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Do you know yourself?

Old 11-25-2017, 08:48 PM
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Do you know yourself?

My sponsor and I were talking about a subject that came up in a conversation among friends. My bf has often accused me of not knowing myself. He has even said that I need to see in myself what he sees in me and then goes into a list of qualities he admires about me. As a group of girls, though, we all were talking about this very thing just a few days later.

I wanted to ask about all of you. How well do you know your dreams and goals? Are they clear or are they muddled? How sold out on you are you on your perspective on what you want for your life, for your children, and in a partner? Do you ever find yourself comfortable being in the middle of a subject and being able to see both sides and then taking either side at times, depending on the discussion at hand?

That is often my problem. I'm not a black and white person and I waffle sometimes. I've had people tell me that I don't know what I believe about things i.e. my thoughts on marriage or long term commitments and my perspective on religion that often changes from a sometimes Christian take on things to a more pantheistic point of view.

Personally, I like to be openminded and I do often see varying sides of things. Yet, I often don't really know where I fall. I can sometimes be very committed to Christianity but because I live in sin (according to the church) I don't feel I can truly commit to it or that I will be accepted at church, so I find myself adopting more open minded religious viewpoints. Can anyone else relate? Or am I totally off base and is the idea of 'knowing myself' completely isolated from the topics at hand here?
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:04 PM
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Why do we need to "know"? Why not explore, change our minds, find our way as we go?

Life is fluid. There's ebb and flow, different seasons and many viewpoints. The more I know myself, the more free I feel to not have solid opinions or labels.

Today I like peppermint mochas... but I haven't always.

The more at ease I am with my spiritual side, the more open i am to my Higher Power guiding me instead of any one religion or spirituality.
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:29 PM
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Listening to music... and the more I get to know me, the more genres and time periods I like, but I'm in the mood for different songs or types of music at different times. There's also songs I liked at some point long ago that I don't now.

The fuller my life gets with good things, the less set I am on quantifying or limiting my likes, dislikes or where I'm heading.
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:32 PM
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Do I “know myself”? My XAH likes to get on a soap box about how I don’t know myself. I tend to disagree.

I have a general idea of where I am going with my life, I am able to make lemonade out of whatever lemons I am given. A bit Polyanna-ish. Ambitious. Guilty of trying to measure others with my measuring stick. Not very keen on social ques. Feel a lot, too much, feel other people’s pain. Believe in a free will alongside the higher power. Agnostic.

I don’t have a job I would love to do till the end of my life - I am very flexible and able to enjoy variety of occupation. My narcissistic XAH and his narcissistic family viewed it as a lack of talent somehow. Bless their little marginally employed hearts.

Like jazz, classical music, many of my friends are older than me.

Must run or hike otherwise will go crazy.

Introverted. Don’t want to date anyone in foreseeable future. Like to be alone - always have (I guess that is one of the atypical features of me - I do have many typical co-dependent characteristics)

Can do most things I put my mind to. I don’t (and won’t) take crazy risks.

XAH keeps saying I am not fun, but I have lots of fun - both alone and with my friends.

I have become pretty darn fearless over these past two years, and you, people of SR, are to blame
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:47 PM
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Speaking of fearless.....
I took my son hang gliding a few weeks ago for his birthday and that was so totally out of my comfort zone. I was freaking out feeling like I was flying up in the air, when I knew my human feet belonged on solid ground. But, I wanted to do things for ME and to test my limits.
Next on my list is rappelling down the side of a building downtown. Skydiving is on the list too, but I haven't quite got the guts to write it down yet, lol.

thank you both for your input, because I truly do feel like I know myself pretty well. I have learned to set boundaries, I take reasonable risks, I also try new career moves and do things to get out of my comfort zone to test my own strengths, etc.....
I like ME. I am proud of how far I've come in the past 5 years. I am a completely different person and I already know I'm a great catch, but I also know that I'd be just fine on my own as well. Of course, I do need to find a job soon since I'm unemployed for now. But, I also know it's temporary and I'm OK with it.
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Old 11-26-2017, 03:57 AM
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liz, this is a great thread, and I can relate to the struggle to "know oneself." I well remember reading books about astrology as a teen, taking all sorts of quizzes in magazines (you folks remember, right? "What Kind of Girlfriend Are You?" "How to Know If He's the Right One"...), doing everything I could think of to find and then nail down "the real me." This search for "the real me" continued on into adulthood, with a distinct lack of success. There were always enough discrepancies between what I thought/felt/did and the pattern being held up for me to fit into that I was left wondering if this was, indeed, "the real me."

Since coming to SR and starting to learn more about life and myself, I would certainly agree w/those here who are saying that who they are is fluid, changeable, subject to the time and place. I think for me, part of my confusion about "knowing myself" is that I didn't differentiate between things like ktf w/her newfound taste for peppermint mochas, and things like believing that racism is always wrong. I didn't see that core values are one thing while current interests are another, even thoughboth are part of "the real me."

I also didn't understand that even if I saw myself as "soft-hearted and emotional", I could modulate that if the situation required or if I desired. At home, w/a sad book or movie or song, sure, I can melt into tears. In a crisis situation, I can shove it all aside and do what needs doing. And how was I supposed to account for that, in "knowing myself"?

