How to Get to Know Yourself
The question “Who am I?” can bring on a series of thoughts, emotions, and feelings, but what if you don’t know how to answer? Feeling lost or confused about who you are is more common than you may think, and we’re here to help you find all the answers you’re looking for. In this article, we’ll take you through different ways of getting to know yourself. By practicing self-awareness, exploring your personality, and fulfilling your needs, you can discover who you truly are and build a lasting relationship with yourself. So, what are you waiting for? We have an identity to find!
[Edit]Things You Should Know
- Question your thoughts, goals, and self-image to uncover how you view yourself.
- Determine your personality type through questionnaires to find your sense of self.
- Set boundaries for yourself to fulfill your wants, needs, relationships, and goals.
Be honest with yourself to learn about all aspects of your personality. Knowing yourself means recognizing different parts of your identity, personality, and being. The goal is not to criticize yourself but to acknowledge all sides of your personality. Open up to the possibility of learning new things about yourself.
- Pay attention to the things that make you feel uncomfortable. These emotional signals can tell you if you’re trying to avoid something. Are you insecure about that characteristic? If so, how can you overcome it?
- For example, if you don't like to look in the mirror, ask yourself why. Are you insecure about your looks? Are you worried about your age? This could be a fear you can conquer.
- Ask thoughtful questions about yourself and answer honestly. Pondering difficult personal questions and analyzing your answer can help you learn more about your interests, fears, and aspirations. Use what you learn from this activity to spend more time doing what you love and overcoming your fears. See how you respond to these questions:
- What do I love doing?
- What are my dreams?
- What do I want my legacy to be?
- What is my biggest criticism of myself?
- What are some mistakes I’ve made?
- How do others perceive me? How would I like them to perceive me?
- Who is my role model?
- Pay attention to your inner voice to understand your perceptions. Your inner voice expresses your feelings and beliefs, defining how you see yourself. When something frustrates or delights you, it responds. Try to tune into that voice. What’s it saying? How does it perceive the world around you?
- Go to the mirror and describe yourself out loud or in your head. Are the descriptions positive or negative? Are they focused on your looks or your actions?
- When you start thinking negatively, stop yourself and question why you’re reacting that way.
Write in a journal every day to process your thoughts and experiences. Journaling helps you recognize your motivations, emotions, and beliefs so that you can make thoughtful adjustments in your life. For a few minutes every day, write down what you did, felt, and thought throughout the day. If you had a negative experience, write down why it affected you. If you made a mistake, identify what you could do better.
- Look for patterns in your writing. Over time, you may find yourself repeating specific needs and wants.
- Write whatever is on your mind. Freewriting can help you unlock subconscious thoughts to help identify what’s bothering you.
- Alternatively, you can use prompts to guide your writing. Choose prompts that ask you to describe certain parts of your personality or habits.
Incorporate mindfulness into your day to live in the present moment. Mindfulness is the act of experiencing the present moment to help you understand your thoughts, actions, and motives. Most importantly, it's a state of attention to yourself and the world you’re experiencing. Practicing mindfulness can help you push aside distractions and check in with yourself even in the most hectic of times. Meditating and practicing yoga are both mindful activities, but being mindful can be incorporated into other parts of your daily routine. Check out these ways you can be more mindful:
- Pause and observe the world around you. What can you touch, taste, hear, see, and smell?
- Avoid eating meals at your computer or TV and focus on how the food taste and feels in your mouth.
- Take a walk and notice how the ground feels beneath your feet, where the sun is in the sky, and if birds are chirping.
- Question your body image to discover how you view yourself. Write a list of adjectives about the way you look. Are these negative or positive attributes? Can you rewrite the negative remarks in a more positive way? Confidence in your body can transfer to confidence in other parts of your life, so try to reframe hateful words into something loving.
- If you have the thought, “My thighs are too big,” reframe it with, “My legs are strong and carry me where I want to go.”
- If you think, “I weigh too much,” change the thought to, “Weight is just a number, and I am more than a number.”
[Edit]Exploring Your Personality
- Think about the roles you play in your life to better understand your priorities. Everybody plays multiple roles in their life based on their relationships, work responsibilities, and social interactions. Sit down and make a list of your roles, then circle which ones mean the most to you. This can help you set priorities and help you recognize who you are. Some examples of roles include:
- Team leader
- Emotional support
- Problem solver
- Analyze the 6 elements of your personality to discover a sense of self. The 6 key elements to self-knowledge are values, interests, temperament, activities, life goals, and strengths—also known as the acronym VITALS. Answer the questions below that correspond with each element. Then, take a close look at your answers. What do they say about you?
