Just 3 years ago, I was lost. I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but what I was clear about was that I wasn’t happy . And it was in that search for my life purpose that I understood that self-knowledge was the first step I had to take if I wanted to achieve my personal and professional development.
I had to discover who I really am and what my true potential is, and then set out to create the life of my dreams .
I knew that this was the first step in becoming the person I wanted to become and that would lead me to understand what I want for my life and to understand once and for all what really motivates me.
Understanding my own needs and desires, knowing what my strengths and weaknesses are and being able to evaluate my emotions (which at that time were a constant roller coaster) with precision, has been and continues to be a path that has become difficult at some times , but at the same time it is really revealing.
What is Self Knowledge?
Basically it is the understanding of yourself, of your character, of what moves you, of your thoughts, experiences, abilities, etc.
However, it is important to understand that self-knowledge goes beyond accumulating data about ourselves, but that it is about learning to pay attention to our inner state and being fair when judging ourselves.
Our mind (unconsciously) stores information about how we react to different situations. This information often ends up conditioning us to react in the same (or similar) way to a future event similar to the previous one, thus creating patterns in our behavior.
It is self-knowledge that allows us to understand that in our brain there is this conditioning and can help us free ourselves to make better decisions in the future in a conscious way.
In short, it is about being honest with ourselves through it.
Knowing Yourself Better Can Make You More Happy
For many, self-knowledge is the key to achieving emotional intelligence. The ability to control our emotions and thoughts from one moment to another is vital to understand each other better, be at peace with who we are and influence our behavior in a positive way.
It is people who know themselves, who act consciously (instead of reacting on impulse) and that is why they tend to have good psychological health and a positive outlook on life.
Several investigations have shown that the practices of self-reflection, perception and mindfulness of self-knowledge can lead you to achieve all this:
Become more receptive person
There is an old saying: “knowledge is power.” The more aware we are of ourselves, we will understand that, like us, everyone goes through difficult situations and we are in a constant struggle to improve. By understanding that, we will have more power over our way of living and reacting to different situations.
Helps you maintain healthy relations
People who understand how their partner thinks can try to put themselves in their shoes and empathize more with them, which helps reduce possible future conflicts.
Helps you becoma a successful leader
One of the greatest attributes of a leader is to understand what motivates his team. Self-knowledge will make you more aware of your actions and help you better manage your strengths and weaknesses, to better connect with your colleagues, employees and / or clients.
If you are constantly wondering why you react in this or that way or why you feel anxious about certain situations, maybe you should try to know yourself to resolve those doubts and reduce the stress and anxiety in your life.
Self-knowledge will help you respond and therefore eliminate those feelings of distress and prevent stress-related illnesses.
We all tend to have different views on our own qualities. But when you are really aware of yourself, then you can identify your deficiencies and make the appropriate changes.
Knowing what you can do, as well as which are affecting your goal, will help you increase your productivity.
The relationship between self knowledge and emotional welfare
Maintaining bad mental habits could sabotage our progress, even if we have the best intentions.
To achieve real emotional well-being, in addition to taking care of our body, we must pay special attention to our thoughts and emotions. A better self-awareness will help us be healthier, both physically and emotionally.
There are good habits that we can put into practice and that will help us to be responsible for ourselves and be emotionally healthy, as well as help others to try to achieve their emotional well-being:
Be honest with yourself about the decisions you make daily and that impact your physical and / or emotional well-being in some way.
Make a list of the healthy habits you do every day and another one of the not so healthy ones. Seeing the things embodied in a paper will help us identify which ones we should change or improve.
We are responsible for our own well-being, but sometimes it is not so easy to make the right decisions day after day. To monitor your progress, you could do the exercise of sharing your daily progress with a family member or friend. This will give you an additional motivation, since you will most certainly not want to disappoint him.
No to self sabotage
Self-destructive mental patterns are one of the main reasons why people abandon their goals. If you constantly repeat: “I will never achieve it”, believe me you will never do it.
You must understand that these thoughts are simply a natural resistance of your mind in response to the change you are trying to make. They may be persistent, but they are temporary.
To combat them, it is good to practice positive affirmations and, little by little, replace each negative thought with a positive one.
Calm your mind
Meditation is a great way to start your path to self-knowledge. Five minutes a day alone and in a quiet place, are enough.
The goal is to learn to calm your temper and increase your patience with yourself and others.
Prioritize your welfare
Currently we live so full of responsibilities and tasks, that we end up sacrificing many of the things that bring us joy, due to lack of time.
Self-knowledge helps us identify what are the activities that make us happy and see how we can take the time to do them.
Spend time with your family, travel, go dancing or ask your partner to give you a massage. Simply, take a moment a day to feel good, be your priority.
How to Achieve Self-Knowledge
To start working on your own terms, it is necessary to modify some bad habits:
Do Not Ignore
Perhaps on some occasions you have thought: “I have a bad feeling about this”, or you have simply felt dissatisfied or unhappy suddenly and perhaps you have ignored it for not finding a logical sense.
That is normal, because they have taught us to eliminate our feelings from the decision-making process and rely solely on our rational thoughts.
Personally, I think that makes our decision-making process unbalanced since, when we depend solely on our rational thoughts, we often make decisions just to try to fulfill someone else’s ideals.
Feelings are the defenders of our personal ideals and to make decisions that truly suit us, we need them as much as rational thinking.
“TRACK” Your Feelings
For at least 30 days write down on a notepad, board or on a device, the most significant feelings (both positive and negative) that you have daily. This will help you notice patterns and trends so you can better define your life purpose, your values and your motivations.
I think this is an excellent way to communicate with our subconscious (that inner voice that often knows what we want in life), before we can express it in words.
Identify Your Period of Maximum Performance
Analyze what is the period (or periods) of the day in which you feel more energetic, better concentrated and with the ability to create your best work. Tracking your energy will also provide you with information about everything that motivates you and also those things that drain you.
Ways to Cultivate Self-Knowledge
Create a Special Space
Create a space for you where you can be alone at least once a day. Make this place one that is comfortable and cozy, decorate it to your liking, with things that you like or that bring you good memories.
The idea is that you use this place for a time of daily relaxation, a space where you can get away from distractions and spend time with yourself, be it reading, writing or even meditating.
Practice Full Attention Or Mindfullness
Mindfulness is the key to self-awareness. It is about paying very particular attention to your internal state, without judging yourself. Through this practice you will be able to understand what is happening inside and around you, paying attention to your feelings as they arise.
Be a Good Listener
Listening is not the same as hearing, but it means being present and interested in the emotions and even in the body language of the speaker, showing empathy and understanding without constantly evaluating or judging.
When you become a good listener, you can also hear your own inner voice better and understand your message more clearly.
Seek Different Perspectives
There are no dumb questions. Many times we are afraid to ask things, fearful of what others may think of us and believe that we do not know enough or that we are going from intrusive, etc.
However, exposing ourselves to different environments, cultures and perspectives is the only way to learn more about ourselves and therefore to grow.
We all have blind spots and therefore a different perspective, could help us see a more complete picture.
As humans we are, we probably never fully understand each other. But perhaps it is the journey of exploration and search trying to understand us, which makes life really worthwhile.
Whether you’re looking to accept yourself or trying to accept others, cultivate self-knowledge and have a positive attitude , it’s a good place to start.