#AtoZChallenge - 2018 and U for Understand yourself in order to better understand others
Photo by Katie Treadway on Unsplash


The next letter of my A to Zen of Life (via the Dalai Lama) is for Understand yourself in order to better understand others. For me this all comes back to being your authentic self. If you are true to who you are, if you take responsibility for your thoughts and actions, then you have a clearer perspective on the world and the people you encounter.


People who don't take time to know themselves end up projecting their problems onto others. They put the key to their happiness in other people's pockets and wonder why they aren't living the life they had hoped for. You can't have room in your heart for the needs of others if you haven't found peace in your own life.

If you are constantly seeking affirmation and you aren't sure of who you are or what you stand for, then how can you invest into the lives of others? If you are needy and clingy and always looking to friends and family to be propped up, then you will never be the person you are capable of becoming - you'll always be a shadow of who you could be.


After a while people get tired of propping up those who haven't taken responsibility for themselves. They get fed up with bailing them out of the problems they create, they don't want to hear the excuses and the whining, they don't want to have to praise and pat you all the time. Your value as a friend diminishes in direct proportion to the amount of neediness you display. 

Know yourself. Be yourself. Love yourself. Seek goodness and be goodness.

Friendship is give and take, you need to be in a secure place and understand your own motives and values to be able to understand what your friends need. If you are constantly up and down, waivering over every decision, unsure of who you are and what is important to you, then you will never have the depth of character to be able to help a friend when they are in crisis. You won't even have enough emotional energy to invest in other people who are just doing life and wanting to connect.


We all need to invest in ourselves, step up and own who we are and take responsibility for our own happiness and where we are going in life. A person who is secure in themselves is open to investing in other people - they have the ability to pour into another person's life, rather than sucking people dry.


Are you certain of who you are and what you want? Are you true to yourself and your values? Have you got the time and space to invest into the lives of others?

#AtoZChallenge - 2018 and U for Understand yourself in order to better understand others

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#AtoZChallenge - 2018 and I'm tackling the A to Zen of Life (via the Dalai Lama)


  1. Hi, Leanne - I agree that the secret to better understanding others is to have taken the time to understand our authentic selves, and to be comfortable in our own skin. Thank you for another very insightful post.

  2. It is true that understanding ourselves is the way to grow. I like the connection you made with understanding our own motives and becoming our authentic selves. Retirementreflections has said it and i want to reiterate - another insightful post.

  3. I feel I am coming closer to knowing mySelf understanding my needs motives and patterns and also aware that there is no final Me.I am a work in progress, a formless warrior navigating a life on earth so I give mySelf lots of room to Be to uncover this mystery that I am. I have reached the space of loving attention to mySelf - investing within my journey as you wisely put it. and I have all the time in the world to assist family and friends in their endeavours if and when a need arises but this has come after a serious pruning . terrific understanding leanne...

  4. So often as a wife and mother I put myself last that I hit a point where I was not very happy. It took me a while to realize that it was okay for me to think of myself occasionally! This is a good lesson.

    Janet’s Smiles

  5. Back in my school days we had a word for people who needed to be propped up- Desperate. It was a sure way to repel others. It's sad, because it becomes a vicious cycle. Someone called us tonight and my husband couldn't get her off the phone. Even though she is a nice lady, she is so needy that it's exhausting. I thought about how she is the kind of person caller ID was invented for. Then I thought about how sad it is that this person who really needs to feel better about herself alienates others. The only way to stop the cycle is to feel comfortable in your own skin.
    Facing Cancer with Grace

  6. Well we have done it again, Leanne. We are on the same wavelength. Understanding who we are is so important because it can affect our relationships and not just ourselves. xx

  7. I did respond already Leanne but I don't see it. Now I'm not sure if it's gone to moderation or if I didn't publish it! I find if fascinating that Sue, you and I have all gone with the same word! Let's see if we do it again during these tough letters. Super post!

  8. Although you, Sue and Shirley have written on the same topic (and me when we get to Z), I appreciate the different perspectives each has brought to the discussion.
    I so agree with your assessment that needy people are lacking self-understanding and that their search for validation is repellant to others. That's a really good point. Thanks for an insightful post.

  9. Hari OM
    Understanding. One of those words we 'think' we understand until it gets tested! Great post. Self-work never really stops, but it cetainly blossoms when we get to the point of properly knowing ourselves. You are so correct about not being able to prop if needing propped oneself! YAM xx

  10. Being your authentic self also leads to richer and deeper friendships because you are more in-tune to who you are and who you want around you. I think understand yourself is something that improves as we age too. I know I've gotten better at it. Weekends In Maine

  11. I think my latest post goes along with this...if we know ourselves then we also know we are "enough"...and enough to help others and invest in them...I do try to always help my friends and family in any ways I can and lift them up...

  12. Invest in yourself first, is a great mantra. You need to be your own hero. Nobody else is going to do it for you. A very thought provocative article.

    Seema, participant in #AtoZchallenge, Artist, Writer, Wanderer, and Dreamer.
    Under the Ladakhi Stars – Raku House

  13. This is a good reminder to myself who at times slides backward demanding the support of those I love the most ~ husband, sister, friends. Most of the time I am strong and aware of my own motives but when life bats you down I notice how I depend on others to hold me up. Great post, perfect timing, invest in thyself. xxoo

  14. It's all about finding the balance isn't it? Great post! Thanks! Melanie's Stories

  15. It took some therapy years ago, but I know I understand myself a lot better now than 15 years ago. Alana ramblineitham.blogspot.com

  16. always figured that I needed to keep my vessel full so I could fill others. Not to spend all my time in thinking just of me, but enough time that I felt good about myself.

  17. You wrote: "We all need to invest in ourselves, step up and own who we are and take responsibility for our own happiness." That is SO true. My life changed for the better; and I had a renewed focus on service and making a positive difference in the world when I did exactly what you wrote about.


  18. I know what I want and even better what I don't want - much to my husband's grief ;-)))

    While as a kid, teenager and young adult I liked to think that friendships were forever I had to learn that you have to let go of some people who drain you out. For me those weren't the ones who were taking advantage of me, be it for listening, complying with their needs or for driving.

    If you asked my surroundings about me you'd probably hear "she can become distant" - which is true. The more pressure I experience, be it time-wise or emotionally, the more I withdraw from everything and everybody.

  19. This reminds me of one of my favorites: "Take care of yourself. You can't pour from an empty cup."


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