“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
I can still vividly see my mother standing before me, hands akimbo, her anger palpable and eyes narrowed as she spat out the words – ‘who do you think you are?’ My nine-year-old self knew from experience that it was a question asked whenever she needed to elucidate that there was a boss in the house, and it wasn’t me.
That question, and I dare say the scenario narrated above is common – I know it because I heard it many times as a child directed at my friends and me by the grown-ups in our lives; I have heard the question asked by teacher to student, boss to subordinate and even by one peer to another. I also know it is universal, going by Barbara Sher’s best-selling book –‘Wishcraft; How to Get What You Really Want. I must highlight something here, for the benefit of my compatriots from certain parts of Kenya who might experience a case of MTI (mother tongue interference) while reading the book title – Wishcraft – it is all about the craft of wishing, converting wishes into goals and creating action plans to achieve goals.
In my view, that question – who do you think you are? – forms the foundation for self-discovery, which is the key to self-awareness. Ask someone, even the person in the mirror, that question in a non-threatening, non-judgemental way and be curious to hear their answer – you might just be introducing them to themselves in a way they have never done before. It would be a conversation that helps people connect the dots and open the door to self-awareness.
Self-awareness is all about understanding who we are, what we value, what we are passionate about, what motivates our behaviour and how we interact with the world. It is this sense of self-awareness that helps us filter our decisions and choices, such as what kinds of engagements to pursue with regard to career, relationships and self-development. When we are self-aware, we are more likely to enhance our effectiveness and productivity because we know what works for us and what doesn’t – we can choose to be in the environment that we know we thrive in and where we can’t choose our environment, we can adjust our behaviour to make the best of the environment we are in.
Who do you think you are? is a question we would do well to ask ourselves before we ask other people. It is very difficult to have a healthy appreciation of another person if we do not have the same appreciation of ourselves. Asking yourself that question will lead you on a journey that puts you in a position to leverage on your gifts, talents and strengths and to actively seek out, create and put yourself in an environment conducive for thriving. It is a journey that has the potential to help you support others so they can connect their own dots and become self-aware.
So, who do you think you are?
Tags: #pauseandponder, #selfawareness, #selfdiscovery