“Who are you?”
According to Sun Tzu (The Art of War), “…if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”
Lively, Quiet, Jovial, Crazy, Faithful, Prayerful, Conceited, Blunt
Interesting Patient Impatient Lazy Hardworking Exciting Beautiful Low-Key Extrovert Introvert Cheat Materialistic Down-To-Earth Annoying Talk-Too-Much Forgiving Hard-hearted, Kind, Selfish, Lonely Wise,‘Smarter-Than-Average’ Creative
I have a brief exercise for you. Kindly pick the words that you feel best describe you. You can also fill in the blank spaces.
How do you know you are all these things?
In reality, it is very likely that 50% of the things you chose are not you. They are just ‘Who You Wish You Are’, what we refer to as ‘Your Preferred Self’. Everybody has their preferred self but it is also important to also get to know your actual self or ‘True Self’ because that is the version of you that the whole world relates with.
Henry ended his call while still roaring with laughter; Niyi was practically his best friend. That is if 70-year-old men were allowed to use the term. They had known each other for many years and had been very close on and off depending on where life took them. It was his 70th birthday and they had just spent the last 30 minutes gisting about old times and making fun of one another.
Henry was happy, but he couldn’t help wondering how come Niyi was his only close friend. He knew that he had a very jovial personality and was always considered the ‘life of the party’ when he was much younger. Henry laughed as he remembered gathering upon gathering where he entertained everyone with stories of his time at war and of all his trips around the world. He thought to himself, ‘Being the extrovert I am, I wonder how come I have only one friend? Even my kids act like they can only take me in small doses.’
This troubled Henry a bit and he decided to call Niyi back and ask him a simple question ‘Why are you my only friend? What happened to the hundreds that came along the way?' Niyi’s response was a real surprise.
Niyi said, ‘Henryyyy! You should know now. You can talk for Africa! It is very nice and it attracts people to you but you get so carried away that you don’t allow other people air their views and it can be very hurtful, especially when you shut them down over and over again. I noticed it after knowing you for a while and I tried to tell you but you insisted that people loved to hear your stories.’
The fact that you are you does not mean that you know everything about you. We all have strengths and weaknesses but beyond that, we all have blind spots. You need to love yourself enough to be able to tell yourself the truth. If you would like to get to know yourself better, here are my two-word suggestions:
Don’t pretend to be who you are not – be you
When people tell you that you do things you’re sure you don’t do – observe you
Love yourself enough to - improve you
All in all, whether or not people are right about you, if you observe yourself as you go through life and if you commit to always telling yourself the truth, you will always be able to…