Know Thyself


Before you jump into a relationship with someone, it's always best to know yourself first.

“ Whether he thinks too little, or too much;Chaos of thought and passion, all confus'd
Know Then Thyself”   ~Alexander Pope

Visitors to the ancient temple that housed the sacred Oracle at Delphi were greeted with the words “gnōthi seautón”, which translates from the Greek to “know thyself.” One of the most important decisions you can make in your life is to decide what you want. You cannot, however, know what you want unless you know who you are. Once you have a relationship to your inner self, knowing what you want becomes easier. One thing I urge people I help to do again and again is to take personal responsibility. In twelve years of marriage I have learned quite a bit about myself through my relationship with my partner and it is these insights I share with my clients. Part of what I do is listen to you and your needs and help you understand what it is you actually want out of a relationship and then point you in the right direction so you can actually find it. The first place we start is with you.

Nowhere is it more important to know yourself and what you want and need than in a romantic relationship. It would be interesting to do a study to find out how many partners in relationships go to a therapist and talk not about themselves, but about their partner. It is as if we use our partner to try to more deeply understand ourselves, and I know how scary that can be. Of course this is often a subconscious impulse that we may not be aware we are doing. It becomes particularly difficult when looking at traits of the partner that we have disowned in ourselves, traits we would rather not examine. This is what Carl Jung calls “the shadow” but I digress. That is for you to discuss with your very qualified, highly trained therapist, and in my work I just want to bring it to your consciousness or awareness.

How do you begin to truly get to know yourself? Knowing thyself helps you in every relationship of your life, its all different sides of the same coin. All the inner work has a pay off, because when we know ourselves and our wants and needs, we are ready to share true intimacy with another.


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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.