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Benjamin Franklin once said that the hardest things in this world are Steel, Diamonds, and Knowing One’s Self. He was not the first one, nor the only one, to talk about the difficulty of knowing one’s self. Socrates, who lived about four hundred years before Christ, also said that he did not know his own self, and therefore he wanted to spend his time and efforts in getting to know himself better, rather than trying to know more about other less-relevant matters, a pursuit which he considered ridiculous.

Is it really that hard to know one’s self? Or do humans pretend it is hard because they are afraid to come face-to-face with their true self? Perhaps they do not want to know anymore about themselves because the more the self-examination they do, the more they dislike what they see?

Kabir, an Indian mystic and saint from the fifteenth century, wrote in one of his poetic couplets that when he went in search of something bad, he could find nothing bad; but when he happened to look inwards (into his mind), then he found that nobody (or nothing) could be as bad as, or worse than, himself (or his mind)!

So, perhaps, understanding one’s self is difficult; or let us say, it is ‘deemed’ difficult. But if we cannot understand our own self so easily, what hopes could we have of understanding others any better?

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