Understanding Yourself Is Incredibly Valuable

Imagine a side of you that likes these things that you dislike. As soon as you imagine it, you might be tempted to make snap-judgments about this side, like how it’s a “poor excuse for a human being”, or “a monster”. This judgmental side is also, just a side of you – maybe it’s a side you tend to agree with more. But what about the other side? Why do they think as they do? Talk to it, try to understand it. It’s got a reason for liking what you dislike – and maybe it’s not so scary or bad as you thought.

And remember, neither side can control you. You can step outside both sides and talk to them. This allows you to question feelings of self-loathing or impulsive behavior or anything, really.

All in all, I can say that understanding yourself is incredibly valuable. Once you understand yourself, it’s like you’ve gained a friend, who you can talk with and share your concerns with. Don’t like your behavior? Try to work out a middle ground with the part of you who acts up. Or settle your differences however you like.

But fighting it isn’t always the best solution. Many parts of you can be troubled, causing them to act up, or have problems that they need your conscious help to solve – if you can help them out of their trouble, then they’ll start acting differently, as they see life in a new way.

Imagine if you had a child. If you held them to extremely high expectations, they might try to meet them, but would probably fall short a lot – not only are they fallible human beings, but they are their own person, too, and you may not know what’s best for them, and they need to discover it on their own. In constantly falling short of your expectations, that child might become discouraged or upset, or even angry and hurt at the way you’re treating them. After all, you aren’t giving them the space to be themselves, aren’t backing off and seeing what they are internally guided to. This is what it’s like to self-loathe.

You are your own child. Or, your inner child is your child. Semantics aside, you have a child-like side to you, and it’s important to pay attention to how you actually thrive and that you may not know everything there is to know about how to take care of yourself, and to let yourself grow. This knowledge, from my experience, is found in your feelings, but feelings are often wordless, and don’t make immediate sense. But if you listen, rather than command, if you open your mind to new possibilities, then you will start to understand your feelings. And hey, maybe you will start to appreciate who you actually are, and learn how to talk with yourself in a spirit of true friendship. So instead of chewing yourself out when you mess up, you’ll ask, “Are you ok? What’s wrong?”

Article adapted from the comments of Oliver Kaufman, founder of The World Within. Edited and posted by Matthew, a happy father and husband. He enjoys working on his website which features cool gadgets (here).


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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