When I was 21, I got a tattoo that reads ‘Gnothi Seauton’ (know thyself). I’d learnt about it in my Psychology degree and it stuck with me when I was going through a lot of change (and ironically knew my real self the least). The great part about growth is that you realise it happens most when you’re outside of your comfort zone.
Five years later, I’m relieved that the words I decided to permanently etch into my skin continue to guide me. But, I think I am only really starting to understand what this Greek phrase is really about. Being somewhere in my life where I’m ACTUALLY comfortable with myself, happy in my own skin, and embracing a lifestyle that works for me has given me the space and time to really get to know my true self.
Counselling has helped a lot and I truly recommend it to everybody. It’s not just for people who’ve gone through trauma or who are unhappy with their mental health. Instead, it’s one hour a fortnight (or month, or week, whatever you choose) to spend organising and processing your thoughts and experiences. Most of the time, I just go into a session and brain-dump all the random things that I’ve experienced in the past few weeks. I always leave the sessions having gained clarification on a hundred different anxieties that I didn’t even know were worrying me. I also often make connections between events that happened years ago that I had no idea were still hanging around, influencing my present state of mind. Counselling has given me many lightbulb moments that have given me closure. We all deserve a small pocket of time to organise our brains and put the jigsaw pieces back together.
I never thought I’d be one to rethink my alcohol consumption, do moon rituals, collect crystals, start yoga, or talk about my fears on the internet. But here I am, doing all of them. Taking a break from booze gave me guidance on my mental and physical health, and educated me on the negative effects alcohol has on us all. I’m not entirely sober any longer because I believe the true healing comes from balance, and from not punishing myself. Plus, I like the taste of wine.
Ultimately, being your own cheerleader, date, best friend and family will always give you the most happiness and contentment. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t depend on others. But, learn to care for yourself first.
Having travelled alone to NYC recently, I realised that for the first time ever, I was enjoying things purely for me. I was marvelling at cool buildings or enjoying a sunset just because I enjoyed it, not because I wanted to tell someone else about it. This was a mad realisation, but an important one. Make peace with yourself, know yourself, enjoy life because you get to live it with you.