The awareness of what we are (and what we are not) is the key to regaining confidence in ourselves. Know yourself and there is no challenge that you will not be able to face.
"A life without research is not worth living."
Gnōthi seautón: know yourself. This is the inscription that stood out on the pronaos of the temple of the God Apollo in Delphi and which for centuries has influenced the most important thinkers of Western culture: from Socrates to Plato, from Sant'Agostino to Kant.
If you have studied philosophy, perhaps this is not the first time you have read this Delphic exhortation, but are you sure you know its real meaning? Understanding it could be the key to regaining confidence in yourself and triggering that change you have been waiting for too long. Knowledge is the seed from which our personal growth sprouts.
Know yourself. Don't be a fool. Read now.
What does the expression "Know thyself" mean?
Gurus, guretti and para-gurus urge us to discover the potential within us, to investigate the uniqueness that distinguishes us and to cultivate our strengths. Basically, if we learn to recognize the beauty that lies in our soul and ours in our mind esteem can only benefit from it, right? Perhaps, but this is not the real meaning of the sentence "know thyself":
In ancient Greece, gnōthi seautón was above all a call to know and recognize one's own limits. As Homer himself wrote in the Iliad, the God Apollo, to whom the temple of Delphi was dedicated, considered men:
"Miserable mortals who, like the leaves, now bloom in full splendor, eating the fruits of the field, now languish and die."
Iliade (XXI, 463-466).
"Know thyself" therefore meant becoming aware of one's own fragility and imperfection.
Kill Andrè, a bottle of self-esteem that I don't tell you! But this "gnorri santon" was not supposed to be the keystone that would allow me to regain confidence in myself?
The importance of our limits
We live in a society where fragility and limitations are demonized and even more often ignored. Today the successful man is the one who has no limits, a modern god. Think about the movie, for example Limitless:
link to the video
"Before I was blind, now I saw". Yes, of course, the film wants to convey a sort of moral, especially in the final part, but what excites the viewer is the apotheosis of an existence without limits (beautiful clothes, $ 12m penthouses, sports cars, etc.). Isn't it perhaps the hidden dream of each of us to be able to have a "magic pill"That allows us to instantly transform our life? Everything would finally be easy: no limits, no effort, no discomfort.
The password is therefore to deny all our limitations, to cancel them, possibly using some "fast-food" solution: fast, immediate, without obligation. We are blinded by the desire to reach the famous "quantum leap“, But only on condition that you can take some shortcuts. Nobody has more time to deepen their knowledge of themselves, following the ancient precepts of Greek philosophy, much less to investigate their own limits. Better to bury these annoying imperfections of ours with a few selfies in a trendy club or location.
But the truth is, we can't bury our shadows. They remain there, indeed they grow larger when it starts to get dark (when life gets complicated). The only way to deal with them is by casting a light on them. By doing so, the shadows vanish and leave room for those traits of our personality that we didn't know existed. For this reason, limits are so important: only when we decide to investigate and face them can we discover our real essence.
"Only after accepting our limits are we able to overcome them."
Yes André, but how? I'm not a Greek philosopher! And I certainly don't have all of his time to scratch my wrist and do these investigations into my deep self, my limits and various bullshit!
A simple way to know yourself (and your limits)
I have been holding a daily for several years now personal diary. I have already written to you in the past what are the multiple benefits of this habit and I do not intend to dwell on them in this post. However, there is a section of my diary that I haven't told you about yet and that has proved particularly useful for me: the Black List.
This "Black List" is nothing more than a list of the difficulties, limitations and mistakes that have characterized my days in the last 7 years. I can assure you that this is a very long list. Yet populating it every day has been of great help to me. The reasons are different:
- I cleared my mind. In numerous posts, I have suggested that you focus on the positive aspects of your life and not the negative ones. Even keeping a "black list" might seem contradictory. The truth is that our brain often makes us relive the negative episodes that have marked our days. We thus find ourselves rethinking that discussion, that mistake we made, that embarrassing situation. Putting these episodes in writing gets them out of our heads and allows us to rework them. Remember the ERE model? The Black List helps you to clearly distinguish events, reactions and emotions.
- I have found recurring errors. When for weeks you find yourself writing, every day, that you are putting off that important commitment, at some point you suspect that you have a slight problem with procrastination. It was thanks to my Black List that I took the postponement head on, studying and developing the best strategies that you can find today in Start! The anti-procrastination guide.
- I have strengthened my self-esteem. For the entire post, I've been trying to convince you that investigating your limits can help you regain your self-confidence, and to do that, I've gotten involved with ancient delphic phrases, Hollywood movies and weird shadow metaphors. At the end of the fair, from my point of view, gnōthi seautón means nothing more than observing one's limits closely, accepting the challenge that they throw at us and winning it with all the determination we have in our body. And this is the most powerful self-esteem elixir I know.
“If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, every battle will mean certain defeat for you. If you don't know the enemy but you know yourself, your chances of victory will be equal to those of defeat. If you know the enemy e know yourself, not even in a hundred battles will you find yourself in danger. "
Before saying goodbye, if I'm not mistaken last week I made you a promise ...