When I was in high school I came up with four categories that helped me describe myself– Name, Occupation, Health, and Feelings. These categories are typically used to define how well you know someone, or even yourself. I used to give a ranking to each, but later threw it out because some do not deserve a scale from 1 to 10. Given all of the categories, you can use them to try to know yourself a bit better or even try it on someone you know to see how thoroughly you know someone.
- With name you are determining what you can identify about someone. Things like "What's your middle name", "Where did you go to school", "Where do you live", etc. This category is very tangible as everything you find you can point to and have some physical proof of. It is what most people think of as one's identity, and it is what people guard against when it comes to identity theft. It is interesting to note that many people tend to think that this is all there is to knowing someone because you are listing all of those interesting facts and figures about that person. This category is vast and never ending so there is no real way of quantifying it into a scale. It is a great way of proving to someone that you know them because you found that little tidbit that they thought you never knew.
- Most people, when they hear this category tend to think that it defines what you do for a living. This is far from the truth. What you do for a living can be identified through name (she was a hotel detective). Occupation is the way in which you interact with other people. You know a person through occupation by how you "relate" to them… what kind of personality do they have; how well do they get along with different types of people; what types of communication techniques do they use. Since this category is intangible, there is no way of objectively ranking it.
- With health, there are basically two types of health: Mental and Physical. I sometimes can include spiritual as well, but most people tend to group mental and spiritual as one. With Mental Health, you are looking to know how they are dealing with the world around them (are they stressed; are they depressed; are they having a great day, etc.) With Physical Health it is usually things that are tangible in nature (do they have a cold; are they dealing with a prolonged illness, etc.) Many people link the two together, and I agree that sometimes when you are not feeling physically well you tend to show it mentally/spiritually. Also, if you know that someone is ill, you try to cheer them up (Laughter is the best medicine).
- Many people confuse this category with mental health. But, the difference is that feelings are fleeting and mental health is more permanent in appearance. Feelings only identify your current state– are you happy; are you overjoyed, etc. This one is very hard to identify because it is internal and extremely intangible. Many times you empathize with someone and can feel what they are feeling and know them that way. This phenomenon ties closely with Spiritual Communication because you are connecting with the other person.
With all of these categories, I am now able to summarize how I know someone at any given moment. I am also able to build a better picture of anyone, including myself.