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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

Getting to Know Yourself


How well do you really know yourself? This is the question we are going to explore today. Some of the benefits of an intimate knowledge of self are: less inner conflict, less conflict with others, compassion for others, fulfillment, joy, self-control, resistance to social pressures, and better life choices.


Welcome back to Best Christmas Ever! Where we are exploring 28 Ways to Make this Your Best Christmas Ever!


#12 is… Get to know yourself.


Both Plato and Socrates employed the phrase, “Know thyself.” It is an invitation to self-exploration. But it is often met with a vagueness that leaves people not knowing where to start or a narrowness that leaves people with a narrow sense of self. For example, it’s great to know what your strengths are, but it isn’t enough.


So, today, we are going to identify four specific ways to get to know yourself.


1. Values. What are your values? Without a clear sense of our values, our lives begin to drift.


2. Strengths and Weaknesses. Most people are delighted to look at their strengths, but actively avoid their weaknesses. And yet, it is often our weaknesses that hold the key to our bigger and better future.


3. Temperament and Personality. Take a personality assessment. There are many options, but I have included a link in the description below to one. Read the assessment that your answers generate. Are they 100% accurate? No. Are they surprisingly insightful? Yes. Do they provide a great starting point for getting to know yourself? Absolutely.


4. Hopes and Dreams. We are driven by our dreams, consciously and unconsciously. What are your dreams? What are you doing about them? Are you pursuing them or neglecting them? Your dreams are your dreams for a reason.


5. Motives. Observe yourself. Ask yourself: Why am I doing this? There is a reason motive plays such a key role in the investigation of crimes. Motive reveals the light and darkness of the human heart. It is one of the fastest ways to know yourself, if you can be brutally honest. The key is to realize our motive is almost never singular. We often have many entangled motives for any single decision or action.


As we journey toward Christmas, it’s important to ask: What made Christmas necessary? The answer is messy and difficult to face. Our darkness made the light of Christmas necessary. How well do you know your own darkness? Not just the dark things you have done, but also, and perhaps more importantly, the dark things you are capable of. You may never do them, but the mere fact that you are capable of them is important knowledge about self.


Do you ever find yourself thinking or saying, “I would never do that!” This statement is almost never true. Given the same circumstances, the same mental disposition, the same fears or desperation, the same education and upbringing… you might find yourself doing exactly the same thing, or worse.


It’s easy to know your goodness and strengths, but real self-knowledge often lay in getting to know our own darkness. But from this more complete sense of self will emerge a less judgmental, more accepting person whose heart is full of empathy and compassion for other people in their struggles.


This Christmas, get to know yourself and the role you played in making Christmas necessary.


Matthew Kelly


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