It’s so vague. I mean, if you’re going to give wisdom like that, you’d better give specifics. What does knowing yourself even accomplish? If anything it makes you rigid, building up a perception of who you are, as something fixed. And then everyone expects you to be this person you aren’t even sure you are.
Know thyself. I know I prefer vanilla to chocolate, except when I don’t. The other day, in fact, I walked into a shoppe and asked for a single scoop of their extra dark chocolate, adding almonds, mini marshmellows, and heathbar. Why is it important to know who we are? There are so many books, articles, stories out there, culminating with this floaty, "And then I got to truly know myself," as if it’s this ultimate kernel we should all hope we can attain.
Although it’s vague, "Follow your gut," makes more sense. "Follow your bliss" I get. "Trust your instincts." Without reason or a way to articulate it, we know it’s okay, encouraged really, to react and follow our instincts–we know it because it’s a specific feeling, despite "instinct," and the feeling associated with it, being kind of up in the air. But know thyself?
Know what I’m like when I’m angry, tired, or hungry? Why? So I know what to work on? And how does one set out on a mission to know thyself anyway? I hear it all the time. "I’m going to take time and get to know myself." Really, what they’re saying is, I care too much what people think, and I need to figure out what I think. How do I like my eggs or take my coffee, really, when you’re not around to influence me. If it were just me, would I still be here, doing this?
I think "know thyself"–aside from possibly being a direction to get to know yourself in an effort to really learn more about human behavior in general–really just means, don’t lose yourself. Know it yourself. Know what you’re doing, why you’re making the choices you are, know these things yourself, without someone else elbowing their way into your decisions.