“You cannot experience yourself as what you are until you’ve encountered what you are not”
– Neale Donald Walsch
Actor James Baldwin once said, “I have encountered a lot of people in Europe, I have even encountered myself”. It raises the question, have you encountered yourself?
To encounter means to meet by surprise or unexpectedly, amongst other meanings. When was the last time you experienced that type of surprise meeting with yourself?
Have you been in a situation where you found out you liked something you didn’t think you would enjoy?
You may try new food, or a new sport. Maybe started a new hobby? When this happens without you orchestrating the situation, you are encountering yourself. Many people stay in their comfort zones, and rarely find themselves in a situation where they are challenged by encountering themselves in an unexpected or surprising way.
As a personal challenge, take time to do something different today.
Take a walk on the beach or through the forest and use your senses to experience the sights, smells and tastes around you. Walk slowly and keep a journal close.
Allow yourself time to experience things you may usually take for granted and write down the things that you are starting to become aware of. Write about the way they impact you and if they bring back memories or other significant thoughts, write them down as well.
If you are taking a journey of self-discovery, encountering yourself is the first step to learning about the person you are. Another meaning of encounter relates to conflict and confrontation.
Much of the time we prefer not to confront ourselves and we certainly don’t want to know the inner conflict, but for self-discovery to be successful, we must be willing to consider even the inner conflicts we have constantly raging inside us. We must be willing to confront the unjustifiable fears and assumptions we make often with no reason.