Viewing oneself w/rigidity is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. It leaves no room for growth or change, no chance to explore, no way to find out what is REALLY out there/in there.

I love this quote from Walt Whitman:


(no, that is NOT Gandalf, that is Uncle Walt!)

I also found some very interesting ideas on this topic in "The Dance of Deception" by Harriet Lerner. Short book, and only 3 discs if you listen rather than read--goes quickly and really thought-provoking.
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Old 11-26-2017, 04:04 AM
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Thank you for asking this question. Growing up in an A and untreated Al-anon home, I learnt I had to cater to my parents moods, needs etc. Mine and my siblings did not matter.

In my programs I am getting to know myself. I like what I am finding. A quiet, soft, calm lady.
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Old 11-26-2017, 04:30 AM
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I think knowing oneself is becoming comfortable in your own skin, so to speak. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your personality, accepting where you are now, working toward improving the weaknesses.
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Old 11-26-2017, 05:57 AM
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"To know yourself so well that it doesn't matter what others think or say."

I think I tried to be so agreeable to everyone else that I lost my own compass. It is when I started saying no that I started to find myself again.
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:57 PM
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Well, my answers remain pretty much unchanged since we discussed this topic earlier this year.....

https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...-yourself.html (How well do you know yourself?)

.... except to add that the work I've done over these months has helped me grow even more. I sort of got dragged into it but I've experienced a lot of growth doing Shadow Work since about mid-summer. (basically it's embracing the ugliest sides of my personality in order to accept myself fully & hopefully either find acceptance or a way to create lasting, internal change.)

It sound like you're still stuck on Square One with this Liz, I'm sorry you aren't seeing any progress.... what are you DOING about it??
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:08 PM
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We're all here, so I suspect we all know ourselves more and more everyday - YAY FOR US!!!

I have no idea my dreams and goals. There are some places I want to see, and a couple things I would like to accomplish....

but mostly, at the moment, I really just want to make great memories by myself and with amazing people, because as near as I can tell, that means you had a pretty great life. And that can be as simple as a long car ride with a good friend, or as complex as taking a year off to follow my favorite European soccer team around
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
My sponsor and I were talking about a subject that came up in a conversation among friends. My bf has often accused me of not knowing myself. He has even said that I need to see in myself what he sees in me and then goes into a list of qualities he admires about me. As a group of girls, though, we all were talking about this very thing just a few days later.

I wanted to ask about all of you. How well do you know your dreams and goals? Are they clear or are they muddled? How sold out on you are you on your perspective on what you want for your life, for your children, and in a partner? Do you ever find yourself comfortable being in the middle of a subject and being able to see both sides and then taking either side at times, depending on the discussion at hand?

That is often my problem. I'm not a black and white person and I waffle sometimes. I've had people tell me that I don't know what I believe about things i.e. my thoughts on marriage or long term commitments and my perspective on religion that often changes from a sometimes Christian take on things to a more pantheistic point of view.

Personally, I like to be openminded and I do often see varying sides of things. Yet, I often don't really know where I fall. I can sometimes be very committed to Christianity but because I live in sin (according to the church) I don't feel I can truly commit to it or that I will be accepted at church, so I find myself adopting more open minded religious viewpoints. Can anyone else relate? Or am I totally off base and is the idea of 'knowing myself' completely isolated from the topics at hand here?
Lizatola-

I find your initial questions really interesting and have been thinking about this thread since yesterday. I am learning a lot of this about myself right now so I am not sure that this won't be messy.

I really hear you asking about knowing yourself, BUT I read in your initial post about other people, institutes etc perspectives of you, through their lenses, and through your relationship with them. I read you questioning yourself through their guidelines/rules/eyes and maybe even happiness. I am also reading that the contradictions that those perspective brings is confusing to you right now and it is hard to know where to take your cues from.

Living up to the expectations of others kept me stuck for a long time. Trying to make something that was "pretty good," be my definition of happiness also kept me stuck. In all honesty sometimes the idea of being grateful kept me stuck because there was an underlying should in some of the messaging around that for me. Just like I used to try to convince myself my exAH drinking was not that bad because he kept a job and was a binge drinker, I can never be happy when I am trying to live for someone or something else. For me that is setting myself up to take a step out of self knowledge and relationships with others.

I do think relationships and where you fit in the world is important to knowing yourself. To me knowing yourself is about being your best friend and advocate REGARDLESS of the external opinions/perspective. I keep coming back to the idea that self-care of me is never wrong. That having wants, desires and dreams is never wrong. I used to think there was a checklist that if I had enough checks it meant I was a good person.

That checklist was the antithesis of knowing myself. Now I am curious, what do I think about this or that? Knowing myself is about giving myself space (and a break) about my feelings, my desires, my dreams, and permission to be ugly and messy. I need those experiences to grown into who I am meant to be and to know myself along the way.

For me therapy helped this part the most. It was hard at the time as I really needed to do the "shadow," work that FS talks about. I also needed a therapist who was willing to challenge me, not let me off on anything, and who helped to teach me that all feelings are okay.

I think you are off to an excellent journey!
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