Just because you’re you doesn’t mean you actually know who you are. As confusing as that sounds, it’s true. You have to actively figure out how to get to know yourself in order to start enjoying life in the way you want.
The reason we don’t really know who we are automatically is that we’re too close to ourselves. Our perception of who we are is tainted by who we want to be and what we aspire for in life. But the thing is, we’re not our wants and dreams.
This might sound like a strange question to ask. After all, you’ve known yourself your whole life so you would think you would know yourself better than anyone in the world.
But we don’t always see ourselves the way others do. So, doing some introspection will help you understand these things about yourself.
Believe it or not, a lot of people lie to themselves, about themselves. They might think they are better or worse at something than they actually are.
Some people exaggerate their strengths, while others exaggerate their weaknesses. Either way, you don’t have an accurate view of who you really are.
So, getting to know yourself will really put in perspective what you can and can’t do. [Read: How to be yourself – 26 steps to unfake your life and love being you]
We all have habits that are good and bad. But many people are aware of their habits or just don’t want to acknowledge them.
So, part of getting to know yourself is reflecting on your habits. Go through them all, whether or not you really want to admit them to yourself. Then, examine whether or not they are helping or hurting you in life.
Many people don’t have a passion or a purpose in life. So, when you get to know yourself, you can figure out what you want to do to leave your mark on this world. [Read: What is my purpose in life? How to find meaning when you feel lost]
We all have a purpose in life, but a lot of people feel like they’re just drifting through life without a plan. Take a good look at your values to try to figure this out.
It seems like getting to know yourself should be an easy task. After all, you live with yourself every day, so why wouldn’t it be? Well, it’s definitely not as simple as it sounds.
Let’s face it – you’re not the same person as you were when you were five years old or even last year for that matter. We are always changing as a person. Your likes, dislikes, values, and much more change throughout your life. [Read: Overcoming self-doubt – 26 signs and best ways to stop doubting yourself]
Getting to know yourself takes some time and effort. It’s not something that can happen overnight, and it’s an ongoing process. And a lot of people are, quite frankly, too lazy to put in the work to do it, so they just don’t bother.
A lot of people look outside of themselves to define themselves. In other words, they look to people they admire and aspire to be like. When you do that, then the focus goes on what you want to be rather than who you really are.
A lot of people are in denial about who they really are. It could be because they don’t want to look deep inside themselves and see who they really are.
They are afraid that they will not like what they see, so it’s just easier to live in denial about it or leave it unexamined. [Read: Positive self-talk – what it is, where it comes from, and how to master it]
Some people lose their identity during an identity crisis. And when that happens, it’s because they are questioning who they are in many aspects of their lives.
There is probably a lot of personal conflict they are experiencing from this questioning of who they are and the role they play in the world.
Major life events can also prompt people to feel a loss of identity. For example, a divorce, a geographical move, or anything else can lead to an identity crisis. [Read: How to spot codependent behavior early and regain your self-identity]
Many times, this causes people to question who they are and what their values, beliefs, and interests really are. They are probably searching for more meaning, passion, and purpose in their lives.
It’s not unusual to question who you are. However, when you question yourself so much that it affects how you think and function, then that could lead to a real crisis of identity.
Have you ever met one of these people? They just seem to see through you in ways you can’t describe. [Read: What is a thirst trap? Are you perpetrating low self-esteem?]
They know you better than you even knew yourself. People like this often end up in the field of psychology and some even become psychologists and therapists.
The reason they can get to know you is simply that they can see your actions from an outside perspective. They see what you do and listen to what you say and can determine who you really are even if you’re blind to it yourself. [Read: How to become more emotionally available]
Finding yourself doesn’t require a month-long sabbatical. Sometimes, all you really need is the right set of questions to ask yourself.
When the existential crisis hits, this is one of the questions that are sure to keep running through your mind. We learn a lot about ourselves through the way we handle different life experiences. But in lieu of those experiences, we can always turn to a bit of introspection to reacquaint ourselves with who we truly are.
No one else will get to know you better than you. You can’t always rely on friends and family to keep reminding you of your identity. [Read: 34 Life-changing steps to fall in love with yourself all over again]
Getting to know yourself means you’ll have a point of comparison for times when you feel like you’re losing a grip or you’re starting to change into someone you don’t want to become. You will have a place inside you that you know feels “right,” and so you can steer yourself back there whenever you need to.
The better you know yourself, the better you’ll be able to handle life crises that arise because you know your limits and you know your strengths. It helps to build your personality and allows you some insight into what you can change about yourself to improve the way you live your life.
By being in touch with your identity through introspection, you’re keeping yourself grounded in reality, instead of feeling lost about who you really are.
And even looking at the negative aspects of yourself will help you accept them, and then eventually improve yourself. [Read: How to be kind to yourself and others and love life instead of hating it]
When you know who you are and stay true to yourself, you will be able to respond to life better. When bad or unexpected things happen, you have your core values to fall back on and use them to lift yourself back up again.
