Self-knowledge: here are 10 Methods for getting to know yourself better

Self-knowledge is a “talent” that each of us can learn to improve with the right exercises and habits.

Are there parts of your life or personality that you don’t seem to be able to understand? Do some of your behaviours seem to recur despite the negative results you get every time?

Self-knowledge is a person’s knowledge of their spiritual and psychological abilities. It is the knowledge that we acquire throughout our lives through our experiences. 

Self-knowledge means that you are used to paying attention to the way you think, feel and behave. 

When you want to develop your self-knowledge, you look for the thought patterns you have created. How do you perceive the world?

It also means that you want to understand your own emotions and moods. Instead of trying to avoid or “fix” what you feel, you observe and remain curious about your emotions, even the most difficult and uncomfortable ones.

Self-knowledge is paying attention to how you tend to act and behave in certain situations.

What are your default reactions to specific events? What are your habits and quirks?

In short, self-knowledge means that you need to be attentive/attentive to your own psychology in order to learn more about yourself.

Developing self-knowledge

There are 10 techniques that will allow you to work on your self-knowledge. The aim here is to make a personal development that will bring you more positive things in your life.

1-What bothers you about others?

Often the things that irritate us most in others reflect a quality we don’t like about ourselves.

So whenever someone does something that seems to bother or irritate you particularly, ask yourself: is it a defect that I have and that irritates me?

Self-knowledge is an awareness of your flaws and your limits.

2-Meditate on your mind!

You have probably heard about meditation of consciousness. It is a simple practice that involves keeping your attention focused on your breathing or some other physical sensation.

Then, if you notice that your mind wanders to other thoughts, you gently bring your attention back to your point of concentration.

Meditation is essential for self-knowledge because it helps you to learn more about how your thoughts work.

Too often we lack self-knowledge because we think too much.

3- Identify your cognitive distortions.

Cognitive distortions are inaccurate thoughts and beliefs that distort the way you see things, including yourself.

If you can learn to identify these inaccurate thinking patterns, you can develop your self-knowledge and feel better.

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4-Make a chronology of your life.

Starting with your birth, write down the milestones of your life along the timeline. Specifically, the events that have had a great impact on you, either positive or negative.

This technique for developing your self-awareness can help you to give meaning or a new perspective to a particularly painful or difficult period by seeing that specific period in context.

5-Take a trip!

New places take us out of our routine and force us to be more aware of ourselves.

Travelling doesn’t necessarily mean going to the other side of the world. You can visit a city close to your own. Self-knowledge involves analysing your behaviour in a new environment.

6- Read quality books.

It is often said that great writers are great observers of the world around them. And it is this ability to notice the subtle details and characteristics of life that allows them to recreate it so movingly in their work.

So take the time to make a list of the good fiction you plan to read or ask a knowledgeable friend to recommend some of his or her favourite fiction.

7-Ask others about your personality and accept their point of view.

Here’s a question: How often do you deliberately seek information about yourself?

If you’re like me – or most people, I suppose – probably not often. Which is a shame, because good feedback is one of the fastest and most effective ways to develop and improve.

Self-knowledge doesn’t have to be an isolated effort, you can ask for help from those closest to you.

8-Learn something new.

Learning something new increases self-awareness by forcing us to think and act in unique ways.

Doing the same thing over and over again brings us comfort, but it also encourages narrow-mindedness and narrow thinking. By focusing on a new passion or interest, you develop your self-knowledge.

9-Take the time to clearly identify your values.

Here’s a scary question: How often do you take the time to deliberately and carefully examine your highest values and aspirations?

Is it any wonder that we struggle to achieve our goals and find satisfaction when we don’t take the time to consider what it would look like for us?

One particular form of self-knowledge is to become aware of the things that really matter to you and to clarify them: Why are you here? What is your purpose?

10-What triggers an emotional reaction in you?

No one likes to feel sad, anxious/anxious, ashamed/happy. So even though we all retreat from negative emotions, each of us tends to have a negative emotion that he or she particularly hates and tries to avoid.

But the most important thing to understand is that by avoiding the emotion, we avoid listening to what the emotion has to tell us. Learning to tolerate the discomfort of our emotional kryptonite is an essential part of self-knowledge.

The 5 benefits of self-knowledge

It is difficult to list all the benefits of self-knowledge, so I will tell you what the five main benefits are.

1- You will learn how to communicate more effectively.

Having a clearer idea of what you believe in and what you really want makes it much easier to communicate in all aspects of life.

With good self-knowledge, it is easier to communicate with confidence, to be honest about what we would like and to respect the wishes of others.

2-You will be more efficient.

Thus, the most common cause of procrastination and low productivity is not a lack of effort or commitment but interference on your part.

