In my opinion, there are three questions to ask and to answer, as honestly as possible, in order to “know thyself.”
#1. Who are you?
#2. What is important to live for?
#3. What are you doing about it?
The apparent simplicity of these three questions belie the true complexity of the life-long self-discovery process to reveal the three answers which are correct, at core, for you.
“Who are you?” is a deceptively inviting three-word interrogatory for “who are you and how did you come to be the unique person you are today.” The question obliges the respondent to think very carefully on these matters across all past, present and future considerations.
“Who are you?” must also be examined from its converse, vis-a-vis, who are you not and, by implication, who you must not be.
Consequently, in order to affirmatively assert who you are, you also need to affirmatively assert who you are not along with who you must not be and, by implication, who you will never allow yourself to be.
Since we can only know the light with reference to the dark and we can only understand good with reference to evil, it is extremely important to look deeply into every part of yourself. Ideally, the goal is for you to have direct experience with the truth of your truth, without any ulterior motive or excuse, so your resultant answer is true.
“What is important to live for?” obliges the respondent to primarily choose an external, as opposed to, as internal locus of control. The former seeks “permission” from an outside-out localization of power and control, whereas, the latter seeks “forgiveness”
from an inside-in power and control source, viz., who we are.
So what is important to live for anyway? God, family, country?
If the purpose of life is to live, then what is important to live for is really up to you!
Whether it is your calling or your leading or your following, people tend to do what is important to them. What we do is what we value only when what we value results in what we do.
If we value charity, yet repeatedly walk past every homeless beggar we see, then what we value really does not translate beyond gratuitous lip-service. But if we value charity and gift money, food or assistance when we can, then what we value is a value which exists, in vivo, and therefore defines what is important for us to really live for.
“What are you doing about it?” takes who you are and what is important to live for to the palpable flesh and blood and guts level of consistent and appropriate demonstrable action.
If there is no action, then it is likely you are not doing what is necessary that needs to be done (although there may be exceptions for which inaction is needed).
To “know thyself ” is to think and judge and act in concert with your lived truth. Anything less is simply not true!
Author Note: Dr. Larry B. Gelman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Personal Mentor
© 2014 Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C. (NICA), Personal Mentoring Services (PMS)
Dr. Larry B. Gelman, Dr. Glenn B. Gelman, All Rights Reserved.