To truly understand yourself and know yourself requires you to go back to see who you were and how you became the person you are today. That means revisiting your childhood and both the good and bad memories. These are the subconscious acts that have created and developed the person you have become. When you are able to accept what mistakes you have made, things that in hindsight seemed like a good idea at the time and know these have contributed to what you have become, then you begin to know who you are. Even those with a tragic and sad childhood, you learn from it; how not to treat others and how to survive. It can make you stronger, cynical at times and even resentful of others with a more comfortable upbringing, but as an adult you have the choice to change that and the foundations of your childhood are a reflection of how you develop.
Many of us would prefer to forget certain things in the past; the bad haircuts, poor choice of girl or boyfriend, fibbing to parents, or copying someone’s homework, but we learn what is right and wrong and how it makes us feel. I call them character-building experiences where you are out of your comfort zone and you find you can cope and survive. I’m not a natural at camping, but I thought I could cope and it was harder than I imagined. Somehow I struggled through and cursed each night as I attempted to sleep in a tent, afraid the leeches outside would get me. After a lot of whining and support from the others on the trip, including my very patient guide (who became a good friend and still is) I learned that I am stronger than I thought and also know what suits me and what I should avoid if possible. We can’t all be good at everything; that’s being human and understanding others maybe better at certain things than you, but that it doesn’t make them better as a person or you lesser as one.
I recently looked at some old childhood photos. Some I remember being taken, how I felt and the occasion. Our childhood is where we are our true authentic selves with little influence and our real personalities show through. I was a serious child, but I could still see some elements of playfulness and joy, yet I was curious and stubborn. Most photos were taken at Christmas or family trips to the beach; back then I loved books, cooking and stuffed toys. I still like my books and cooking, but still have the soft toys in my parent’s attic as a reminder of my childhood innocence. I mean, who would want them anyway if I gave them away? They were my childhood friends and were part of my life and as long as I have room, then there is no harm. It’s amazing how uncomplicated a child’s life is compared to an adult even though an adult has more control. Its control as adults we need to regain, because then you are being true to yourself then you who you really are.
If you don’t know who you really are, how can anyone else be expected to understand you? Do you like what you see? If not, then you can change it, because you need to like yourself before you can get to know the real you.