Want to know the truth about yourself?

Posted by Mister Mobility
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Something that someone said recently got me musing. Here is the statement.

“Only two people will tell you the truth about yourself: someone who is angry with you and someone who loves you very much.”

It sounds all good and dandy, but I disagree. Whatever anyone tells you about you is not the truth about you, but what they think is the truth about you. Let’s look at this from the two angles presented in that tweet.

An angry person: I would hate to see you depend on the words of an angry person for an accurate description of you. If you do, you deserve what is coming to you. When angry, most human beings say hurtful things that they do not mean, that are exaggerated or embellished, or that are untrue because in their anger they do want to lash at you. No; I would not EVER take what an angry person says about me as valid. In fact, the angrier the person is, the less credible their point of view about you is likely to be.

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Loved ones: while loved ones are looking out for your good, it does not change the fact that they are human and so wear coloured shades like everyone else – colours from experience, culture, religion and even idealistic fantasies. And those colours come to bear in any evaluation of you that they give. If they are introverts and you are an extrovert, they probably will say that you take too many risks and need to cut back. Meanwhile, they are speaking from the position of someone who won’t take risks. How can they possibly know what is to “take too many risks”?

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No; you cannot take what anyone says about you as the absolute truth about you, whether that person is your parent, spouse, lover or mentor. What people say about you may include various shades and nuggets of truth about you, but certainly not the whole truth about you. That is why you cannot build your life based on what anyone says about you. In my opinion, a lot of people have not committed to discovering themselves. You need to do that. Commit to finding yourself. Here are a few tips for going about it:

Discover You

1. Sit down and do a personal audit. Identify and acknowledge your traits, capabilities and limitations. That includes any weaknesses, failings and frailties.

Get Comfy With You

2. Next, get comfortable with who you are. You are you. Don’t make apologies for your make-up and personality. If you have a temper, acknowledge it. Accept it. You are human. Note that I did not say encourage it and nurture it. But you cannot handle a truck without getting comfortable with it first. Get comfortable with you first.

Adopt And Build Values

3. Finally, determine the values that you want t live by and start finding a way to synchronise who you are with those values. This is where, for example, you can get to manage your anger issues: the application of values.

Synchronising you with your adopted values will apply the right leverage on your weaknesses and excesses. This will bring some moderation in certain areas and amplify you in other areas. In so doing, you will find that place of balance that lets you live life to the maximum. But whatever you do, I honestly believe that letting other people tell you what they think is the truth about you is a recipe for confusion and sadness. Think about it, they probably are even unable to tell the truth about themselves.

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One comment

  1. Whatever anyone tells you about you is not the truth about you, but what they think is the truth about you.

    Well, looking at subjectivity and objectivity, I think a ‘second party’ is better positioned to be able to tell you the truth about yourself. More likely.

    An angry person may just say things to be hurtful, but, because humans are political animals, I would listen to what an angry or drunk person says. Carefully, too.

    Diplomacy would be at its lowest ebb at that point. They would be saying it as they see it at that point, which may be AS IT ACTUALLY Is.

    It is often postulated that only you can tell yourself the truth about you. But I think all the talk about self_discovery is basically psychological claptrap.

    Always, always, a dispassionate objective analysis is better done by a ‘second party.’

    Now, there are no absolute truths and no absolute falsehoods. It is all about (self) perception. A man could come out as extroverted, or arrogant while he is actually deeply shy.

    My take, finally, is, while I agree partially with the statement ..

    I honestly believe that letting other people tell you what they think is the truth about you is a recipe for confusion and sadness.

    …. If many people say similar things about a particular character trait, there is probBly some truth. Maybe nit absolute, but a modicum of truth. We therefore need to address the highlighted foible as a means of character refinement.

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