The short answer in my view, is; “You don’t!… Or.. You don’t need to know!”
I came across this question the other day on the ‘Quora’ site. So I read the words of the person who had asked the question, and then added my own two penn’orth to the Comments.
Here are the thoughts of the post originator…
“Getting to know yourself is a journey. One that lasts until you die.
It’s uncanny to have a concrete image of who you are in your mind.
I once took out a piece of paper and wrote down about things that define me. I was struggling. I thought I had myself all figured out, but I didn’t. So instead of searching for who I am, I came up with a better alternative:
Trying new things. Even small things like saying hi to a stranger, or staying disciplined in my workout routine. The more I keep on exploring, the more I get to know about myself.
But to answer your question, I personally am being myself when I’m exploring, when I’m doing things I want to do. That could be communicating with a stranger on the street, trying out a new food, or persisting on working out.
Because I know that those are things I want to do. They make me healthy and happy.
When I feel that way, I know I’m being myself.
Yeah, that’s me. Good job me”
And here are my own comments……
“My contention is, that you don’t know when you are being yourself, because at that time, you’re not preoccupied with needing or wanting to know.
The moment that you obsess about whether you are being yourself, you couldn’t be further from it!
Just ‘be’, and ‘be’ with kindness and compassion.
Because the moment you think, “Am I being the true ‘me’ “… you move further away from that state rather than closer to it!
Self-consciousness creates anything but the ‘real you’! Hence the biblical expression: “Don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing.”
You need to be open to everything, yet attached to nothing…. not even the wish to know when you are being your true self!
When it’s not on your mind.. you’re usually the closest to being your true self than at any other time.” ~agr~
The view of a writer on the power of unselfconsciousness…... In my view this holds true to most things in life. The moment we become conscious of ourselves in any activity, is the moment we reduce its effectiveness. This is what Christ was talking about when he said, “….don’t let the right hand know what the left is doing”. The moment we become conscious of ourselves in the equation of service with compassion, is the moment that the compassion ceases to be objective and hence no longer ‘real’; because it then becomes more about ‘us’ than ‘them’.
What would be your comment/contribution?
(Please add your own comments in the “Comments” section below.)