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Self-Consciousness and Self-Knowledge

Updated on October 29, 2018
Marina Karoumpali profile image

A life and philosophy enthusiast, a Life Coach and Yoga Instructor, considering love and self-acceptance as a key to a more fulfilling life

What is the search of the self?

The most obvious explanation for that is to know thyself. Heraclitus had gone deeper than Socrates in that part, urging people to awaken.

Discovering oneself, knowing oneself and eventually accepting oneself are high on the list of millions of people nowadays. Recently, more than ever, the need to answer all these questions is impelling.

First things first. In order to dedicate time to search yourself you have to invest time to yourself, you have to invest time in your loneliness. Surrounded by people all the time blurs the image that you have for yourself and ''borrows'' something from everyone around. So, an amount of loneliness could be beneficial for this procedure. It is often easier to walk the path of truth this way!

What about the fear of loneliness, someone might ask. It is indeed a fear that we were brought up with. Often, our concept of hapiness and fulfillment is connected to others, coexisting and having strong bonds with people.

But are things actually like that? Does happiness come from external sources rather than internal?

Due to that belief, there are people who do literally everything in order not to be ever alone, people who dread the idea of spending time with themselves and search who they are and what they carry.

The one not afraid to spend time alone is the one who has good company!

And that's where the gist really is. It took me years to realise that in order to have balance in my relationships with other people I first must have balance in the relationship with myself.

The social conditioning we all have been subjected to has taught us that it is a failure to be alone, especially after a certain age. That's where the concept of the spinster or the bachelor come from, even if a person has been through relationships and marriages. It's like a stigma or a serious failure.

Warnings from others!

A friend recently ''warned'' me that I would end up alone. I just wanted to tell her ''But isn't that wonderful? Why do you think that it scares me? Why do you consider it to be a bad thing?''

Of course, the real deal here, is that people project their own fears on others and transfer their conceps self-referentially.

And yes, there is quite frequently that kind of fear or anxiety that dwels deep down in us, that life is unbearable without a companion, without our surroundings, but that fear actually stops us from understanding and accepting our own self.

Fears are actually a hinder to our self knowledge and mostly illusional, because they don't really exist, we give them space to occupy, we can also leave them wither and die out by taking the courageous steps we need, every time.

Do we ever find peace?

So, after all I decide to spend some time alone, searching myself. I dive, I truly dive as deeply as I can in me. Hesitantly at first, to assess the situation. Blackness. Am I afraid? Oh, yes, I'm terrified. I'm afraid of what I'm going to find. No flowers and prairies, no love, no light. Blackness and ugliness. Wounds and trauma, all over. Negative thoughts and pettiness, anger and envy.Goodness, why am I doing it to myself? Why can't I go on to live a normal life devoid of these thoughts?

Accepting the self

So, if you realise that you are not such a good person, or at least not as good as you thought you were, can you go on? Yes, we all know that the goal is self-acceptance, whatever that means. How do I truly accept myself? With my bad habits? With my evil thoughts? With my addictions and shortcomings?

One of the dangers is to take yourself too seriously, to stand back and think that you also stand out, that you are something special. You are by all means nothing special, whereas at the same time you are everything!

''You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the ocean in a drop'' said Rumi. And he was right. The balance between self-knowledge and the feeling that we belong to a great human family is not easy.

Our self-referentiality and the way we perceive ourselves, consequently others too, is a trap so easy to fall into.

Fear and doubt are just illusions that we are used to carrying. There is nothing real about them and once we sense that we begin overcoming them both.

I don't really know whether by diving into myself I can relinquish my Ego, I don't know whether my Ego is in charge of myself and my body. I think that it seems good when the result of my effords is to confront myself the way I confront my beloved ones, with the same love and acceptance. So, my suggestion is to listen to yourself, forgive and take care of yourself.

Of course you are going to criticise yourself when necessary. But not by whipping yourself all the time. It does not teach you anything. If you soften all the harshness towards yourself you will soften your harshess towards life and people. And I know now, even though I am better to none, nobody is better than me either. Competitiveness is substituted by healthy self-love and confidence.

No easy task but necessary is you want to be awake and present to your life!
No easy task but necessary is you want to be awake and present to your life!


The idea is not to superimpose ideas of the self without getting distracted by our own thoughts of what we think we are or should be. Examining the true self can take place in our every interaction, in our every breath or reaction. We don't need to be in a cave to do so, we don't need total isolation, which, of course provides safety and comfort, with all its pits and traps.

The challenge is to manage to embody it in our daily life, with all the difficulties and the distractions it may have.

Finding happiness...

''What is the meaning of happiness? To live all misfortunes. What is the meaning of light? To peer into every darkness with unblurred vision.'' said Nikos Kazantzakis in "Ascetic''.

So, to peer into us, means to discern the darkness and the light in ourselves and accept both. Our attitude defines the way we will experience both and the way we will realise ourselves in connection to others and the world around us. It also defines the way we feel about ourselves and others.

Mindful happiness is a high vibration procedure, that leaves the Ego aside and embraces all the joy, all the good things I see in myself, others and the world into an inseparable pattern of truthfulness and realisation.

The bad things always coexist, as part of our nature, our mistakes are part of the constellation of our lives. Not all starts are shiny. What we let define us, good or bad, light or darkness is a matter of choice. Being awake, means making better choices, by accepting the wrong ones we have made. Trying to fit into the moulds of others does not let you come to terms with yourself, your innate qualities, your dreams, your essence.

So, by not making excuses for anything, by choosing to be who we want to be, in the midst of society, we interact with others, without letting anyone define us except our inner and higher self, our desires and our true needs. Knowing thyself leads eventually to accepting thyself and hopefully to LOVING YOURSELF.

Υοu, first of all and the others will follow!

Because all you are is light and love, this is your raw material.

© 2018 Marina Karoumpali


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