Everyone has emotions, and some of them are pushed way down in order to be able to deal with them. And those are usually the negative emotions. But when you get to know yourself, you will be able to uncover them and deal with them more effectively.
Isn’t that what everyone wants? Of course! Everyone wants to be happy and live their best life. But you can’t do that unless you know yourself inside and out. Getting to know yourself will allow you to live the life of your dreams. [Read: How to build self-esteem and love life with 10 simple life changes]
Below are 8 questions that will help you learn more about your identity. Simple as these questions may be, you’ll find that by asking yourself these questions every so often, you’ll learn more about your priorities, your strengths, your weaknesses, and what you can do to make your life better.
We all have one thing, maybe even more than one, that we like about ourselves. It can be something physical, something quirky, something unique, or something fairly common.
By knowing what you like most about yourself, you’re reinforcing the fact that you are worthy of being liked by others and that you deserve to be treated as someone of value. [Read: 5 steps to help you see yourself in a better light]
Just like how we all have certain things we really like about ourselves, there are also things we wish we could change. Maybe it’s something about your appearance or your social skills or your motivation to do things.
When you know what you don’t like about yourself, you can pinpoint the different ways in which you can improve those qualities. Think of this question as the one that helps you spot your weaknesses, so that you can work on them.
Some people probably feel strongly that they would donate it to charity, others would put some away in savings for their kid’s future, and some would probably use it to travel the world and never look back. [Read: Follow your dreams – all the amazing reasons why it’s worth it]
This seemingly cliché question does two things: One, it shows you where your priorities lie, whether it’s in building a house or investing in a business, or saving money for a rainy day. The second thing it does is show you a bit of insight into what you truly want to do if money were no object.
The things you are afraid of are the things that are holding you back. Until you are able to face your fears, you won’t be able to really explore all the things that your life has to offer.
Fear changes people, sometimes for the better and sometimes in the worst ways possible. When you know what you’re afraid of, it becomes easier to see how your fear is holding you back and what it’s holding you back from. [Read: 36 Secrets to motivate yourself to achieve anything your heart desires]
And once you know these things, you can either choose to face those fears or just let them remain since it’s not really holding you back from anything significant.
Setting goals or making plans for your future is important. But you shouldn’t be too worried about planning your life too meticulously. Having a general goal for what you want to accomplish within the next five years opens your eyes to the different paths you can take to accomplish those goals.
Though a lot of people love the rain, very few of us genuinely embrace it when we have to head out for our morning commute to work. By asking yourself how you’d handle a rainy day, you’ll acquaint yourself with the many ways in which you can be optimistic, despite being presented with weather that dampens the spirits.
If, on the other hand, you allow your mood to be completely dampened by a sudden change in weather, you’ll learn that it may be time for you to start looking at the bright side of things, instead of wallowing in misery about the things you can’t change. [Read: 7 reasons why playing the victim only makes your life worse]
Where our pride lies is where our priorities often lie. It’s our greatest investment, and it’s the accomplishment we can always keep in mind when the going gets tough.
Are you proud of your degree? Are you proud of your career path? Are you proud that you’ve raised great kids?
Are you proud of the fact that you’ve accumulated so many friends throughout all these years? Knowing what you’re proud of reminds you of why life is great and why you should keep going, despite how bad things may seem. [Read: 13 inspiring ways to bring out the best in yourself]
Celebrities aren’t the only ones who get to give acceptance speeches. What are you the most thankful for in your life, and why?
It’s important to have gratitude in life, and it’s equally important to express that gratitude to the people you’re thankful for. Even if you’re thankful for something as simple as a pet rock. You better let that pet rock know!
Too many people don’t feel very good about themselves. Instead, they are hard on themselves and only focus on the negatives. But you should also look at what your strengths are too. What are you good at? What are your passions? [Read: 15 Good qualities of a person that make them a very good human being]
It’s great to focus on your strengths, but it can also be helpful to look back on what you’re most ashamed of in your life. However, you shouldn’t do that to punish yourself. Instead, you should use it as a tool for what you should do better in the future. Use this knowledge as a building block to doing better the next time around.
You would be surprised how many people answer “I don’t know” to the question, “Why do you do what you do?” And then the proper response would be, “If you don’t know, then who does?”
Part of knowing yourself and becoming self-aware is analyzing your behaviors and the motives behind them. If you don’t know the answer immediately, don’t worry. Just keep exploring it and then you will come up with the answer. [Read: 14 Signs of attention-seeking behavior that masks their insecurity]
Everyone has something that gets them out of bed in the morning. So, ask yourself what drives you. What are your passions? What are the most important things in the world to you?
Sometimes we don’t know ourselves very well, but we do know what we like in other people. So, look around at the people you know and analyze them. What good qualities do they have? Think about how you could emulate them so you can be the best version of yourself too. [Read: How to build self-confidence and realize you’re worth it]
If you want to stop being blind to the person you truly are, you’ll have to work for it. It’s not automatic and sometimes it can even be quite difficult for people. That’s because most people are afraid of looking deep within themselves and finding something they don’t like. So, they think it’s just easier to avoid doing it.
