Monday, October 2, 2023
Speak Your MindSo you think you know yourself?

So you think you know yourself?

People say a best friend is like a mirror. No matter what you would like yourself to look like, or no matter what you think you actually look like, a mirror never lies. It shows you exactly what you look like. Whether you would like to believe the look that you see in the mirror is your problem. I tend to think that people want to believe about themselves what they actually want to believe, and not necessarily the reality on the ground.

I sometimes observe that people do not perceive me the way I perceive myself and also that people that I know do not perceive themselves the way others perceive them.  Sometimes I wonder if who we are is defined by how others perceive us. Which one is the true me? The way I perceive myself or the way others perceive me?

There are instances I engage in hot debates about certain issues with my friends or members of my family. One such issue was about democracy, for instance. I noticed during the debate that some of the people I was debating with are not very tolerant of other’s opinions, but yet consider themselves to be very democrat. So, I wondered, ‘do we have different understanding of what democracy is, or these people do not know themselves’.

In our minds, we may consider ourselves to be very forgiving, kind, honest, hard workers, and all the good characters one might wish for himself or herself. But our actions do not always speak for our self-believes. We might be very self righteous, but there are moments in life that surprise us with the evil that we are actually capable of. And we start to wonder if we really know ourselves. We convince ourselves that we are very good to others, and that if the occasion presents itself, we will help others out during the time people need us the most. But we never actually turn that into action, and yet continue to believe that we are good.

I believe that what we perceive ourselves to be like and what others perceive us to be does not define who we actually are. I believe that only our actions define who we are. Our actions tell the reality, and they are objective. People may perceive our actions wrongly. But it doesn’t matter. At least we know our motives behind our actions. Only what we do can be judged objectively both by others and us. In my opinion, what we believe about the kind of person we are doesn’t determine who we are.  

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So you think you know yourself? Only look at your actions to answer this question. They will tell you who you really are.

Contributed by Tsion Taye


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