Self-knowledge* can be an elusive goal.
I find I still have “built-in” assumptions about myself that are untested or even untrue about what will make me happy. Silly stuff that I’ve picked up unthinkingly from the barrage of inputs we all receive daily from the media and the social mirrors that surround us.
One thing I do to increase my self-awareness is notice (and often jot in my journal) what I find myself looking forward to. It sounds so simple, but we rarely make it a systemic practice. Often it is not the expensive things or big things. It is finding the time to have breakfast with my wife, or to come home in time to have a lunch date with my son, or some community event where I will see and visit with long-time friends or rarely-seen neighbors.
It is not just the event itself that brings us joy, happiness, and contentment. Often other components, the anticipation and the memory, hold equal or greater satisfaction.
By taking note of what I find myself looking forward to, by teasing out the whys and whats thereof, I can choose more of the same and keep myself aligned to my true self.
“The final mystery is oneself.” — Oscar Wilde
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” – Unknown
“The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” – Elbert Hubbard
* From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Self-knowledge is commonly used in philosophy to refer to knowledge of one’s particular mental states, including one’s beliefs, desires, and sensations.