Knowing Yourself and Why It’s Important to Personal Growth

Who would you be if you were born a year later or if you grew up somewhere else? 

The smell of the old novels we used to smuggle in class, the friends we made, the nostalgic mist that envelopes the city we know like the back of our hand—they have shaped us in more ways than we are consciously aware. 

How much of you is truly made of you? How much of me is me?

We take a little piece of everyone we meet wherever we go—memories, a fashion style, a new idea, a cute habit, a silly laugh. For many of us, these are our most priceless keepsakes. But they are not without their own dangers. 

In an ocean of people, we can pick out our friends just by looking at the back of their heads. In a family gathering, we can tell which uncle is cracking a joke by the roar of their laughter. Right now, I can tell you precisely which of my dogs is barking at the neighbor’s cat again. Surely, these things are not rocket science. We can tell because we know them.

Going back, let me ask you—how well do you know yourself?

If we take in so much from the people that surround us without first knowing who we are, we could get lost in the pieces that belong to someone else. 

The first time I took an inward look, it was like going through a hoarder’s secret stash. I didn’t know which thoughts or traits were mine. The foundations were all wobbly like they weren’t rooted in anything real. I had no idea where to start building. 

I realize self-reflection is like plucking lint off your pants—one lint, two, then you meet a stubborn one that just won’t come off. You yank it so hard the first layer of cloth unravels. Everything you thought you knew about yourself hangs on a single thread. 

Why am I writing all this? The reason is simple. 

I want to let you know that if you’re in a stage in your growth journey where you feel ripped off because what was advertised is far from what you got in reality, it’s alright to feel that way. 

As you go, here are a few things you can take with you on your journey:

1. Growth is so much more than just being ‘okay.’ 

It will take a lot of work to sort which traits, hobbies, and memories will serve you or break you, the longer you hold on to them. Undoing the very fabric of your being may be a long journey, and the path won’t always be dandelion meadows. Will it be easy? I doubt it. But it will be worth your while.

2. You only truly lose what was never meant to be part of your life. 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I hope you take the one that leads you closer to the center of your being, even if it means you have to cut a few ties along the way. 

3.     If you feel stuck today, count the footsteps you left from yesterday. 

Sometimes, the feeling of being stuck in the same place, no matter how hard we work, can leave us exhausted. If you feel stuck today, count the footsteps you left from yesterday, and you’ll see how far you’ve come. 

4.     Growth is a lifetime process. 

Remember that growth is a lifetime process, and it is a personal journey. Going at your own rate doesn’t mean you’re falling behind.