Know Thyself – Ways to Become Self-Aware

Know Thyself

You might agree that self-awareness is not a hot topic that interest many people, for various reasons, as pointed out on the first post of this self-awareness series. We naturally run on autopilot and as such, it’s a lot easier to get by that way than to spend time learning ourselves. But if self-awareness does interest you, this is the second in a three post series. Here are some tips on ways to become self-aware. 

First, some benefits of being self-aware:

  1. More appreciation and respect for yourself – being self-aware means that you understand your motives, you know why you function the way you do, and this gives you confidence to be yourself.
  2. Be better equipped to make decisions – because you have a clear understanding of who you are, you generally know which decisions are better suited for you. You know which you can handle emotionally, and whether or not you can live with those decisions in the future (keyword: generally).
  3. Gain emotional intelligence – according to Daniel Goleman, self-awareness is a component of emotional intelligence.
  4. Enjoy a better quality of life – you know who you are and where you want to be, which in turn means you should be doing more of what brings you joy (keyword: should).
  5. Better equipped to give of yourself to others – when you have a deep knowledge/understanding of yourself, you know how to better serve others. You understand your limitations and you accept them as such.

And now, ways to become self-aware:

1.  Understand Your Identity Formation

Sometimes, it’s much easier to go with the flow instead of spending some quality time with oneself. Could this be the reason why many, especially young people, struggle with self-identity, self-esteem, peer pressure, etc? If we don’t understand who we are, and are running on auto pilot (as supported on the previous related post), then we tend to misinterpret our minds and get confused in the process.

Psychologist Shahram Heshmat Ph.D., states that “Three goals are required for the task of identity formation.” He explains each one in detail in his article, but in short, they are as follows:

  • Discover and develop your potential.
  • Choose your purpose in life.
  • Find opportunities to implement your potential and purpose.

Heshmat’s list requires purposeful self-research, followed by decisive actions. It creates a way for us to find certainty and purpose. By going through that process, you should learn what drives you.

2.  Evaluate Your Priorities

What things are important in your life in the following areas; family, relationship, career, networking, friendships, etc.? What/who makes you want to be a better person? If you learn what your priorities are, you learn what your values, motives, and goals are. This will give you a better understanding of why you do the things you do.

3.  Learn to see Yourself and Your Life as They ARE, Not What You WISH They Were

You might say this is what self-awareness actually is, to see yourself and your life as they are. But I point this out because I think it takes a concentrated effort to do this. It’s amazing to me how we go about our lives and define it the way they are in our minds, not in reality. In other words, we don’t act according to the way we want to be, or want to portray to others. Some people think they are fair, when they are very much biased. Some think they are honest, when they only give the impression to be. Some think they hard workers when they only do the absolute minimum.

4.  Practice Self-Reflection

This requires that you think with focused and intended purpose, meaning that you should think with an objective in mind. As an analytical thinker and an introvert, this is quite natural for me. The driving force in my blog is finding balance between my mind and my life so I don’t fully subscribe to that idea that I am my thoughts, but that’s a post for another day. Beverly D. Flaxington, an expert in human behavior among other things, wrote an article about what self-reflection is and is not, and some helpful tips.

5.  Compare Yourself to the Person You Were, and to the Person You Are Working to Become

Your values and goals are not that of your friends, co-workers, celebrities, etc. so don’t compare yourself to them. Measure your growth according to where you’ve been and where you’re headed in your journey. Do this in a healthy way, meaning that the idea is to measure your growth, not dwell on the past. This should give you clarity on your improvement.

6.  The 5W’s and 1H of learning yourself

It is said that if you ask the 5W’s (and 1H) in a situation/problem, you should get the full story. You should get a lot of answers from items one to five above, but you can also ask yourself specific questions. Learn to ask self-reflecting questions that will help you identify the real you. Here are some examples:

Who: Who am I? Who do I want to be? Who influences me? Who do I look up to? Who do I seek advice from? Who has access to my life?

What: What are my motives? What affects me emotionally? What impact do I want to have on others? What do I want others to see in me? What does my countenance say about me? What are my beliefs? What are my strengths and weaknesses?

When: When someone thinks about me, do I want them to smile or frown? When do I want to start making a change? When should I follow my heart vs. my mind?

Where: Where do I see myself in 3, 5, 10 years from now? Where do I stand on important issues? Where am I, spiritually? Where does my happiness lie?

Why: Why do I act the way I do? Why is it important to be myself? Why does self-awareness, and having confidence matter to me?

How: How do I affect others with the way I act? How do others see me? How can I practice being myself every day? How do I know I’m growing? How does God fit into my life?

As a final thought, be honest with yourself and observe your actions regularly.

Be sure to follow the blog and check out the first and third parts of this self-awareness series:

Self-awareness – Signs You’re Not Self-AwareKnow Thyself – Simple Ways to Practice Self-AwarenessWhat are some things you have done or are doing to become self-aware? Please comment below.


Judy Dove

“Know Thyself”


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