at, goes away — Neale Donald Walsh
I love Walt Disney’s animations. I don’t know if it’s just me, but while the kids laugh at the antics of the characters, I am making notes of the life wisdoms in the dialogue. The Lion King in 1994 was one such example. Remember Rafiki in his cave playing with figurines of Simba and the huge looming shadows they cast behind him? What we don’t look at head on, casts a giant shadow completely out of proportion to the actual issue/situation. Eventually, the size of the shadow becomes the issue and we get more and more afraid to tackle it. Face yourself and your issues before they have a chance to cast huge looming shadows. Remember, this is my role as coach — to tackle them together bit by bit — you don’t need to go there on your own.
‘On the hamster wheel of daily life, we ‘sin without knowing’ and ‘suffer without understanding’. It is our refusal to examine ourselves, that creates karma and the indifference to our own suffering, that perpetuates it. The root of suffering is ignorance. The root of desire is the urge to find ourselves. We need to become interested in ourselves beyond all experience because the ultimate security is found only in self-knowledge.’ (This paragraph comes straight out of my dairy and I unfortunately can’t remember where I read it.)
Life has an infuriating way of throwing the same situations at me time and time again. A few years back, I went through a series of failed relationships. Of course, the issue in the first relationship was the guy’s fault and it made complete sense given his very limited understanding of the deeper aspects of life. I got rid of that one and promised myself to go for better quality next time. The second guy was the opposite of the first in every way imaginable — but, funny co-incidence there, he had exactly the same issue with me — he was projecting. of course — shame. I extricated myself and was on the hunt once more, sure of exactly what I was looking for after my experience of what didn’t work out. But, blow me down, guy number 3 raised the same issue with me — again — and what really annoyed me is — he put it in the exact words guy number 2 had used. As much as I wanted to, I found it impossible to put this down to co-incidence too. The uncomfortable thought — it may actually be me sitting with the issue — made itself at home in the recesses of my psyche and poked out it’s ugly head at the most inconvenient of times. Eventually, feeling extremely dumb and humiliated, a seriously dented ego in tow, I finally faced my stuff and voilà, the issue resolved itself.
It sometimes literally feels like I am going around in circles. Just when I think I have managed to escape a certain dynamic; it pops up again in another form. However, on closer inspection, I find that I am tackling the issue at a deeper level and with more insight each time, until it eventually does not need to repeat itself anymore because I have fully understood it. I believe that our external limitations will only fall away once we fully understand why they are there in the first place. In this sense, we are free from what we have understood.
I have a thing about the importance of understanding. It’s so much easier to get on with others if I understand why they do what they do and why I react the way I do.
We grow in understanding by staying conscious of ourselves, body, mind and soul. Gradually, our thinking, feeling and behaviour will become clearer to us. And remember, reality always lags behind a bit: What and where we are now is the result of inattention; what we become, will be the fruit of attention and that will look a whole lot better.
Once we get to know ourselves and our default state of ‘feel good’, we’ll know what works best for us and what we need for being well. This is especially important in our relationships. If we don’t understand ourselves, how can we explain ourselves to others in a way that they will understand us?
Authenticity in this process is crucial. We need to have those uncomfortable conversations:
What you can’t say, owns you, what you hide, controls you — Anonymous
We can’t change what we refuse to confront. Self- knowledge is power. Think about it: once you acknowledge your own flaws, no one gets to use them against you.