On Knowing Yourself
“Know thyself”. This is the first message I was greeted with as I began my college career at the College of Charleston as a bright-eyed 18-year-old. This message is inscribed in Greek on the archway you pass through for the first event as a freshman, the convocation; this is a tradition where the freshmen walk underneath the archway into the Cistern yard, a beautiful open courtyard brimming with oak trees, Spanish moss, & flowers. Upon passing through the archway, students sign a ledger, officially marking the beginning of their college educations.
Symbolically, tradition has it that as graduates process out of the Cistern into the City of Charleston on graduation day, it’s this same archway we pass under, completing our journey as students. As we process out into the “real world,” we are reminded again: “know thyself”. Knowing oneself, then, must be of some significance.
What does it mean to “know thyself” & why bother?
Knowing ourselves allows us to:
· Know what we want
· Know our strengths
· Know our values
· Know how to take care of ourselves
· Know what’s important to us
These allow us to experience clarity. Clarity allows us the courage to take leaps of faith, be decisive, & live more closely to alignment in all areas of our lives – career, relationships, health, family, & spirituality.
To begin the journey of knowing ourselves, there are many tools available at our fingertips. My favorites are coaching programs, Yoga Teacher Training, somatic therapy, & journaling. In my experience, investing in truly knowing ourselves is one of the best investments we can make. Pausing to reflect and take inventory can save us from much agony. If we are sprinting in the wrong direction, does it matter how fast we were going? Wouldn’t it save a lot of time, energy, & suffering to have paused, looked at the map & redirected towards our true north.
Do you have a favorite tool or practice to “know yourself”?