A few years ago, my mentor told me of a mutual acquaintance who had finished reading an about 500 paged book in 2 days. He then challenged me to see if I could perform a similar feat. Like a yes-man, I initially accepted the challenge and started thinking of the many things I could stop doing so as to create time for this new task. A few hours after we talked however, I had a rare conversation with myself; I asked me why I wanted to read that book. Was I going to read so I could break or equal another’s record? Was I trying to impress him? Did I need to do it? As the answers to the first two questions were yes and that to the latter was no, I refrained from reading that book. I realized I felt like a weight had been lifted up my shoulder. Why, you ask? I finally was able to say no to something I wasn’t doing for me and I finally embarked on the journey of knowing myself better. How did I do this? Compiled are ways by which I knew myself better:
- Recognizing what part of me I saw in my friends. Based on the principle of “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”, I realized that because we were friends, my friends would have a measure of my traits in theirs and vice versa. With that understanding, I looked out for traits in my friends- especially under varying circumstances, to understand what traits I exhibited under what circumstances.
- Letting go of toxic relationships: toxic relationships for me were those in which rather than performing a task for self development, we did this for compliments and/or accolades. I identified these and let them go
- Meditating: by meditating, I was able to come to terms with me, without external interferences
- I kept a journal. In this, I summarized what I did per day, noting the areas I spent more or less time than the others. I also noted my level of interests in these activities. This helped me recognize what I felt better while doing.
- I started behaving outside my accepted norm. Doing this helped me understand the extent of my strength, especially as I started going farther than I was previously wont to in varying areas.
- I recognized my temperaments, it’s perks, it’s shortcomings and I accepted these while working on the traits I could.
I currently do not accede that I am the best version of ‘me’ I could be. But, as I now know myself better, I am daily becoming a better me.