Self Knowledge: Do You Have It?

Posted on July 5, 2010 in Specials

Trishla Gupta:

SELF KNOWLEDGE – The most crucial yet untouched knowledge.

Let’s begin by asking ourselves what is self knowledge? Self-knowledge in simple terms is self-awareness. It is the knowledge of ourselves, knowing our limitations, strengths and weaknesses, our goals and aim in life as well as the code of conduct with which we would like to lead our lives. In other words it is understanding ourselves.

However, do we really know ourselves? Many might answer in the affirmative. Yes, we do know what we like to eat, the type of friends we like to have fun with, whether we prefer to move in literary circles or society parties and our ambition is to become a doctor, engineer, writer or actor. But is this really everything we know about ourselves? Is this who we are?

Self-knowledge is considered the most elusive knowledge as we rarely know the real ‘us’. It is one knowledge which we cannot receive even if we read a thousand books on ‘discovering ourselves’, it cannot be acquired within a day, month or even a year. It need constant introspection throughout our lives and we can never say that we have fully understood ourselves till the day we die, as every day we can learn something new about ourselves.

But in today’s fast paced world is it actually possible to rediscover ourself? From the moment we get up to the time we go to bed, if at all, as quite a few people have to work throughout the night to complete assignments, we are constantly surrounded by people. Be it our colleagues, friends or family members .We are very rarely left alone and thus the little that we do get to know about ourselves is only through our interactions with others. We get to know the type of person we are only through what is told to us and more often than not we try and mould our personalities according to the opinions of our friends and family. We blindly follow the path that has already been laid down for us instead of actually trying to ask ourselves of the type of life that we would like to lead, of our dreams, of the profession that we would like to pursue for the rest of our life.

Self-knowledge is probably the most important knowledge that man should strive to acquire and yet sadly, we fail to realize its importance. At a certain point in life, when we do feel that we are not leading our life the way we wanted to, we start getting depressed. We may end up visiting psychologists or counselors not realizing that what we need is not a counseling session but self-introspection.

To be happy and successful in life we need to know ourselves and there is no second or third person who can know us better than ourselves. No one else can tell us what we really want in life. That is for us to decide and we can only do that if we know ourself; if we know what will make us happy or sad and to do this it is essential to have some time out from our busy schedules only for ourselves.

Solitude is the single most essential thing needed for self-knowledge. Only when we are alone do we actually think about ourself. Only when we are not talking to others do we reflect on the type of life that we are leading and ask ourselves questions. Only in solitude do we get to know our innermost desires. Only when we are alone do we understand our emotions and can ask ourself if we are happy and satisfied with what we are doing and if not then what is it that will really make us happy. When we have nothing to do and no one to listen to, do we try and think of our positives and negatives and so understand our strengths and weaknesses. Thus, in solitude we acquire self-knowledge.

Hence, it is so true that the most elusive knowledge is self-knowledge, and it is usually acquired through solitude, rather than through interaction with others.