When you find it difficult to get down to work, it is usually because, at some level, your own thoughts, emotions or habits prevent you from doing so. Better self-awareness can help to remove many of these hidden barriers.

3- More meaningful love and friendship relationships

For example, it is difficult to ask what we want and need in a relationship when we ourselves are not very clear about these things.

Indeed, developing your self-knowledge will help you to have better relationships because it will prevent you from being defensive in your interactions with people.

4-You will think more clearly and make better decisions.

In fact, poor decision making is often the result of confused thinking and strong emotional reactions.

When you develop your self-knowledge, you are more aware of your habits of thinking and feeling. You can therefore more easily distinguish between short-term impulses or desires and long-term values and goals.

5-You will feel more in a good mood.

Indeed, your mood and the way you tend to feel depends largely on how you choose to think and behave.

When you develop your self-awareness, you become aware of the relationship between thoughts, behaviour and emotions. This makes it easier to regulate your feelings and moods.

Self-awareness and self-esteem

But do we really know ourselves?

Chances are that we have sometimes jumped to negative conclusions about ourselves, which has had the effect of undermining our self-esteem.

It is important to remember that we have achieved many successes, because each memory of our past successes shows us that we are still capable of success in the future.

Unfortunately, we remember unpleasant events, such as failure and humiliation, more easily than our successes.

And if we forget our successes, we may think that we are not very good at anything.

This is what psycho-educator and self-esteem specialist Germain Duclos observed in several children who were unable to remember their past successes.

Here’s a tip for safeguarding your self-esteem as you get to know yourself.

It is normal to compare yourself to others to glean information about yourself.

However, you should avoid evaluating yourself as a whole when making these comparisons.

If you don’t evaluate yourself globally, you keep your self-esteem intact.

Staying authentic

Authenticity is about living with integrity about who you are.

If you take the time to know yourself, you will choose to live a life that is consistent with your values.

Your values are what really matters to you.

They help you to better direct your goals and actions.

When you live authentically, you know exactly who you are by and for yourself.

Thus, paying attention to yourself every day helps you shape the vision of who you want to become.

The better you know yourself today, the more you will live a life that truly respects who you are tomorrow… if you also choose to be authentic.

Because you can know yourself very well but still act in a false way that aims only to follow what others want from you, for example.

Tracks to get to know you better

Here are some dimensions through which you get to know yourself.

If you pay attention to these dimensions, you promote balanced self-knowledge.

Knowledge about your body.

What is your appearance?

What are your physical abilities?

What do you know about how others perceive you physically?

Are you in good health?

Are you tireless?

What you know about how you react to events.

Are you impulsive, level-headed, emotional, rational?

Do you like to communicate or do you close yourself off from others?

Your habits and tastes.

Do you like the food of other countries?

Are you happy when it’s cold or do you complain until spring arrives (as I do)?

Do you enjoy reading before going to bed?

Your skills in different activities.

These are your skills and competencies as a parent, student, arborist, painter, manager, etc.

This knowledge about yourself is more measurable because it produces easily observable results.

For example, a promotion at your job “measures” your competence as an employee.

What do you know about your emotions?

Daily events arouse your feelings and influence your moods.

Your knowledge of your own emotions, therefore, plays an important role in how you experience and express them.

Your actions, decisions and outlook on life.

Your life depends a lot on how you see it.

If you are constantly dissatisfied, complaining and criticising, you will get little out of life.

On the contrary, if you are open and focus on what you can change, you will get positive results.

It is up to you to choose which decisions and actions will change your life for the better!

An exercise to know yourself better

Self-awareness and self-esteem come from taking an interest in the many facets of yourself: your words, your actions, your decisions, etc.

Self-awareness is essential for developing a vision, goals and concrete actions that will yield excellent results.

To help you in this direction, answer the following questions.

Feel free to write down everything you can think of at length: it will help you discover more about yourself.

1. What are my personality traits (in relation to my attitudes, reactions, emotions, interpersonal relationships, etc.)?

2. What are my values (what I consider good and important in my life and in the world in general, such as honesty, simplicity, politeness, independence, excellence, discipline, creativity, calm, enthusiasm, etc.)?

3. Why are these values important to me? What do they bring to my life?

4. What are my tastes and interests? (What I like most, what I want, etc.)

5. Are there any new activities I could try that match my values and interests? Which ones? What will these activities bring me?

6. What new skills could I develop?

7. How can I learn from others to try new activities, develop new skills, etc.? (What are my role models?)

8. Are there any false beliefs I hold about myself that damage my self-esteem (“I will never succeed”, for example)? If so, write down the ways in which these beliefs harm you and replace them with new, positive beliefs.

After you have answered these questions in detail, have a trusted person who knows you well read the answers.

This will allow you to discuss the different aspects.

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