The First Step Toward Self-Knowledge is Realizing You Don’t Have It

You think you know yourself, but you don’t. You never have self-knowledge; you gain it gradually, sometimes painfully.

You throw punches in the air until you gain self-knowledge.

Pretending you don’t sabotage yourself is like nursing on Xanax.


You have the impression that you know yourself because you live with yourself. But you’re blind to some of your strengths, weaknesses, and inclinations.

You see yourself in a steamy mirror. You see clearly only on the edges.

You consistently misjudge yourself.


Jung believed you have negative and positive attributes that you don’t see, a shadow self.

Growth happens when you catch a glimpse of your shadow self.

People light up when they realize they have abilities they hadn’t seen. You grow when you exercise untapped abilities. You also grow when you see things you don’t like in yourself, if you own them.

When I was young, I didn’t see my own self-centeredness. I’m still self-centered but seeing myself is an opportunity to move toward other-centeredness.

I have negative ‘talents’ I don’t like. If arrogance is a talent, I’m wildly talented. Giving second chances feels unnatural, but anger is second nature. I’m inclined to talk before I listen and make judgements quickly.

I don’t want to be my darker self, but sometimes I am.

My inclination toward arrogance fuels my interest in humility. The first step was catching glimpses of my shadow self. Others helped me see.

You see a foreshadowing of yourself when you catch a glimpse of your shadow self.

Growth begins when you own untapped abilities or self-destructive inclinations.

You learned to walk when you realized you were crawling.


Complacency about self-awareness today becomes vengeance tomorrow.

Self-knowledge requires others.

You learn who you are when you reveal yourself to another.

How might we gain self-knowledge?

How might we help others gain self-knowledge?