In No Man is an Island, Thomas Merton describes how, “to make good choices, I must develop a mature and prudent understanding of myself that will reveal to me my real motives and intentions.” This is what we do in therapy. We ask ourselves questions like, Why do I do what I do, Why do I say what I say, Why do I want what I want? Often times therapy can provide a safe environment where, not only can we ask these questions, but we can explore the answers deeply and honestly. It’s easy to turn to self-justifications or even self-deprecation, rather than allowing ourselves to be truly honest with ourselves. However, if we want real growth and change we need to learn to tolerate knowing all of the parts of ourselves; to be honest about who we are, how we feel, and what we think, without attaching to judgments and shaming. It is important to realize that while we must acknowledge where we might be lacking, or what we might be doing “wrong,” it is also important to realize that we must also learn to acknowledge our strengths and “good” qualities, because this is where the foundation of growth comes from.
When we are able to provide ourselves with honest answers to these questions of who we are, we are then able to identify what might be blocking us from attaining the growth and peace that we want. In the process of getting to know yourself you will experience a sense of agency and empowerment that will allow you to make decisions and to know what you want.