There are many things you will do in your life that will serve to tell you all about yourself. Your struggles, how you handle stress and conflict, how you behave when inspired, excited, tempted, determined, or in love. I’d like to say that all you have to do is pay attention.
But there are the hidden things too, the nuances about yourself that you don’t see. There are ways that your behavior and your words have an untold effect on others. This is when a carefully selected interlocutor comes in.
An interlocutor is essentially a questioner, a man who stands in the middle.
Do you want to know the truth about yourself?
You will need to find someone whom you trust with your life and your ego. Someone who is willing and has the ability to listen to you attentively. Find someone who is honest and trusts you enough to tell you the truth.
Ask your questioner to tell you what they think of you.
Make them feel comfortable. Tell them why you want to have this conversation, and reassure them that you know some things will be hard to say and hard to hear. Perhaps you can compile a list of specific questions you’d like to ask them. Don’t interrupt when they are answering. Let them talk while you take it all in.
Through this illuminating and painful process you may find that you may have to do some damage control, work to correct your reputation, or regain trust.
Should this be a useful experience, ask them to act as interlocutor for you in the future. Tell them that you fully expect their brutal honesty when you need someone to check you.
You are giving this person a lot of power over you. If you are easily shaken, this tells you about yourself. Don’t get discouraged. From here, the only way us up. This is an important part of confronting yourself, acknowledging your shortcomings, and building a stronger and steadier inner man.
“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” Johannes Kepler
This isn’t easy, but it is necessary. We think and tell an unprecedented number of half-truths and outright lies about ourselves and others. We need to “cut the crap” so to speak, and stop living in the shadow of willing ignorance of ourselves.
Don’t walk this path of self-discovery alone. You may think letting others close during this process is too difficult, but by doing so you are forging bonds that will support you and give you purpose for the rest of your life.