What is the relationship between Self-Knowledge and Self-Reflection?
Snow White comes to mind when I take the time to self-reflect, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the most self-knowledge of them all?” The mirror then replied, “Look within yourself to find the answer.” Okay, I know the previous dialogue was never actually said in the Snow White film but that is my reinterpretation of them when thinking of how one can discover self-knowledge.
I'd like to emphasise the need for self-knowledge as a key to enhancing yourselves in life. The reason for my over-zealousness in this regard is because I feel learning about oneself is an important and overlooked subject which, if encouraged, will greatly benefit this planet for generations to come.
Now going back to self-reflection, I feel it doesn’t only mean withdrawing into yourself and being deep in thought, it also means looking at your own reflection of self within the mirror of a clear perspective. The only way we can truly know ourselves is by examining our own minds without judgmental views and with freedom. We must look within ourselves with honesty, and without papering over the cracks of our flaws which will just open up again sometime in the future.
For us to improve ourselves for the better and achieve continuous growth we must identify any debilitating causes, open up the cracks, correct and reconstruct our minds, and by having self-knowledge one can achieve that purpose.
Knowledge vs. Self-Knowledge
Accumulating general knowledge can fill and stagnate the mind, leaving no room for growth towards self-learning, clarity and wisdom. Self-knowledge’s goal is not actually about accumulating, but it’s more to do with emptying the mind so one can think with more flexibility as well as being able to adapt to unforeseeable changes in life.
You must ask yourselves the question, “if there is no room for my mind to grow because of superfluous knowledge, then how can I find the space to learn about myself and surroundings during my whole lifetime?”
What does it mean to have Knowledge of Self?
Self-knowledge ultimately means having the knowledge to react positively to any given situation that may affect you in your life. Because if you know yourself, you will know life and will be able to conquer any enemies trying to siege the fortress of your mind.
How can one attain Self-Knowledge?
- empty your minds of the useless knowledge that does not benefit your personal growth
- absorb what is useful and learn from other sources such as books, video, audio or another person – be sure to use them only as a pointer and not a substitute for your own self-learning
- be open minded and non-judgmental
- be both observant and objective of yourself and in relationship with others
- be aware of your behavior so to understand why you react in certain ways to different situations
- Find time to be on your own so you can self-reflect and question yourself on life and any present obstacle in your mind
- be independent of mind when making decisions and try not to be influenced by people or opinion which maybe false or go against your nature
- write down your daily observations and thoughts, such as in a diary, personal journal or even a blog
What are the benefits of Self-Knowledge?
Self-knowledge will help you with:
- your relationships with yourself and others
- understanding and dealing with emotional issues
- understanding your motives and behavior as well as others
- being conscious of what is and is not in your power
- being conscious of what you can and cannot achieve
- knowing your strengths and weaknesses
- becoming a good judge of character
- enables one to develop objectivity, rationality, reason and, ultimately, wisdom
- knowing how to overcome any difficulty and negative feelings when they arise
- self-motivation and self-help
- independence of oneself in making the right decisions and improving one’s emotional mood
- continuous self-learning, self-improvement and personal growth throughout your whole life
Can one learn Self-Knowledge from external or secondary sources?
One can learn from enlightening books and people but it is somewhat limited towards your own self-knowledge. My advice is to use secondary avenues of knowledge as a guide (very much like what this blog is trying to achieve) towards learning about yourself and attaining wisdom.
One must not depend on these sources to provide you with the answers regarding yourself – which may only debilitate your own growth in the long run. One must have complete independence, and work towards achieving total understanding of oneself.
Look within the Mirror of Self
As you can see from the amount of benefits gained from having self-knowledge, it is most obvious that you should endeavor to begin learning about yourselves so to live successfully.
To be successful in life is not just about having a big bank account or becoming a managing director in your company. True success should be measured by one having attained the knowledge to live more consciously, intelligently and peacefully – which should all contribute towards one living a wise and fulfilling life.
In conclusion: Without self-knowledge there cannot be self-improvement of mind…and remember, the mirror of self never lies.