The Journey: How well do we really know ourselves?


By Samantha Brazie, Special to The Paper

How well do we really know ourselves? I would venture to say that whether you’re talking with a teenager or a baby boomer, they are pretty convinced they know themselves better than anyone else does. They know what is best and what is right for their own lives.

Looking back on my teenage years and twenties, I was definitely of that mindset. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties and realized how unhappy I was when it dawned on me that maybe I didn’t know myself as well as I thought I did. From the outside looking in, I had a wonderful family, stable job, friends and an overall well-rounded life in general – perception versus reality.

Everyone has gaps. Lord knows I do. However, I truly believe the best way to happiness is identifying our gaps to bring greater awareness of who we are as people. I was constantly putting myself down and my emotions were all over the place. There were some obvious issues that I could pinpoint, but it wasn’t until I started peeling the layers of my own onion that I really started to see who I was and how to be happy.

No matter where you are or where you go, a gap exists between the two. This could have to do with your income, time, health, you name it. Being aware decreases the chance of getting stuck and not understanding what is happening. You could look at improving your circumstances (asking for a raise) or making a big change (finding a new job).

Or – you could know there are gaps like I did, but just don’t really know where most of them were. I had to really pull myself back and look at what was making me feel like something was missing in my life. I dealt with the obvious first and hoped I would (magically) start feeling better, which worked for a little while … until I started having that sinking feeling again that something was missing, something was wrong. I started trying to figure out how I could at least get closer to feeling happy and work from there.

What I have learned over the years is that I must be intentional about knowing what I want, why I want it and have a plan on how to get there. It doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking – three steps will usually do the trick. Less, and I might not have thought it through enough; more and it could be too overwhelming. My end goal would usually be a) fix it or b) move on. Sometimes I thought fixing it would help when all along, I should have moved on. However, sometimes we have to go through the work and do our best before that realization hits us.

Friends, at the end of the day – you must own your life and your happiness. No one can or should be able to do that for us. Knowing who you are and doing your best to enjoy your Journey is challenging at times, but a road well worth traveling. There is no better satisfaction than being able to look back at your life and see where you’ve come from.

In the words of one of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss: “You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s A Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed!”

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