By Dr. Peter M. Kalellis

An ancient Greek axiom says, “Get deeper into yourself and learn from yourself what you must do.” Amazing feelings of peace and joy come by following the inner path and listening to our inner self—the heart’s voice.

To know our inner self is to understand our life’s purpose meaning motivation, visions, and values. Life can be cherished every moment, as we hear the inner voice with the ears of faith. Trusting your inner self leads to a positive path and great opportunities for a better life. Even if you do not have full clarity of what your inner self is, it is likely that certain aspects of inner self are already exhibited on a day-to-day basis through your perceptions of your personality.

As you and I follow the inner path and listen to our heart’s voice, we discover who we truly are. Depending on our character this voice will either encourage or discourage us. This is the inner voice that easily controls a significant part of our emotional wellness and our self-esteem.

How well do you know your inner self, your soul, the invisible part that keeps you alive? How aware are you of your many personal characteristics? Are you content with who you are? Your self-growth and the success of your efforts for a better life are entirely dependent on how well you know your inner self.

I’m asking questions which you may have a difficulty answering. In my personal development, I do ask similar questions. Probably, because no matter how much self-exploration I have made, there is not a day that I do not ask myself questions pertinent to my self-image, to my self-growth and to what is my purpose in this life. My personal goal is to attain a higher degree of self-understanding and character improvement.

Now if you want to know about yourself—your inner self—observe how you feel when nobody is watching you. It is where your most profound thoughts live. It is what you ultimately think of yourself, how you treat yourself, how you love and respect yourself, and what you fear others might see in you.

We always have this fear. The fear of showing our real self, the fear of being exposed, the fear of being rejected for who we are. This is because on top of our true selves, we’ve always had some positive or negative layers of our personality—and as we go through our lives, these layers keep adding up.

We all have pleasant or unpleasant layers of personality for various reasons. Not all the layers serve in making us look better in someone else’s eyes. Sometimes we need these layers to feel (or appear) less vulnerable to others. Quite often people add negative layers merely to hide how weak or fragile they are. But it’s important to stay conscious about having few sides to our personality, and even more important to learn how to skip some of these layers and avoid their demonstration.

You can probably remember the times where you could speak or act freely, without any fears regarding the impact your behavior may have on others. Do you remember how good you felt back then? Figure out what exactly has changed since then? Luckily, there is still time to revert some of these changes.

No matter what you’re working on, focus on giving it value, and not on what impression you’re going to make. Forget about people who might find your questions or actions silly. Focus on the people who will benefit from your efforts, and how exactly they’re going to appreciate the value. There are many situations when doing something conflicts with your inner feelings or thoughts. Get into the habit of analyzing such conditions. Quite often we conflict with our principles for the sake of looking good or making some progress. That’s why it is essential always to make sure you know if such a sacrifice is really necessary.

This is probably the most crucial aspect of staying in peace with yourself. If you don’t respect what’s essential for you in the long term, you’re putting yourself at risk of becoming a victim to other situations and people who will manipulate you. Yes, it’s always good for you to give value to others, but you should avoid doing it at the expense of your own goals and values. In this sense, there couldn’t be anything more natural than to follow the inner path and live your life honestly.

Most of us continually get carried away from ourselves on the wings of worries and fears, hopes and dreams, visions of a future yet to come and a past that is long gone. The wings of the mind carry us further and further away. This is how we ignore who we are. This is why we need to be reminded of our inner self, even though it is always with us and has never left. Without this inner “remembrance” we quickly forget our real destiny. We forget who we are and what our purpose in life is.

There is so much about us, so much courage, natural intelligence, and potential that lies just beyond the boundaries of our worries and fears. Just beyond the boundaries of the worst nightmares the mind can conjure, lies an immense peace. The true inner self is beyond even the most positive thinking we can ever hope to muster. It is real—beyond imagination or thought. Perhaps even more accurately speaking, it is before imagination and thinking ever take place.