Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 10, 1445 H
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'Know thyself', a maxim as true now as ever before

The result of hiding emotion is that you truly do not know how you feel at any given moment, but you know how you think

The phrase, 'Know thyself' was inscribed by the Greeks several thousand years ago. That phrase is as true now as it was back then. Human behaviour has always been complex, especially when it comes to integrating thinking and feeling. Emotion is especially tricky. You develop the ability to suppress your emotions as a child and continue to hide your emotions as an adult.

The result of hiding emotion is that you truly do not know how you feel at any given moment, but you know how you think. You can hear your own self-talk in your mind, including competing thoughts that are very confusing and distressing.

Self-reliant people judge the world around them based on a set of principles that are under continuous review for the truth. Differences are addressed through negotiation and compromise rather than dismissal. They look for the larger truth that enables them to take a piece of each person’s position.

Developing self-reliance is not an easy task. You are born into dependency, reliant on your parents for survival. Standing up to your parents forges your independence and enables you to become self-reliant. You develop pride in your ability to manage life on your own. You don’t depend on them if you can help it. You get your own job and source of money. You make your own decisions about career or interests.

Identifying the emotional root cause for your thoughts is necessary to discern what emotions reflect the real you and which ones reveal what you have been taught. The risk is that you can’t tell who you are or what you believe.

Self-reliance requires that you make this distinction. You must learn which emotions are telling you the truth that you believe and which emotions tell you the truth according to others, from your parents to your teachers to your leaders. Only you can know your own truth and forge your own beliefs. Insight and introspection bring self-knowledge and enable the birth of your independence.

Self-reliance is the ability to listen to yourself in a crowd, especially your family. It is the capacity to stand up for what you believe, knowing that it may not be well received, dismissed, or rejected outright. Fear of disconnection or abandonment is never the basis for attachment. You form relationships where the investment in emotional intimacy is mutual and emotional learning takes place.

Self-reliance is the foundation for independence. At first glance, independence may seem at odds with attachment. Self-reliance does not mean that you dismiss everyone else and only listen to yourself. It means that you look for the truth in your own position and in the beliefs of others.

The writer is an international adviser on business, economy

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