In order to learn how your mind works and the way you really see the world, follow some of these tips.
Most people don’t realize how much others influence them. Spending so much time with one person can make you take on their personality traits. After a while, you might not even remember what you were like before you got to know them.
Spending time alone will help you figure out what you really like to do and what you want in life. You’ll get to know yourself much better if someone else isn’t influencing you all the time. [Read: 8 ways to have more me time with a hectic schedule]
When you get upset about something, ask yourself why. Figure out what specifically triggered your bout of unease. Sit yourself down and get to the bottom of it.
Usually, this will help you pinpoint sensitive spots and why you behave that way. Figuring this out will help you know yourself a little bit better.
Think about what you love to do more than anything else. Now do that more and do it better. Our passions are at the core of who we are and by following yours, you’ll discover even more about yourself.
Behind our anger is passion. This is almost always true and if you think about the times you’ve been the angriest, you’ll probably learn something extremely important about yourself. [Read: How to stop being angry and finally free yourself]
Who you truly are can be hidden if you’re always around toxic people. They drag you down and keep you from truly revealing yourself. Get rid of them. You should never allow room for those types of people in your life – especially if you want to figure out who you are.
Most of us don’t analyze our everyday lives. We don’t sit there and think about the decisions we made and why. When you write in a journal, you see your life from a different perspective.
You don’t even have to write about anything extensive or complex. Afterward, read back through what you’ve written and you’ll have a far better understanding of who you are.
We’ve all got things we believe in more than anything else. That’s what we value most. Once you figure those out, you’ll understand who you are at your very core. Don’t shy away from figuring out what you value. [Read: How to be a high-value woman]
Morals shape our behavior and not everyone has the same ones. Some people think it’s perfectly fine to lie to friends while others think it’s completely wrong.
What do you believe in? Ask yourself that question and when it’s answered, you’ll know yourself a little bit better than you did before.
The more comfortable you are around people, the more of your true self will immerge. When we feel judged or uneasy around people, we hide. [Read: Good friends are like stars – 18 ways to build lasting friendships]
In order to learn how to get to know yourself, you can’t hide from who you are. That means you need to be able to show that side of you and that can only happen around those you like and trust.
Exercise and go climb mountains and jump off cliffs into deep water. Getting to know yourself is just as physical as it is mental and emotional. Your body can do amazing things. Figure out what your limits are and how far you can push them. [Read: 12 benefits of exercise on your mind and body]
You can’t grow and learn about yourself as a person if your life is exactly the same day in and day out. So, get out there and do more things! Go to concerts and go on trips. Visit friends from far away and go on vacation alone.
Fear is the limit at which we trust and know ourselves. If you go beyond that, you learn what you’re truly capable of. Obviously, don’t go doing anything dangerous that could get you hurt, but face your fears and do it anyway.
You only think you’re capable of doing what you’ve already done. In order to get to know yourself better, push those boundaries.
Aim for goals that you don’t think you can accomplish and then surpass them. Once you reach that point, you’ll realize what type of person you are and just how hard you can really work. [Read: 16 strategies to get your shit together]
It’s crazy how much other people can show you different sides of yourself. If you see someone at the bus stop and you normally would never start a conversation, say hello.
Talk to them and see what they might be able to show you about yourself. You never know how much someone can pull certain things about you to the surface.
The truth about who we are comes out most when we’re uncomfortable. That’s not necessarily a bad place to be, either. Usually, discomfort stems from the unknown or even from fear. Do things that make you uncomfortable, but that you can still handle and you’ll learn a lot more about yourself. [Read: Are you a user? 15 uncomfortable facts to help you face the truth]
Journaling helps you get your thoughts down on paper. We have about 50,000 thoughts a day, so most of them go unnoticed. But when you keep a journal, at least the important ones make it down to it. That way, you can consciously know what you have to work through.
A dream journal is also helpful. Dreams are often not literal, however, they can open up some insights into your subconscious mind. Your mind uses sleep to process things that your waking mind isn’t dealing with properly.
Mediation is so healthy and helpful. Not only does it calm your mind, but it’s also good for your physical health too. It allows you to chill out and let go of the stresses in your life.
Because it slows down your brain waves, it allows you to access emotions and thoughts that are not normally accessible to your conscious mind. Try to do it every day for at least 10 minutes, if not more. [Read: 8 daily reminders to help keep you going forward]
Life coaches are trained to help people discover themselves and their life purpose. You might not know where to even start, but they provide you the direction and route to self-discovery.
Even if you’ve done some terrible things in your life, you need to examine them, and then forgive yourself and let go. It also helps you understand yourself better when you look deep into why you made the mistakes you made.
[Read: 8 questions to help you get to know yourself]
The process of learning how to get to know yourself can often be a long one. Some people go their whole lives and never truly know. Get ahead of the game by doing these things throughout your life.
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