Know Thyself


Jung was right. If we don’t understand our own unconscious impulses, we are slaves to them. But that doesn’t mean constant self-focus (“what do I feel, what do I think, what do I want?”). True self-knowledge comes from beyond ourselves.

Consider how we hear. Even before we speak, we “hear” in our minds the sounds we intend to make. Then we speak and our inner ears pick up the sounds that resonate inside our heads, the tones that only we can hear. Finally, our outer ears pick up the sounds we release into the atmosphere, the version of our voice the world hears.

Self-knowledge comes from three sources, just as hearing does: from self, from others, and from God. Morbid introspection, “navel gazing,” is like having only an inner ear, not knowing who we are in context. (Have you ever known someone who seemed “deaf” to what others knew about them?) Other people help us know who we are in the world. In helping each other, we round out our perception–together. Because no soul exists in a vacuum (except, perhaps, in hell). Finally, there is the ultimate source, God, who “hears” who we are at the deepest level. Without his insights, we can never know what we were intended to be. Only he can reveal it to us, little by little, day by day, relationally.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And he was right. But false examination is as useless as no examination. Be humble, be real. Tap all three sources, expose false fate and…

Know thyself.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Know Thyself

  1. ekurie says:

    Or overemphasis of one, two but not all 3 throws me off balance, too. Thanks. This cleared up a lot for me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is SO good, Mitch! Only the examined life is worth living.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. After I had been replying to comments to a comic, which I felt had some bearing on the Jungian notion of the shadow, and which I had posted in the C.G. Jung Creative Work and Discussion Group on Facebook, I checked my email, and found at the top it a mail with this posting. I think that qualifies as Jungian Synchronicity and shared this posting in that group!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Someone also said the Unlived life is not worth examining. We have this one, precious life to live. May we live it compassionately, selflessly, lovingly, openly, joyously…unafraid.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jennwith2ns says:

    Mitch, this post is uncannily timely for one I’ve been trying to write all week. May I use your graphic you made? (I’ll link to you, of course.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Award: The Sunshine Blogger Award #2 – ReadRantRock&Roll

  7. This is great! I hope you don’t mind me sharing it (linked to your site, of course).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Wise advice, Mitch, to tap all three sources–self, others, and God–in order to know ourselves. Also appreciate your statement that explains why self-knowledge is important: to know who we are in the world–our purpose. A life without purpose is a terrible waste. Thank you for the thought-provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Good topic. This summer the Lord took me though what good health is. It starts in the spirit, soul, emotions, mind, flesh, and the social life. Your piece reminds me that He wants His children to be whole from their spirit out. We should not neglect whatever part He is focusing on or stuff it down. I see Him breaking up what felt like clogs and blockages in my times of sleep or risk time without people. Isn’t us awesome how Jesus is the great physician who knows where the real issues are and is the cure as well.

    Be whole on Him,


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lucie says:

    There are times, Mitch, that I have this weird feeling that if you and I lived closer that we’d be good friends….we wouldn’t always agree with each other, but I strongly believe that we would have some lovely, thought provoking conversations….I so appreciate “knowing you”…. (((Hugs))) Lucie

    Liked by 1 person

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