What scary things we find when we take the time to uncover the truth. I think this is why many people gloss over the truth and prefer to turn a blind eye. Oh, but I'm not interested in discussing politics or social issues. Let's discuss you...and me.
I have spent the last two and a half years working on a book that deals with a number of things, primarily the Korean War. During my research, I studied The Art of War, and its principles are extremely thought-provoking. Sure, the title says "war", but that's not the only issue to which it relates. The principles can relate to anything: business, relationships, problems, life (this Atlantic article demonstrates this in a really interesting way).
The primary principle I focused on for the book is this: Know yourself and know your enemy.
Sun Tzu, the Chinese general who wrote these principles, said that if you know yourself and your enemy, then you will never have to worry about the outcome of any battle. If you only know one, then every victory will be followed with a defeat. And if you know neither, then you will fail every time.
The question is: do we know ourselves? Do we take the time to know who we are? Who we are about? What makes us tick? What makes us happy? Sad? Angry? What we care about?
Remember in Hamlet the phrase: "To thine own self be true"?
It's a famous phrase, of course. But do we get it? Do we understand what that means?
How can we be true to ourselves if we do not know who we are?
This leads me to the quote by Socrates: "The unexamined life is not worth living."
There is the answer to knowing. Taking the time to examine ourselves. Taking the TIME. Looking at ourselves in the mirror. And I don't necessarily mean a physical mirror, but if that helps, then use one. The only way to truly examine yourself is to take time. Time is the mirror.
Along with The Art of War, my research included the samurai text The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. He said, "Everything is within."
Therefore, look within. Find out what you're about. The only thing we are not given in life is more life. More time. That mirror begins to fade quickly. It becomes darker and less reflective. This is why the older people become, the harder it is for them to change. After so long, you get rid of the mirror and simply accept even the unacceptable things.
Sure, it's scary acknowledging the bad and the ugly in our lives. Discovery often requires going to some pretty dark and scary places. Armed with a flashlight and a sense of trepidation, we creep along - poking and prodding at ourselves. The discomfort is worth the end result. Just don't fear discovery so much that you abandon the practice of self-examination.
We have one life to live. It would be dreadful to think we died and never truly met ourselves.
So study yourself. Know yourself. Know your enemy. Quite often, those two are the same.