A lot of people lack the self-awareness to answer the following questions: Who are you when no one else is around? Where do you feel most comfortable and what situation makes your skin crawl? Do you know why this is the case? Do you understand yourself and why you are the way you are?
Sometimes we don’t need a profound reason why we are the way we are. But a deep understanding of ourselves is crucial for our happiness. When we understand ourselves we can avoid stress as much as possible. When we understand our triggers we can erect boundaries. When we have self-knowing we can choose joy and surround ourselves with nourishing connections.
Understanding ourselves is key to our happiness. It's time to stop following the crowd and going along with the masses. Read on to discover how you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
Do you really know yourself?
Have a thought about the following questions.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Describe your perfect day?
- Who are your 6 fantasy dinner date guests?
- What makes you laugh?
- What are you scared of?
If you can answer these questions with ease, then chances are you have a good idea of who you are. If you are struggling, then maybe you need to be a little more mindful and self-aware as you go about your business.
It’s difficult, as human beings are social creatures.
From a young age, we seek security and safety in a group. Very often we adopt the characteristics of a group in order to fit in. This may be as simple as our food choices or as impactful as our vaccination habits.
Are the music you are listening to and the clothes you are wearing based on your own choice or is it purely to help you fit in? Is the car you are driving for external approval? Is the book you are reading to help you keep in with friends or are you genuinely enjoying it?
Are your opinions your own, or have you been influenced by others?
Discerning if we are acting authentically or for the benefit of our peers is an important step in understanding ourselves.
The benefits of understanding yourself
When we find a deeper understanding of ourselves we invite a number of benefits into our life. This includes greater self-esteem and levels of pride.
Understanding ourselves also helps us show ourselves more compassion. We are kinder to ourselves and make decisions based on our level of understanding of our likes and dislikes and our interests.
It’s very simple. The greater our understanding of ourselves, the greater our self-confidence.
5 ways to understand yourself better
For the last few years, I have been on a mission to find a stronger connection with myself. My yearning is to find self-acceptance and in order to do this, I need to find a deeper understanding of myself. I want to show myself love and compassion.
I am working tirelessly on reducing my people-pleasing skills. I am placing my time and energy in people and places that my heart lights up for. I am learning to say “no” to people and places that my heart wilts for.
This is not an easy process. But when we have a greater understanding of ourselves, we live a more authentic life. This brings a richer fulfillment in all areas of life.
Here are 5 ways you can find a deeper understanding of yourself.
1. Identify your morals and values
Identifying our own morals and values is an essential part of understanding ourselves.
Consider your political allegiance. Reflect on your religious standing. What do you think about some of the big issues in the world today? What charities do you support? How do you feel about gun laws, testing on animals, or abortion?
These are big issues and will help you figure out where you stand morally. They may also help you identify your values.
2. Develop your self-awareness
According to this article, we have internal and external self-awareness. An internal self-awareness includes knowledge of our morals and values as stipulated above.
Our external self-awareness is how we recognize we are perceived by others.
Do you know how you come across to others? You may think you are fun and jovial, whereas your nearest and dearest may find you abrasive and rude.
How do people respond to you? How effective is your communication?
Have some honest conversations with friends and family. Do you portray your real self to the outside world?
3. Listen to your gut
When you get a message from someone you are purposefully untangling from, your heart no longer jumps for joy. Rather, there is a little dark cloud or a momentary sense of discomfort. Listen to your gut. If you feel “meh” about someone or something, then don’t indulge in it.
If you feel a sense of dread about going to a party, then don’t go. If you spend half your energy on people and things who don’t bring you joy, you will be exhausted and in turn, become insincere.
Be honest, do you even like who you are when you are with people or in situations that suffocate you? Listen to your gut. It will help direct you to a deeper understanding of yourself.
4. Engage in therapy
We all have blind spots. We may be repeating cycles of harmful behavior. We may have past trauma we haven’t come to terms with yet. Whatever our history, therapy is a sure way to help us understand ourselves.
Remember, it is important that you feel comfortable with your therapist. If you don’t like them, find a new therapist. Engage with the process and embrace it. If you only give half of yourself to the therapeutic process, you will only receive half of the benefits.
5. Find acceptance
Once you find yourself in a place of self-knowing, accept it. Recognize yourself for who you are and learn to be happy with who you are.
Don’t force yourself into situations that leave you anxious. Accept your limitations and embrace your strengths. Do more of what you enjoy and what brings you energy and joy.
Even if it turns out you aren’t the person you thought you were, you will find greater peace by living authentically and accepting yourself rather than trying to live a lie.
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It’s not just about understanding ourselves, it’s about acting in accordance with this. Understing yourself is about inviting happiness into your life and avoiding people and circumstances that no longer bring you joy.
Do you have a good understanding of yourself and who you are? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!