I have always believed we needed three things in order to see ourselves clearly. First, we need feedback from others on what we are saying and doing. This is best illustrated in how a little child comes to know himself. He speaks and acts and his parents/family tell him by their body language whether they like him or don’t like him, whether they approve,or don’t approve of him, whether they see him as doing good or doing bad, and whether he is cherished or not by those he comes in contact with. Hopefully he grows up with people who can be fair and accepting of his good qualities as well as his bad ones. When that isn’t the case, he has major hurdles ahead of him about how he sees himself. This is a process that happens over a period of time. It does not happen quickly. Response after response has to occur for those messages about himself to take root. These responses need to be constant.
Second, we need to be able to look inside ourselves and discover our intentions and motivations for doing things and saying things. We need to have the courage to look at those things we would rather hide from ourselves and others. We call this introspection. We cannot know who we are without taking an honest look. When we come from an abusive background, this can be hard to do if we have received strong negative messages from past loved ones. They sometimes get in the way of us making a fair assessment of ourselves.
Third, we need to stay in contact with God through prayer, through reading the scriptures, and we need to tap into our spiritual selves in order to understand the struggle between our human self and our spiritual self. God’s view of us takes precedence over the other two views. He can help us and guide us when all else fails. If we believe in Him, He will tell us what we need to do. God, ourselves, and others are truly needed in order to see ourselves more clearly.