Know thyself: Who are you and what is your true personality and character?
Do you really know yourself? There is an old Greek aphorism ‘know thyself’ that has been quoted or paraphrased by many greats through history such as Socrates and Shakespeare. It still rings true today as being self-aware is critical, not just to how we relate to ourselves, but also how we relate to others. Therefore it is good to know your strengths and weaknesses, your most effective learning methods, your preferred communication styles; also to know where you are, where you are going and why. Under the ‘Why’ question we looked at how we are shaped by our values. Understanding this will go a long way to self awareness. Know yourself and you will find it much easier to establish meaningful relationships and develop strong teams.
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Polonius (from Hamlet by William Shakespeare)
The currency of relationships
Relationships are similar to bank accounts. We know that we have to invest in friendships for them to be fruitful and at times we rely on people and have to make withdrawals. You often hear the phrase ‘a needy person’ and in these terms you could say that they are a person who is always overdrawn when it comes to relational accounts – they always need someone else to invest in them. No one wants to be continually in debt, be that financial or relational, so we need to keep an eye on our personal balance. The best way we can keep our own emotional bank account out of the red is self awareness and working on developing ourselves as we serve others. As you work through the content of The Right Questions you are doing just that – you are investing in yourself in a way that will strengthen relationships beyond yourself.
The importance of integrity
Think about the people you most look up to. Are they perfect? You can be sure that they are not! What then makes them so attractive? What is it about them that makes people want to follow them? If they are successful, ask why are they successful? What makes them different from the average person? If you read biographies of such people one generally finds that the person in question is both self-aware and purposeful. This gives them an integrity that is magnetic.
If you are being proactive by maximising your strengths and being honest about your weaknesses people are more likely to trust you. You will be more confident and inspire the confidence of others. If you have a firm grounding in where you are and have a vision for where you are going then you will naturally be a more attractive person. If you are secure in who you are then others will feel secure around you. Therefore, start with yourself, the one person who you can really change.
Change starts with me, myself and I
This holds true for working through any sort of relationship challenge. When family or friends hurt us it is very easy to see the faults in others and how things could be better if the other person changed. The hard part – but the most effective way forward – is to look at yourself and start the improvement there. This is the true importance of self awareness.
Have you ever done any personality or character profile tests? What test did you use and did you find it useful? Do leave a comment and let me know; I would be really interested to hear your thoughts.