Know thyself. These simple words, or something of the like, have been spoken by ancient philosophers from cultures far and wide, playwrights, poets, rappers, new-age thinkers from The New York Times best seller’s list, and social media memes. The message is repeated as though the process were an easy, one-time thing to check off of a list. Self-care, check. Self-discovery, check. The thing no one tells you is that for most of us, a level of maturity is required to really know yourself, it takes time.
So much of youth is spent substituting knowing for doing. We wake up in the morning just to do the things we think we ought to be who we should be. One could even argue that there is comfort in the certainty of checking boxes along a linear path to success. Accomplishing personal and professional milestones can feel like “knowing.” But, doing all the right things is not a guaranteed road to self-awareness, self-acceptance, or self-love. Those things require a different kind of work experience, the kind that looks within.
This is exactly the right time to be at this point in your journey. You’ve experienced life and the world. You are finally prepared to take all that you know and apply it to a period of reflection. Welcome to the part where life takes your best-unexpected turn. Know yourself to know what you really want and then get it.
And another thing… A quick internet search of “know yourself” pulls up quotes from Aristotle, Lao Tzu, Nelson Mandela, Audre Lorde, The RZA, and Drake. One can’t help but notice the overwhelming presence of male contributors to the conversation. So, if you identify as something other than that, this work is a revolutionary responsibility. You’re finally up to it and now is a perfect time.