Self-knowledge (quotes)


Self-knowledge is the mother of all knowledge


The greatest thing in the world is to know yourself

  • Know thyself. Plato
  • The greatest thing in the world is to know oneself. Michel de Montaigne
  • Know yourself and you will win all battles. Sun Tzu
  • Know thyself; this is the great object. Seneca the Younger
  • Wherever we go, whatever we do, self is the sole subject we study and learn. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • One must know oneself. If this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better. Blaise Pascal
  • What the world needs is more people who know themselves. Ron W. Rathbun
  • Oh! that you could turn your eyes towards the napes of your necks, and make but an interior survey of your good selves. William Shakespeare
  • Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.  Zen Proverb
  • Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.  Buddha
  • There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives. Josephine Hart
  • To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one’s troubles and moods; to have a sense of what’s going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs to the world. Alain de Botton
  • Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control–these three alone lead life to sovereign power. Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.  Pema Chodron
  • The unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates
  • Self-awarenessKnowledge

Get acquainted with who you are and what you can do

  • Ninety percent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves. Sydney J. Harris
  • Know thyself means this, that you get acquainted with what you know, and what you can do. Menander
  • All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. James Thurber
  • Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. Buddha
  • Ask yourself these three questions, Tatiana Metanova, and you will know who you are. Ask: What do believe in? What do you hope for? What do you love? Paullina Simons

Knowledge of yourself is the mother of all knowledge and a source of great personal power

  • Knowledge of the self is the mother of all knowledge. So it is incumbent on me to know my self, to know it completely, to know its minutiae, its characteristics, its subtleties, and its very atoms. Kahlil Gibran
  • Self-knowledge is the great power by which we comprehend and control our lives. Vernon Howard
  • The high peak of knowledge is perfect self-knowledge. Richard of Saint-Victor
  • Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control – these alone lead to power. Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. Lao Tzu
  • All knowledge is ultimately self-knowledge.  Bruce Lee
  • Self-awareness is the foundation for emotional intelligence, self-leadership, and mature adulthood. Scott Jeffrey
  • Knowledge

The challenge of getting to know yourself


Realise that getting to know yourself can be a challenging and confronting process.

  • There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.  Benjamin Franklin
  • It is the individual who knows how little they know about themselves who stands the most reasonable chance of finding out something about themselves before they die. I. Hayakawa
  • One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self; of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Like an old gold-panning prospector, you must resign yourself to digging up a lot of sand from which you will later patiently wash out a few minute particles of gold ore. Dorothy Bryant
  • If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion. Aldous Huxley
  • Unless we can bear self-mortification, we shall not be able to carry self-examination to the necessary painful lengths. Without humility there can be no illuminating self-knowledge. Arnold Toynbee
  • There’s a lot of fear connected with the inner journey because it penetrates our illusions. Taking the inner journey will lead you into some very shadowy places. You’re going to learn things about yourself that you’ll wish you didn’t know. There are monsters in there—monsters you can’t control—but trying to keep them hidden will only give them greater power. Parker Palmer
  • Listening to the heart is not simple. Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes allot of hard work (challenging work) to get to know who you are and what you want.   Bender
  • We run away all the time to avoid coming face to face with ourselves.
  • It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient one, too.   W. Shaw
  • Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world. Miguel de Cervantes
  • Self-exploration takes time, effort and focus. It can be some of the scariest and yet most rewarding work we ever do.  Ryan Howes, Ph.D
  • We do not deal much in facts when we are contemplating ourselves. Mark Twain
  • To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet. Charles Caleb Colton
  • “Know thyself?” If I knew myself, I’d run away.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To find yourself, sometimes you first need to experience being lost

  • Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. Henry David Thoreau
  • If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found.
  • It is good to feel lost… because it proves you have a navigational sense of where “Home” is. You know that a place that feels like being found exists.  And maybe your current location isn’t that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost- ness just brought you closer to it.    Erika Harris
  • In order to find yourself you need to get lost in the forest of life.   Mike Dolan
  • You have to get lost before you can be found. Jeff Rasley
  • Better to start up a thousand wrong roads than to spend your life going nowhere because you know the way.  Robert Brault
  • It is so important to grant ourselves permission to wander as part of our spiritual journey. So often mischaracterised as lostness, there is a kind of immersion in the not knowing that is actually quite necessary if we are going to find our way home. Jeff Brown
  • There are several ways to react to being lost. One is to panic. Another is to abandon yourself to lostness, to allow the fact that you’ve misplaced yourself to change the way you experience the world.  Audrey Niffenegger
  • Sometimes the only way to ever find yourself is to get completely lost. Kellie Elmore

