Knowing yourself can be a dangerous undertaking,
but not knowing is lethal.
Know the known, no matter the troubles that can come with deep inner work, it is important to know who you really are. As a professional psychic and spiritual guide, I cannot stress enough how many people have come to me in order to help them understand not only a situation, but who they really are. It’s as if they have been pushed into a never-ending vortex of life challenges, and don’t know or cannot get out. To be honest, if someone who shared with me their story and gained anything from my advice, it would be similar.
First, people need to know themselves.
In modern day and age, we give out parts of ourselves like bread to the pigeons, to assimilate, congregate, to be a part of something larger than us. We give pieces of us to those who don’t deserve it, and we take pieces of others, often unintentionally. One of the most important gifts that anyone, any parent or sibling, can give to another, is to clearly reinforce the message that it’s OKAY to be who you are.
In fact, it’s essential, we live in a society that is so disjointed, that often, we simply carry on with what has been learned, instead of truly understanding ourselves and what we care about.
This is the process of individualization. I believe that this crucial piece of advice is misconstructed and misunderstood, and one reason for this is that we simply do not know ourselves.
What is it that we would like to do? What are our values and what do we hold important in our lives? How do you identify with yourself~ do you like it or not?
These types of questions further arise; the need for resources and exploration of the self that often doesn’t happen until, for example, an event or what is termed “a midlife crisis,” occurs, begging us to re-frame our minds and our values within an already shaped identity.
I believe that this is one of the reasons why “coming out” about one’s sexuality is such a frightening process. It comes with disturbance at all levels; and the individual is often left with shame, indignity and often, many simply do not speak out at all~ remaining silent to avoid this ‘discovery’ about themselves, fearing the consequences of the disturbing stigma that still surrounds LGBTQ communities.
The Shaping of ‘Us’
In order to begin new chapters in our lives, we trade faces and personalities to shape how we present ourselves in different situations. Then, we rarely have the freedom to regain ‘us’ later on in life. This cycle becomes dangerous, however, when one part of the ‘self’ is given up for something else, and we forget that it was merely an exchange we made so that we can reach a better place, for our ‘being’ to mature and grow.
It becomes dangerous when we can no longer account for the person who was there before all changes to the self came were required, all assimilation, and the parts we exchanged in order to add to what we had given away!
Parts that have assimilated; the cumulative construction of what we call ‘us’, yet we are not sure about what was there, before.
Taking me back into the previous decade, I would place priority on fostering the time and space to really get to know myself, and perhaps, my life would have turned out differently.
At the very least, I would know myself and what I wanted, which would inevitably lead to a different quality of life.
Second, we need to get our priorities straight.
Looking back at my life, if properly nourished, I would have set my boundaries and priorities earlier on in life; meaning, not waiting for a disaster or hoping for opportunities to occur and learning from what cannot be undone; with the mindset of letting go. I cannot stress the last point enough!
This ties in with what I said before, in terms of knowing ourselves better, yet, it also involves educating parents, teachers and those in authoritative positions who are training young minds into critically thinking for themselves about what they truly want in life, and just as important, what they don’t!
It seems as though somewhere in between the early life stages of asking children “what do you want to be when you grown up?” to early adulthood, when one is forced to choose, often unprepared, a direction in life, there is a tremendous gap.
If there was an opportunity to go back in time, I would have had important conversations with my parents, peers and even teachers about setting essential life goals and how to achieve them, as well as their importance in my scope of living.
Setting the Stage for Adulthood
We are missing a critical time in a person’s life, where one should be preparing for adulthood~ and that also requires honesty; life is tough! It also means working with, whether they be students or children or peers, to develop the necessary tools to equip oneself and honestly look at their life, in order to be better prepared for obstacles, challenges and opportunities down the road.
As I write this, I realize the existence of the tremendous gap that I discussed, and how unprepared I was to take on the facets of adulthood. I realize that the majority of people may think that the experience, for example of finding a job will teach them these valuable lessons, but why not prepare our friends, colleagues and acquaintances before a difficult situation arises, when they realize that they don’t have the skills to cope. Why don’t we have the skills to cope?
In hindsight, I would have realized just how important this crucial phase is in preparing one for the responsibility of adulthood, in a way that allows the individual to absorb and process, before a situation or crisis in life where they realize that they don’t have the ability to face the situation at hand.
Additionally, though it may seem trivial, it is crucial to know that there is always going to be support in people’s lives. We know that parents cannot always be there, neither should the responsibility lie only with them, but I realized that, if I knew that there was a consistent source of support in life; things would have turned out differently.
Many run through life at a speed that eventually catches up to them, and when help is desperately needed, they find that there is no appropriate institution. Then, it’s a matter of finding oneself in the Matrix of life.
This is extremely detrimental to the health, especially to the mental health of an individual.
Knowing in advance that there are sources of support; parents as well as institutions and crisis teams, I could have been more intelligent and less reactive in meeting the multitude of challenges of my life.
While there is no guarantee, ever, of mutual support, everyone deserves to know that when things get tough, even if the individual is relatively steady, someone is there to guide them and support them in the appropriate manner. I know that for me, that guidance earlier on in life would have undoubtedly changed the course of my future.
Because, one of the worst realizations that a person has come to believe, is that there is no one out there to reach out to, for support.
The crucial message and preparation requires those that we look up to, to state the affirmation loud and clear. And, perhaps the message needs to be repetitive; as some things require a constant reminder in life.
I know that if this message was passed on to me, I would have been more prepared to take on the many obstacles in my life!
Say What You Need to Say
Last, and this may be redundant, say what you need to say before it’s too late.
I offer this advice from someone who watched her father die; every day reminding him of how much I loved him~ dissolving barriers that we had placed so much importance on before the illness.
Say what you need to say, even if the person isn’t amicable to hearing it. As I watched my father disappear, my love for him grew stronger, and, even though he refused listening overtly, I knew that deep inside, those words resonated in his heart and they held tremendous meaning.
Say what you need to say. That is my last piece of advice.
Anna Rozwadowska 2019