The Dangers of Knowing Yourself

and how to avoid them.


For as long as I can recall, I have been very interested and motivated to find or know myself.

From the quizzes on social media telling you which character in a popular TV show or Movie you are to some serious efforts like and philosophical books about exploring myself.

So here are some true or hypothetical points about me:

  • I am a software developer
  • I am a writer on Medium
  • I am an Indian
  • I am an introvert
  • I am part of this religious group
  • I prefer coffee over tea
  • I like the black color

Now, what’s wrong with this?

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash
  • What if I make a mistake at my work or get a bad response on my post? I am horrible at my work, I am not a good engineer or I am not going to be a good writer.
  • What if I am feeling like going out and bored of spending time in my room and feel like talking a lot, but I will end up avoiding it or in a more subtle way, will discourage this behavior or make the choices that I know an introvert is supposed to make.
  • What if I had lemon tea and liked it more than coffee. Do I switch sides or forget about it and continue with my coffee?
  • What if I do not like one thing happening my social group, do I criticize it or will I be marked as inclined towards the other group and ostracized. I wouldn’t want that because I like my group, for the most part, that’s who I am !!

With each conscious choice to act according to what we are classified as, we are imposing that category on ourself or protecting our place in the category at the cost of a new experience or our true desire.

The more we research about who we are, if we are not careful, the more we will find ourselves getting categorized in one of the multiple options available for each category.

And there are some categories that we use to introduce ourselves (our job for instance or what we are studying).

These are all good to start a conversation or to learn about various classification, but we need to realize that:

We are not inanimate objects who once put in a category will remain there.

Maybe I was feeling like staying alone at home yesterday but I might feel like going out and hang out with people and meet some new people tonight.

Maybe I had a bad day and could not perform well in a given task but I will keep improving if I put effort or I can even end up with new interests in my thirties and change my job.

The problem is not with categorization, it is to help us sort things easily and group certain items together based on what we observe at a given moment.

But it is our responsibility to not put permanent tags on ourselves as well as on the people around us and to enjoy who we are today instead of limiting ourselves with what we were tagged as in the past.

This brings to me to the end of the post. If you like it, please clap to help others find it.