How to Know Yourself

Ancient wisdom is the importance of knowing yourself.

Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, was already saying “Know yourself” . The maxim has become popular over time and remains more current than ever.

Self-knowledge is at the heart of any personal development work. And to develop in the areas that matter to us, we first need to know where we are.

Developing self-knowledge means being more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, your emotions, your personality, your beliefs and motivations.

Self-knowledge work can help to change the way you act for better results.

For example, let’s say you have a difficult relationship with someone in the family. An examination of yourself about what emotions the situation is causing can shed light on why you are reacting the way you do.

With that, you can try to learn to deal better with these emotions and, consequently, change your way of reacting.

Self-knowledge is useful in all aspects of life. In your career, it allows you to develop as a professional.

For example, you may think you are an excellent leader, but you are actually being seen as an arrogant person by others. Without awareness of the issue, you will not change and your career will suffer the consequences.

Here are some self-knowledge techniques to help with this work.

  1. Do self-reflection

The first way to know yourself is to devote time regularly to self-reflection.

Ask yourself self-awareness questions like:

– What are my strengths? Positivity, leadership, humor, resilience … Remember episodes that demonstrate these strengths.
– What are my weaknesses? What are my personal characteristics that need to improve?
– What are my personal values? In which episodes of my life did I demonstrate these values ​​and in which I did the opposite?
– What are the important things for me? What am I doing in this regard?

  1. Write your reflections

Writing has several benefits in this process.

It helps to organize thinking and put out what you are thinking. Therefore, in addition to helping in the self-knowledge process itself, it also becomes a relaxing activity.

It also allows you to keep a history that you can consult in the future and see how it has developed in the different themes.

And if you think that keeping a diary is a teenager thing, know that the great Roman emperor Marco Aurélio did that.

The diaries with their reflections were compiled in a book called Meditations where it is possible to follow what the emperor learned from different people and episodes in his life.

There are several pearls of wisdom in these texts.

  1. Understand your emotional triggers

Emotions are an essential part of being human and the events that happen throughout the day generate different emotions.

It can be anger, sadness, enthusiasm, joy, fear, insecurity, confidence …

The point is that the vast majority of people experience these emotions automatically. They feel the emotion that arises from moment to moment, then the next and so on without ever stopping to reflect on why they are reacting this way.

Developing emotional self-knowledge requires intentional work to try to better understand your emotions and how to deal with them better .

For this, whenever you can try to reflect on why you are feeling that emotion at the moment. What caused that feeling in you.

And if it is an emotion that is not helping, sadness for example, how can you reinterpret reality to change it to something more positive.

  1. Employ self-knowledge tools

There are some tools that you can use for self-analysis.

For example, a very famous personality test is Myers Briggs . It allows you to identify your personality profile according to the model.

This is a famous and widely accepted model that can give you a good indicator.

Additionally, you end up getting to know other existing personality types and this helps you learn to understand other people better too.

  1. Collect feedback from others

An excellent self-knowledge tool is to collect other people’s feedback about you.

This basically means asking others for their opinion on how they perceive you.

It may be that you see yourself in a completely different way than others see you.

Collecting this opinion from those who are closest to your life and living with you on a daily basis can bring you information about yourself that you never imagined.

Request this feedback in the different environments in which you live. Family, friends and work.

Invite the person to a private conversation and ask them for an honest opinion about what they think of you.

Say that she can name your qualities if you want, but that you are mainly interested in what she sees as your opportunities for improvement.

It is important to make it clear that you will not be bothered by a sincere opinion. So you make the person more comfortable to give you true feedback that, by the way, is what really interests you.

And when she speaks, don’t try to react by justifying yourself. Just listen, ask more to understand and take it to reflect later.

A negative reaction at the moment will close the communication channel with those who are providing feedback, putting the exercise down the drain. The most important thing about this process is listening without reacting.

If you want you can use an existing feedback framework.

There is a very interesting one that I learned in a company I worked for.
In English it calls: What you should start, stop and continue doing?

You invite a colleague to a meeting in which each one must answer three questions about the other:
– What should you start doing?
– What should you stop doing?
– What should you keep doing?

The first question shows what in the other person’s opinion you should start doing and are not yet doing.

The second shows what you should stop doing because it is bothering or disturbing you in some way.

Finally, the third question shows what you are doing that is positive and helps in the opinion of the colleague.

Perhaps the colleague is not prepared to hear your feedback about him. So, for starters it may be more interesting to just ask for his feedback on you and if he is interested in knowing your opinion about him, let him ask for it too.

  1. Try new experiences

Our tendency is to stay in our comfort zone. Do what is easy for us.

But that does not contribute much to our growth. Doing different things that we are not used to will show ourselves a little bit about how we are and bring learning.

For example, if you have never acted as a leader, you can try to establish leadership in some initiative in the company where you work. With that you will be able to know about your ability to perform in this skill.

In the same way you can choose many other experiences that are different for you and that can serve as self-knowledge activities, such as taking a trip alone.

  1. Use professional help

If self-knowledge alone is not enough, there is always the possibility of seeking specialized help. Some professionals like a psychologist or coach can help in this process.

The self-knowledge process is an important element of personal development. It brings awareness of what you master most easily and where you need to put effort to evolve.

This is not a quick job. It is a constant work that happens for a lifetime and that can contribute immensely to our development as a human being and maturity as a person.

Consequently, it allows us to evolve as a person, get the best out of life and achieve more personal fulfillment.