Knowing yourself is a process that brings many great rewards


Knowing yourself is the path to wisdom and enlightenment

  • Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment. Lao Tzu
  • Know thyself and all will be revealed. Pamela Theresa Loertscher
  • Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Aristotle
  • Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside…dreams. Who looks inside…awakens. Carl Jung
  • Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must first know yourself. Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • WisdomEnlightenment

Knowing yourself is the path to change, personal transformation and growth

  • If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • If you want to be a great magician, focus on the one transformation that’s eternal and complete: know thyself.
  • When you become cognisant of why you behave the way you behave, then only can you manifest lasting change. Swami Sai Premananda
  • Find out why you are doing things. When you do, your life will change. Richard Rose
  • No one remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself. Thomas Mann
  • Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement. Baltasar Gracián
  • The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination …. until you take the journey of self- reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life. Iyanla Vanzant
  • What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. Abraham H. Maslow
  • There are people who live their whole lives on the default settings, never realizing you can customize. Robert Brault
  • ChangeTransformationGrowth

Knowing yourself helps you harness your potential

  • Average individuals often have not the slightest idea of what they are, of what they want, of what their own opinions are whereas self- actualizing individuals have superior awareness of their own impulses, desires, opinions, and subjective reactions in general. Abraham Maslow
  • I see the potential for a new world being born in front of me and all around me, and I feel the only way to bring that potential into being is to know myself. Gary Zukav
  • How little do we know that which we are! How less what we may be! Lord Byron
  • One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self; of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.  Hanoch McCarty
  • Potential

Knowing yourself increases your clarity, insight and understanding

  • As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around. Oprah Winfrey
  • The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand the world. Paulo Coelho
  • Insight occurs when, and to the degree that, one knows oneself. Andrew Schneider
  • People who do not understand themselves have a craving for understanding. Wilhelm Stekel
  • Every one of us has in him a continent of undiscovered character. Blessed is he who acts the Columbus to his own soul.   Charles L. Wallis
  • The more of me I be, the clearer I can see. Rachel Archelaus
  • ClarityInsightUnderstanding

Knowing who you are helps you to be truly yourself and live your own life

  • You can’t be yourself if you don’t know, understand, and accept yourself first.
  • Know Thyself” was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, “Be Thyself” shall be written. Oscar Wilde
  • To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying “Amen” to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive.  Robert Louis Stevenson
  • All your life you pretend to be someone else, and it turns out that you were someone else pretending to be you.  Robert Brault
  • Knowing who you are is the best defense against who they think you are. Dodinsky
  • If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life. James A. Michener
  • People who do not understand themselves have a craving for understanding. Wilhelm Stekel
  • The need to prove who you are will vanish once you know who you are. Danielle Pierre
  • Be who you areFollow your own path

Knowing yourself helps you understand others – and vice versa

  • Our greatest instrument for understanding the world—introspection . . . . The best way of knowing the inwardness of our neighbor is to know ourselves.  Walter Lippmann
  • And he who does not know himself does not know others, so it may be said with equal truth, that he who does not know others knows himself but very imperfectly. Sir Joshua Reynolds
  • I bid him look into the lives of men as though into a mirror, and from others to take an example for himself. Terance
  • We must remember that knowledge of one’s own deep nature is also simultaneously knowledge of human nature in general. Abraham Maslow
  • He that knows himself knows others. Charles Caleb Colton
  • You have to start knowing yourself so well that you begin to know other people. A piece of us is in every person we can ever meet. John D. MacDonald
  • Self-knowledge comes from knowing other men. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Knowing yourself is not so much about introspection and interaction. To know yourself is to realize that you are more than the little self that has been given to you by your history — the pattern that others made — that your true self is, in truth, much larger and includes other people, other cultures, other species even. That life is less about being and more about interbeing. We come to know ourselves, then, through coming to know each other. And the deeper that knowledge, the richer and more creative the world we build together. Danny Martin
  • We discover in ourselves what others hide from us and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves… Vauvenargues
  • Understanding ourselves is a prerequisite for understanding anybody else. Maria Popova
  • We can hardly fathom the reality of another without first plumbing our own depths. Maria Popova
  • Understanding

Knowing yourself can awaken purpose

  • The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose. Richard Grant
  • I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of. Michel de Montaigne
  • Purpose

