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How much do you know yourself?

“There are three things extremely hard:
Steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”

(Benjamin Franklin)

Just a few days ago, I took a questionnaire at my church to see where I will best fit for public service vocationally. The results are surprising. I score highest on being a teacher and a doer (others are perceiver, encourager, giver, leader, and the merciful). Also, it is estimated that 60% of the churchgoers in the world are doers.

Ironically, I still look at myself as an undisciplined student of life, but I won’t ramble on.

For the sake of this blog post, let’s just focus more on the doer part. This is what the teacher said:

Characteristics of the doer:

  • Loves serving others in her home, such that they feel comfortable in it.
  • Very sensitive to the needs of others.
  • Enjoys doing things by hand. Dislikes sitting around making plans, but enjoys making ends meet.
  • Likes to communicate through objects rather than with words.
  • Are always thinking of the needs of others, tends to forget their personal needs.
  • Doesn’t like to lead, she would rather be led.
  • Best fit to accompany a leader.
  • Doesn’t say much, but happy to help and doesn’t look at it as a burden.

Weaknesses of the doer:

  • Tends to criticizes others who are unwilling to help, because her focus is objective, not on people.
  • Lose priority easily.
  • Hard to be leader, either because she’ll feel uncomfortable or that others find her personal needs difficult to be met, such that she could be considered arrogant. When delegating things to other people, she’ll either feel bad for find it difficult to trust others.
  • Easily hurt if not appreciated. Needs acknowledgment, but not snobby.

Strengths of the doer:

  • Willing to do things behind the scenes
  • Loves to help

Ways for to develop the character of the doer:

  • Must set priorities
  • Don’t judge through validation of others. Instead, learn to receive appraisal from God.
  • Learn to trust others (when delegating) and share tasks with others.

I think by these notes alone, you can tell which do I do more for, though whenever I exceed my personal-needs quota, I become a total hermit and close all doors to “recharge”.

On self-knowledge

In specific contexts, I think the people closest to me know me better than anyone else. For example. My mom installed a large dispenser in her room, which is less than 5 feet from mine, because she knew I’m a walking water barrel. We have another dispenser in our living room downstairs, but I thirst, like, 24/7.

When it comes to the deeper stuff, I know that no one else knows me better than I do. But all too often I still think I’m a mystery to myself. (Why else would I start a blog in the first place?) I just always feel it’s just you in this colossal universe. Like why would you exist, why do you matter, and how do you make yourself matter?

I believe it’s the same with everyone. These questions arise at one point in our lives, especially when we look back and laugh at ourselves.

Remember those times you catch yourself doing something you never thought you would do? Or those rare moments you come to realize there’s something more from what you’ve been taught your whole life? Just when you think you’ve understood yourself pretty well, conflicts arise. You start to question your old beliefs, you try to reaffirm its principles, you seclude yourself to gain clarity.

But you didn’t. You only grew more confused, more dissonant, and before you know it, you’re thrown completely out of alignment.

This is why I see eye to eye with Ben Franklin: It’s extremely hard to accept the truths about yourself without judging the self, and it just so happens that self-knowledge is the first condition toward betterment. Without self-knowledge, there is no baseline for us to improve as individuals, and without self-knowledge, all you’re left with is a stagnant life.

With that in mind, I want to share some of my favorite quotes on self-knowledge that will, hopefully, inspire you to introspect. Yes, it’s difficult, as if you’re looking into the mirror, naked, with at least a million people looking at you. But it’s also liberating to get down to our core identities and recognize our strengths, because there are enough people in our lives reminding us of our past mistakes and how we used to be.

So here goes.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. (Aristotle)

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. (Proverbs 21:2 NIV)

The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart. (Julien Green)

For most men life is a search for the proper manila envelope in which to get themselves filed. (Clifton Fadiman)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV)

If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found. (Anonymous)

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. (Psalms 51:3 NIV)

It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient one, too. (H.W. Shaw)

Our greatest instrument for understanding the world—introspection … The best way of knowing the inwardness of our neighbor is to know ourselves. (Walter Lippmann)

If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. (Galatians 6:3-4 NIV)

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. (Carl Jung)

But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. (Psalms 19:12 NIV)

Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?Why should the living complain when punished for their sins?Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:37-40 NIV)

I bid him look into the lives of men as though into a mirror, and from others to take an example for himself. (Terance)

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. (Oscar Wilde)

The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves. (Oscar Wilde)

It’s no good running a pig farm badly for thirty years while saying, “Really I was meant to be a ballet dancer.” By that time, pigs will be your style. (Quentin Crisp)

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is. (Jackson Pollock)

Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. (Ann Landers)

Use the creative process – singing, writing, art, dance, whatever – to get to know yourself better. (Catie Curtis)

All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. (James Thurber)

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. (Douglas Adams)

I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing. (Socrates)

The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore. (C. Joybell C.)

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13: 8-12 NIV)

To say ‘I love you’, one must first be able to say the ‘I’. (Ayn Rand)

No man is the worse for knowing the worst of himself. (Thomas Fuller)


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