How to Know Yourself?

Most people probably think that they know themselves, but do they really? If you don’t know yourself, can you know other people? This article is about answering those connected questions. It will be covering cultural programming, self-image, identity crisis, and personal beliefs, and ideologies. Looking into how these aspects merge together and influence who we are.

How to know yourself?

Do Most People Truly Know Themselves?

I believe most people know themselves to a certain degree, but that’s a very limited degree. Psychology and human behaviour is extremely complicated, certainly more complicated than most believe. When it comes to psychology, most people fall into the cognitive bias that is known as the dunning Kruger effect.

Most people are driven and guided by their egos. Not seeking the truth, but rather seeking to gratify that ego. It’s the illusion of knowledge that people get consumed with, and confused with, rather than actual knowledge.

So, I believe that the answer to that question for the vast majority of people is no.

Why Don’t People Know Themselves?

Beliefs, Misinformation & Culture

Herd Morality Nietzsche Quote

One reason is they simply don’t have enough knowledge of psychology. To be fair, there are many different theories in psychology, and sometimes some of the least credible theories get traction, and some get pushed as a mainstream view. The mainstream view often gets confused with mainstream psychology.

One example of this is the popular belief that mental health issues with men are caused by men’s lack of willingness to talk about their issues, and to express emotion. This is linked to the suicide rate stats for men. With a little research, we discover that women actually attempt suicide more than men. The reason for the attempt vs commit disparity is the method used. Generally speaking, men use more psychical and forceful methods. Women will more often choose the overdose method, and this has a lower success rate than other methods.

I believe some of these theories get traction because they align with political or personal beliefs or ideologies.

If the wrong information is pushed onto people, it will be harder for people to truly know themselves.

There are also many different ideas out there that are pushed on people through culture and society that are simply not true. Or perhaps only account for a small part of the truth.

Ego & Self-Image

Self-images are created by a combination of society, culture, personal experiences, learned behaviours, and biology. Biology includes personality traits and intelligence.

We all have a self-image. However, some of those self-images are more rigid and static than others. Those self-images are strongly tied into our egos. If the self-image is healthy and flexible, it can adapt and adjust as we experience life, and encounter new information and ideas.

C Jung The Shadow

A person’s self-image can be solid, or very fragile. Someone with a fragile self-image is prone to having what can be called an identity crisis if that image is cracked or damaged. This can be caused by a belief about them being challenged in such a way that causes personal doubt. This could result in a form of mental breakdown. This could be a very short-lived breakdown or identity crisis lasting just hours or days. A serious one may cause mental health issues that could last months, or even years.

A strong self-image can either be a very good thing, or a very bad thing. A strong self-image will certainly be more stable, these people are much less likely to suffer with an identity crisis or breakdown. However, the down side is, it’s rigid and inflexible, and this can cause another set of problems if the self-image is based on a delusion, or simply wrong information. This is like the balance between order and chaos. Too much of either can be problematic.

If the self-image is too rigid it will discard new information, the ego will not allow for the possibility of them being wrong in some way. This is too much order, and it makes change and growth difficult.

So, How to Know Yourself?

It’s not an easy task. Firstly, seek a board and varied information so you are not just relying on mainstream views and common or cultural beliefs. This links to having a flexible enough identity that it can adapt to new information and ideas.

Some alone time is likely to be needed so that you are not constantly bombarded with people’s views and ideas. You can understand yourself better by knowing your personality traits. This will give you great insight into your strengths and weaknesses, which leads to knowing what career is best suited to you, and perhaps even help with making better friends and having better relationships.

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