Knowing yourself can help you succeed in life

  • The most successful people are those who don’t have any illusions about who they are. They know themselves well and they can move in the direction of their best talents. They know the kind of culture they thrive in and how they can benefit from that culture. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand themselves. Most people don’t want to lose their illusions about themselves. Bud Bray
  • If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. Sun Tzu
  • If you want to be truly successful, invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere, your success will blossom. Sydney Madwed
  • Success

Knowing yourself brings peace, freedom and happiness

  • If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.  James A. Michener
  • Without self-knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave. George Gurdjieff
  • You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.  George Michael
  • Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery. Matthew Arnold
  • The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you. Stephanie Perkins
  • The search for self-worth begins by finding what is indestructible inside, then letting it be. Prudence Kohl
  • When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. Ralph Ellison
  • Inner peaceFreedomHappiness

We pay a price for not knowing ourselves

  • Man can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as… from a lack of bread.  Richard Wright
  • Death comes as a heavy blow when, known too well to others, you die unknown to yourself. Francis Bacon
  • You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself. Beryl Markham
  • What a gloomy thing, not to know the address of one’s soul.   Victor Hugo
  • People who do not understand themselves have a craving for understanding. Wilhelm Stekel
  • Hell, in my opinion, is never finding your true self and never living your own life or knowing who you are. John Bradshaw
  • Knowing ourselves, we are beautiful; in self-ignorance, we are ugly. Plotinus
  • Without self awareness we are as babies in the cradles. Virginia Woolf

How to get to know yourself


Get to know yourself through self-observation and awareness

  • The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer. Adam Smith
  • The highest form of human intelligence is the ability to observe yourself. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • Observe all men; thy self most. Benjamin Franklin
  • Self-Observation is itself the beginning of transformation. Dennis Lewis
  • An unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates
  • Self-observation is the first step of inner unfolding. Amit Ray
  • While awareness is knowing what’s happening around you, self-awareness is knowing what you’re experiencing. Self-awareness is the ability to know what we are doing as we do it and understand why we are doing it. Scott Jeffrey
  • Self-awarenessObservation

… through the practice of mindfulness

  • Mindfulness also means deliberately learning to use your mind in a new way. It’s learning to watch your mind at work, looking at yourself with compassionate curiosity. Compassion, like a close friend, suffers with us a little but also sees the patterns that we’re normally too close to see.  Curiosity shows us that there’s really nothing to be afraid of in our own heads, but a lot we could learn.   Richard O’Connor
  • Most people fail to develop self-awareness because they don’t get rooted in their bodies first. Scott Jeffrey
  • The stronger our observing self becomes, the more space we have between us and our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Scott Jeffrey
  • Mindfulness

Get to know yourself through meditation, reflection and introspection…

  • Study the heart and the mind of man, and begin with your own. Meditation and reflection must lay the foundation of that knowledge, but experience and practice must, and alone can, complete it. Lord Chesterfield
  • By all means use sometimes to be alone. Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.    George Herbert
  • To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is. Carl Jung
  • Withdraw into yourself and look. Plotinus
  • MeditationReflectionContemplation

… by taking a journey within

  • There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms. George Eliot
  • The only journey is the journey within. Rainer Maria Rilke
  • The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart. Julien Green
  • You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. Alan Alda
  • Take a journey into the things which you are carrying, the known—not into the unknown—into what you already know: your pleasures, your delights, your despairs, your sorrows. Take a journey into that, that is all you have. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • The journey inwards

Get to know yourself through your enchantments

  • Where is your Self to be found? Always in the deepest enchantment that you have experienced. Hugo von Hofmannsthal

Get to know yourself through service to others

  • The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Mahatma Gandhi
  • You might say that we use ourselves to discover ourselves. Judith Hanson Lasater
  • ServiceMaking a difference

Get to know yourself through others

  • An even better way to get an accurate view of ourselves may be, ironically, to ask other people. If genuine self- knowledge is what we’re after, the best way to get it may be to summon up the courage to hear the truth and simply ask close friends and family members what we want to know. “Am I warm?” “Am I honest?” “Am I fun?” We may think we already know the answers to these questions, but sometimes we don’t. Alex Lickerman, M.D.
  • The best mirror is an old friend. Peter Nivio Zarlenga
  • A friend can tell you things you don’t want to tell yourself. Frances Ward Weller
  • Basically we are all looking for someone who knows who we are and will break it to us gently. Robert Brault
  • In the end you don’t so much find yourself as you find someone who knows who you are. Robert Brault
  • Sometimes the only way you can take a really good look at yourself is through somebody else’s eyes. From the television show Scrubs

