Do you know yourself?

I’ll admit I am a daily user of Facebook and Instagram. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. For years it has been the source of my income, and social media has helped me connect with interesting people from my past and people I’ve never met from all over the world. I’ve learned much by following authors, teachers, doctors, and great thinkers. I laugh till my sides hurt at memes and pets doing silly things, and I love a good baby video. However, I have been disillusioned by the political talk, division, and hate people feel comfortable throwing on others because of the protective shield of anonymity. I try to cultivate my Facebook online presence to challenge others to think, offer hope, and share things that make me laugh. I am always interested to see which posts gain traction and which don’t seem to grab anyone’s attention. Yesterday I posted a black and white picture of this quote and asked what others had been learning about themselves:

It got a lot of attention, way more than my usual posts. People posted that they had begun to learn things about themselves through tools like the Enneagram. Another stated that she had taken the time to interview her aging parents and write their stories. Learning more of their story helped her understand her own. Finally, a friend of mine mentioned that she has been learning that genetics genuinely play a role in making her who she is but then said that using genetics as an excuse is no longer a viable option. I don’t know what she is alluding to, but I am happy that she is coming to a place of greater self-understanding.

Lately, I’ve had to write several papers in grad school about how I was raised, the values that were taught to me by my parents, and my culture. I’ve had to scrutinize my beliefs and question why I believe what I believe. It’s been an interesting journey to reflect on myself and everything that makes up my person and then commit it to paper.

The counseling room is also a safe place to do this work. I sit with clients, ask them questions about themselves, and then listen to their answers. Many of my questions are met with curious looks as the person sitting across from me ponders why they think something, where they learned a particular response, or who taught them to react the way they do. Sometimes we discover together that their natural reaction doesn’t always lead them toward the life they desire. Other times we uncover a true sense of joy and appreciation for a parent, grandparent, teacher, or coach who took the time to teach a skill or to encourage a particular outlook on life.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Have you ever taken the time to uncover, excavate and evaluate who you are and why you believe what you believe and do what you do? A deeper understanding of ourselves will lead to more intentional living and a greater sense of life satisfaction.  Do you agree?

Written By: Christine B., Masters Level Intern

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