Trans4mind Home Page
~ A Journey of Self-Discovery ~

Know Thyself

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

"Know Thyself" was such an important concept to the ancient Greeks that it was inscribed at the temple of Apollo at Delphi. Though the aphorism is usually attributed to Socrates, it has been promulgated by philosophers around the world.

Certainly, you don't need to be a philosopher to believe that "knowing thyself" is important. Indeed, the desire to do just that is what draws most college freshman into taking Psych 101. Too bad many of them are disappointed as they learn little about themselves but much about research studies on learning, perception, cognition and attitudes which they don't view as relevant to their lives.

In today's world, people focus "knowing thyself" on their bodies. To know yourself is to know your weight, your body fat, your blood sugar level, your carb intake, your heart rate, your blood pressure, your cholesterol (that's the LDL and HDL), your triglycerides, your C-reactive protein. And no doubt, each year medical science will give us more numbers to know so that we can be more fit and live longer lives.

Though numbers have inched their way into many of the crevices of our lives, it was not numbers that Socrates was speaking about. It was knowledge obtained via introspection and reflection. In the modern world, however, we are so busy with so many things that we don't put much value on reflection. Indeed, we often denigrate it by calling it "navel gazing," "daydreaming" or simply "wasting time".

Furthermore, we don't ingest psychological research the way we do medical research. How many people do you know who have heard of the latest studies on obedience, unspoken prejudice or the proliferation of false norms? And even if you did hear of those studies, chances are you would relate the research findings to the other guy, not yourself. A few examples:

  • Have you ever entertained the idea that situational factors might provoke you to obey authority as those in Abu Ghraib or My Lai did? Or do you adamantly believe that you would never, ever stoop so low?

  • Have you ever explored the idea that you harbor prejudice that prods you to treat people unfairly? Or do you adamantly believe that it's only others who are racist (tsk, tsk) and you are squeaky clean?

  • Have you ever admitted that you stretch the truth about what you say and what you do, contributing to many a false norm? Or do you adamantly believe you tell it as it is and it's only others who exaggerate or mislead or out-and-out lie?

  • The temptation to moralize is strong. It's emotionally soothing to believe that others are the problem, not us. It's psychologically satisfying to believe that 'they' are the culprits, not the system in which we operate.

  • Is "knowing thyself" easy? Absolutely not! Is knowing thyself satisfying? If you're the curious type, a resounding yes!

Hence, if your goal is to increase your self-knowledge, you must eliminate the easy answers which are oh, so comforting. Explore beneath the surface. Familiarize yourself with psychological studies. Then, ask yourself, "How does this apply to me?"

Since what we know about ourselves is often just the tip of the iceberg, question your beliefs, attitudes, motives and memory. Explore your emotions (don't just rely on your reasoning) to obtain an in-depth understanding of why you act the way you do.

"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom."~Tao Te Ching

Copyright © 2009: Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
Linda is a psychologist and personal coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at PsychWisdom.

More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:
Visit the INSIDE-OUT Blog
Wallace Huey & Peter Shepherd
Imagine if - with the help of personal development - the values of the heart could be brought into our families, communities and businesses... What kind of a world would this create?
By Wallace Huey & Peter Shepherd, Trans4mind Founders

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Sweet Tooth ~ Train your brain to lose your sweet tooth.
  • Finish What You Start ~ Sprint all the way past the finish line.
  • Do It Now ~ A hypnosis audio to trigger deep, emotionally driven activity.
  • Life Priorities ~ Hypnosis can help you clarify what really matters to you.
  • Stop Thinking About Someone ~ A session to help you move on from thoughts that have been constantly pestering you.
  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
I think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2017 Trans4mind Ltd