- Values: What is important to you? What characteristics do you prize in yourself and others?
- Interests: What are you curious about? What do you like to do in your free time?
- Temperament: What 10 words describe you best? How do you handle difficult situations or confrontations?
- Activities: What are the most and least enjoyable parts of your day? Do you have any daily rituals?
- Life goals: What have been the most important events of your life? Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Strengths: What are your abilities, skills, and talents? What are you really good at?
- Take an online personality test to categorize your personality. While personality tests are not necessarily scientific, they do ask questions that make you consider other aspects of your character. There are many reputable tests that you can take online, including:
- Invite commentary from others to better understand yourself. While you shouldn’t define yourself by what other people think or say, asking others for their opinion can help you understand things about yourself you may not have realized before. Start by asking loved ones how they would define your personality or characteristics. This can open up meaningful discussion and help you see yourself from someone else’s perspective.
- If you’re comfortable, ask your boss, mentor, or acquaintances about how they see you as an employee.
- If you disagree with anyone’s observations, that’s okay! Take every comment with a grain of salt, and acknowledge that you’re ever-evolving.
[Edit]Fulfilling Your Needs
- Practice self-care to manage stress. It can be hard to find time to reflect on yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally is essential to being the best version of you, so don’t forget to schedule time to do something for yourself. This can help you feel more at peace with life and yourself..
- Try to exercise for at least 20 minutes every day. Go for a walk after lunch or do a quick yoga flow before breakfast.
- Aim to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to wake up refreshed.
- Eat a healthy diet made up of unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Find time to relax and unwind. Try meditating, knitting, working on a puzzle, or reading a book.
- Create a good work-life balance to avoid burnout. Rather than taking work with you on the way home, leave it at the office door. Your worth doesn’t have to be defined by your job, and neither does your life. Take some time each day to focus on other goals, hobbies, and interests outside of work.
- Set boundaries with family, friends, and coworkers to ensure you maintain a healthy space at home and in the office.
Establish boundaries in your relationships to understand your limits. Ask yourself what types of situations make you feel uncomfortable. For example, do you dislike crowds? Are there certain jokes that unsettle you? Identifying painful triggers can help you cultivate an environment you’re happy and safe in.
- Consider if there’s anyone in your life who asks too much of you or makes you do things you don't want to. How far are you willing to go to please them?
- Be firm when setting boundaries, and don’t ever apologize for saying “no” to interactions or situations that may make you feel off—you know what’s best for you!
Set goals to give yourself something to achieve. Think about where you want to see yourself in 5 days, months, or years. What goals can you make to turn that vision into your reality? These goals don’t have to be big; they can be as simple as making the bed every morning. Write down your goals and refer to them whenever you feel lost, remembering to take each day one step at a time.
- For instance, maybe you want to write a book. Start a goal to write 500 words a day.
- Perhaps you want to make the largest cake for your nephew’s birthday. Set a goal to practice a new decorating skill every weekend.
- Your goals may change over time, and that’s perfectly okay! People change and grow with time, so don’t be afraid to alter your visions and follow new dreams.
- ↑ https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/what-self-awareness-how-can-you-cultivate-it-ncna1067721
- ↑ https://www.usa.edu/blog/self-discovery-questions/
- ↑ https://au.reachout.com/articles/how-to-become-self-aware
- ↑ https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1
- ↑ https://www.mindful.org/how-do-i-bring-more-mindfulness-into-my-life/
- ↑ http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/body-image.html#
- ↑ https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/a36387338/body-positive-self-talk-examples/
- ↑ https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2015/07/08/need-a-boost-in-confidence-identify-your-top-life-roles/#79b798921c97
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201603/looking-your-true-self-10-strategies-self-knowledge
- ↑ https://hbr.org/2015/02/5-ways-to-become-more-self-aware
- ↑ https://hbr.org/2015/02/5-ways-to-become-more-self-aware
- ↑ https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers/Taking-Care-of-Yourself
- ↑ https://hbr.org/2015/04/stop-trying-to-find-your-true-self-at-work
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-flux/201511/7-tips-create-healthy-boundaries-others
- ↑ https://www.depressioncenter.org/toolkit/i-want-stay-mentally-healthy/goal-setting