How well do any of us know ourselves, really? People are like onions. We have layer upon layer upon layer upon layer until we get right down to the heart of a person. We can think of these layers as circles of privacy and as we move deeper through the layers of the onion we get to levels where there are things about ourselves that even we don't know, are conscious of, yet.
Moving down to the deeper recesses of ourselves can be a frightening experience for people. They have repressed long ago forbidden feelings or experiences that they would very much like to forget because they were so painful or there is a tremendous fear of their causing pain.
Perhaps the biggest fear that we have is shame. We tremble at the realization of our inadequacies, our defects. We live in fear that others might find out or we, ourselves, might come to awareness, that we are defective in some way. To be subjected to ridicule, scorn, criticism, rejection, and abandonment is one of the most painful experiences that humans experience. We avoid it at all cost turning ouselves into somebody we aren't and trying to save face, project a pretense, and create a false self which, over time, leads us to disconnect from our authentic self and loose touch with and forget who we really are.
At our core we are a piece of the Divine spark. We are precious diamonds encrusted in dirt, slag, and shit. This is hard to believe for most of us, but we have to remind ourselves that it must be true because God doesn't make junk.
In the spiritual life we are aware that the path to this divine spark within is forgiveness. It is in forgiving ourselves and others that we chip aware the dirt, slag, and shit, and allow the brilliance to shine through. As the old spiritual says, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." We can let it shine when we once again uncover the spark. Are you aware of your light?