“Josh Billings said, “It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient one, too.” Human beings have always employed an enormous variety of clever devices for running away from themselves, and the modern world is particularly rich in such stratagems.” ~ John W. Gardner, Self-Renewal …
Today’s society tends to rob us of our happiness, purpose, and meaning in life. Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with advertisements and messages that tell us we need to spend more to find happiness; that we need to ceaselessly pursue contentment and pleasure through worldly things that are outside of ourselves. But when we resist seeking within ourselves–knowing ourselves and becoming intimate with our heart and mind–we become strangers to ourselves.
For some, perhaps this avoidance can be attributed to fear of discovering who they truly are deep in their hearts; maybe they are scared that the person they will find will disappoint or frighten them. For others, perhaps it is associated with the weight of responsibility placed upon their conscience to live up to their calling and purpose in life, or perhaps it is for some other reason that has fear at its base. But in the end, we are the ones who suffer the most from our propensity to “run away from ourselves;” through our avoidance, we are the ones who commit ourselves to living a life that is less genuine and less fulfilling.
We are each unique and marvelous creations. Yet we are also often the most likely to repeatedly overlook our own beauty and find other things to fill our time and hinder us from discovering ourselves on a deeper level. Make time to get to know yourself with sincerity and resolve–your passions and goals, your ideals and beliefs, your meaning and your purpose. Such choices often turn out to be one of the most important changes that you make in your life.
Take yourself out on a “date night.” Spend some time in the solitude of meaningful reflection and self-discovery.
Questions to consider:
How well do you know yourself? How often do you take the time to discover yourself more intimately?
What are some of the avoidance techniques you have used? Do you currently employ any of these?
What are some of the effects of us running away from ourselves?
For further thought:
“When we become expert at loving and caring for ourselves, we feel healthy, centered, and strong. We don’t need to escape from our reality through shopping, eating, drinking, drugging, or losing ourselves in abusive relationships. We feel warm and safe within ourselves. . . . We learn to value everything about ourselves–our bodies and minds, our feelings and needs, our potential, strengths and weaknesses–throughout all the seasons of our lives. We feel free to acknowledge the truth of who we are, realizing that God didn’t send us here perfect, but to work toward perfection.” ~ Susan L. Taylor