I’m constantly surprised by how little we know ourselves.
I thought about it yesterday when I ordered my Jimmy John’s sandwich: the Bootlegger Club with no tomatoes, add cheese. The funny thing is, I used to get a Turkey Tom with no mayonnaise add sprouts. Until I tasted mayonnaise; then I kept the mayonnaise on it. And then at work the orders got messed up and I ended up with a Bootlegger club instead. And I liked it better. And then one of my Facebook friends posted about her favorite sandwich being the Bootlegger club without tomatoes add cheese and I thought I should give that variation a try. I’ve just been discovering lately that I’m not all that thrilled about tomatoes. And now, instead of kind of liking Jimmy John’s, I crave it. Because now I’ve found what I love. I didn’t know before.
Before I ever having a boyfriend, I thought I liked blonds. Now I can spot “my type” (how I hate that phrase!) from a mile away: crooked smile, dark hair, scruffy face, dimple a plus. Before buying a car, I thought I’d want a yellow one. I know people are always changing and evolving, but we don’t know what kind of car we will want until we have a driver’s license and the money it costs to buy one. We don’t know how we will react to a situation until it arises. And each time something new happens, we learn a little more about ourselves: that elusive mystery we live with every day.
You would think knowing yourself would be the easiest person to understand, when in fact, it’s the most complex. You can not see yourself objectively or judge yourself on one simple distinguishing characteristic; that is reserved for other people. For ourselves, we assume we have the answers even though the questions were never asked. There is this book that I own that I have bought for a few people who share my love of lists:
It asks questions that would seem so basic, but many of them I had never thought of since I hadn’t been asked. My favorite part about it is picking it up each year and adding to the lists and laughing at what I wrote before. And somewhere between all the lines, there is who I am.
Today, I read the page entitled, “my character flaws.” My answers read: impatient, quick to become irrational, judgmental. There are many more lines to go, but the day I wrote these, I was being kind to myself. And looking back years later, I realize some things I do know about myself. The glaringly obvious facts that people are always pointing out to me. But I wonder if I hadn’t heard it from so many people if I would even recognize these in myself.
Probably not. Like I said, I’m constantly surprised by how little I know myself.