Get to know yourself through reading and journaling

  • I write to understand as much as to be understood. Elie Wiesel
  • The whole point of keeping a journal is to be able to be fully yourself somewhere. Mark Matousek
  • The keyboard is my journal. Pharrell Williams
  • The journal is your playground, think tank, padded cell. Ryan Bartlemay
  • There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. William Wordsworth
  • Writing is another powerful way to sharpen the mental saw. Keeping a journal of our thoughts, experiences, insights, and learnings promotes mental clarity, exactness, and context. Stephen Covey
  • When you re-read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before.  Clifton Fadiman
  • We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become. Ursula K. LeGuin
  • To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is. Carl Jung
  • Reading

Get to know yourself by what you want to seem to be

  • Camouflage is a game we all like to play, but our secrets are as surely revealed by what we want to seem to be as by what we want to conceal.  Russell Lynes

Get to know yourself through embracing adventure

  • The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realization, and then returning to the field of normal life. Joseph Campbell
  • It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves. Andre Gide
  • Adventure can be an end in itself. Self-discovery is the secret ingredient that fuels daring. Grace Lichtenstein
  • It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action that man finds his supreme joy. Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. George Moore
  • I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.  James Baldwin
  • Adventure

Get to know yourself through challenges and adversity

  • Challenge serves beautifully to introduce you to your best – and most brilliant – self. Robin Sharma
  • Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. Bernice Johnson
  • ChallengeAdversity

Discover all that you are


Discover the wonder that is you

  • Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering. Augustine
  • All wonders you seek are within yourself. Sir Thomas Browne
  • Wonder

Discover the extraordinary treasure that lies within you

  • At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. Lao Tzu
  • You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him discover what’s within himself. Galileo
  • It is a tremendous fact that all you need is already within you. Wallace D. Wattles
  • Man is a universe within himself. Bob Marley
  • Be afraid of nothing. You have within you all wisdom, all power, all strength, all understanding. Eileen Caddy
  • The source of all knowing is in you. Eckhart Toll
  • All souls can find the truth within. Eileen Caddy
  • The answer to every vital question is within you. Eckhart Tolle
  • You are within God. God is within you. Peace Pilgrim
  • Your treasure is deep within you: it holds all you need. Hui-Hai
  • Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe. Neil Gaiman
  • The treasure within

Discover your strengths

  • Yet perhaps few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of. Jonathan Swift
  • Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead, guided by our parents, by our teachers, by our managers, and by psychology’s fascination with pathology, we become experts in our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to repair these flaws, while our strengths lie dormant and neglected. Marcus Buckingham
  • Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, correcting our weaknesses, the most we become is mediocre. If we hone our few super-strengths, insist on behavior that is authentic and true to our inner selves, and unreasonably demand more with less, the sky is the limit. Richard Koch
  • StrengthGrow your strengths

Discover your mind and feelings

  • Learn to know yourself… to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings. Nelson Mandela
  • The one self-knowledge worth having is to know one’s own mind. F.H. Bradley
  • Most attempts to develop self-awareness fail because they only target the neocortex (thoughts, beliefs, biases).  Our goal is to become more conscious of what’s driving our behaviour. To accomplish this, we need to increase our sensitivity to our emotions and instincts—the information we rarely access with our conscious mind. Then, we can explore our thoughts, beliefs, and biases with greater results. Scott Jeffrey

Discover what makes you happy and what you want

  • It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy. Lucille Ball
  • Find what makes your heart sing and create your own music.  Mac Anderson
  • To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying “Amen” to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive. Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.  Ben Stein
  • Your work is to simply determine what you want. Esther and Jerry Hicks
  • Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it. Buddha
  • Humans no longer have instincts in the animal sense, powerful, unmistakable inner voices which tell them unequivocally what to do, when, where, how and with whom. Authentic selfhood can be defined in part as being able to hear these impulse-voices within oneself, that is, to know what one really wants or doesn’t want, what one is fit for and what one is not fit for, etc. Abraham Maslow
  • HappinessBecome clear what you want

Discover your fears

  • Fear is a question. What are you afraid of and why?  Our fears are a treasure house of self- knowledge if we explore them.  Marilyn Ferguson
  • Fear

Get to know your heart and soul, not just your mind

  • A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there. Meister Eckhart
  • The heartThe soul

Get to know your shadow too, not just your light

  • No man is the worse for knowing the worst of himself. Thomas Fuller
  • By choosing not to allow parts of ourselves to exist, we are forced to expend huge amounts of psychic energy to keep them beneath the surface. Debbie Ford
  • Whatever we refuse to recognize about ourselves has a way of rearing its head and making itself known when we least expect it. Debbie Ford
  • Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. Carl Jung
  • Our indignation over the behavior of others is usually about an unresolved aspect of ourselves. Debbie Ford
  • Embrace your shadow

Once you discover yourself, make peace with who you are

  • Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have. Doris Mortman
  • I define comfort as self-acceptance. When we finally learn that self-care begins and ends with ourselves, we no longer demand sustenance and happiness from others. Jennifer Louden
  • Self-loveSelf-acceptanceSelf-forgiveness

Know who you are and who you want to be


Know not only who you are but also who you want to be…

  • Knowing oneself is not so much a question of discovering what is present in one’s self, but rather the creation of who one wants to be. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Ophelia: We know what we are, but know not what we may be. William Shakespeare
  • Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.    Robert Brault
  • If you aren’t sure who you are, you might as well work on who you want to be.  Robert Brault
  • Envision who you want to become

… for who you are changes as you constantly create yourself anew

  • Know thyself, or at least keep renewing the acquaintance.  Robert Brault
  • Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. George Bernard Shaw
  • The most incredible architecture is the architecture of Self, which is ever changing, evolving, revolving and has unlimited beauty and light inside which radiates outwards for everyone to see and feel. With every in breathe, you are adding to your life and every out breathe you are releasing what is not contributing to your life.  Every breathe is a re-birth.   Allan Rufus
  • People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates. Thomas Szasz
  • The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself. Deepak Chopra
  • You are not here to contact your highest self; you are here to become it. Dan Millman
  • Life is an endlessly creative experience, and we are shaping ourselves at every moment by every decision we make. Kent Nerburn
  • Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself. Erich Fromm
  • The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action. John Dewey
  • A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming. Madeleine L’Engle

Self-knowledge and spirituality


In a spiritual sense, getting to know who you are takes on a profound meaning

  • There is something that matters more than anything and that is finding the essence of who you are beyond that short- lived entity, that short- lived personalized sense of self.  Eckhart Tolle
  • Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free. Eckhart Tolle
  • Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Baba Ram Dass
  • The effort to discover an authentic self, to strip away layers of alienation and culturally imposed identity and find a soul in a clear, unimpeded communion with the sacred is consonant with spiritual quests throughout the ages. Cynthia Eller
  • What greater thing is there than this Mystery that is Myself? Franklin Merrell-Wolff
  • Real happiness abides in Self-knowledge alone. All else is fleeting. To know one’s Self is to be blissful always.  Ramana Maharshi
  • To know the self as the only reality and all else as temporal and transient is freedom, peace and joy. Nisargadatta Maharaj
  • Our essential nature is pure potentiality, infinite creativity, pure joy, pure knowledge, infinite silence, perfect balance, simplicity and bliss. Deepak Chopra
  • As you become more aligned with the truth of who you are, the question of liking yourself goes away. It is a natural state of being. Rachel Andrews
  • Don’t let a day go by without asking who you are…each time you let a new ingredient to enter your awareness. Deepak Chopra
  • Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind. Eckhart Tolle
  • The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is know thyself. There is nothing else to learn. Everyone is looking for himself, and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. A Course in Miracles
  • Knowing yourself goes far deeper than the adoption of a set of ideas or beliefs. Spiritual ideas and beliefs may at best be helpful pointers, but in themselves they rarely have the power to dislodge the more firmly established core concepts of who you think you are, which are part of the conditioning of the human mind. Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind. Eckhart Tolle
  • Know thyself. Nothing in excess. The Self is required to balance the Self. Ralph Blum
  • When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. Ralph Ellison
  • Awaken to who you really are

Know thyself and thou shalt know God

  • Know thyself, and thou shalt know the Universe and God. Pythagoras
  • The humble knowledge of thyself is a surer way to God than the deepest search after science. Thomas à Kempis
  • You are within God. God is within you. Peace Pilgrim
  • Know thyself and thou shalt know all the mysteries of the gods and the Universe. Temple of Apollo at Delphi

Letting go of your ego can be a valid alternative to endless introspection

  • But what about when people explore their inner selves? Make journeys of self-discovery?  Aren’t they going within to find the truth?  They’re just exploring the ego, making a study of the false self, which is a lifequest as valid as any other.  But you don’t wake up by perfecting your dream character, you wake up by breaking free of it.  There’s no truth to the ego, so no degree of mastery over it results in anything true.  Putting attention on the false self merely reinforces it.   Jed McKenna
  • The problem with introspection is that it has no end. Philip K. Dick
  • Transcending the ego

On a lighter note

  • Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.  Ann Landers
  • “Know thyself?” If I knew myself, I’d run away. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe