I have a saying which goes; you cannot be comfortable in the world if you are not comfortable in your own skin. It is also said; true happiness begins when you know who you really are. Most individuals that know who they really are, tend to enjoy healthy self-esteem and self-worth. But how can you be comfortable in your skin when you don’t know yourself? Wait a minute, what does it even mean to know yourself? How do you even know if you know yourself? This article will give you answers to those questions.
What does it mean to know yourself?
Knowing yourself is discovering who you are as a human being. This involves having knowledge of how you function and why you function that way and understanding yourself fully. It means being aware of your core values, strengths and weaknesses, passions, desires, thoughts, feeling, likes and dislikes, and life vision. And means respecting how you are and how you function, drawing the best out of yourself.
It also means coming face to face with your flaws, shortfalls, insecurities, and doubts. And accepting the aspects that cannot be changed while working on those that can be changed or improved.
In order to know yourself, you must spend quality time in self-study, evaluating all the aspects of your life and reasons or events that brought you where you are right now. You must be aware of how you relate with others, how you respond to situations and how you handle certain stimuli such as stress. You must evaluate your actions and how they affect others and the environment around you; not overlooking how others respond to you.
9 Reasons why is it important for you to know yourself
Knowing yourself will enable you to achieve:
- Self-acceptance; it’s hard and almost impossible to accept something that you have no knowledge of. For you to accept yourself as a person, you need the knowledge of who you are.
- Healthy self-esteem and self-confidence; knowing who you are and what you stand for gives you a sense of self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Self-love; is a matter of great importance in your walk of life and you cannot achieve this if you have low-self esteem or low self-confidence.
- Clear decision making; because you are aware of your strengths, weaknesses and life vision, you will be able to make good decisions that may ensure your success and satisfaction in life.
- Independence; will enable you not to be moved by peer pressure or every little opinion that other people may have of you.
- Understanding of others; understanding yourself and how you function puts you in a better position to understand others and this strengthens your personal relationships.
- Happiness; self-knowledge enables you to practice gratitude and this is the recipe for happiness.
- Freedom; will also enable you to express yourself without fear, thereby drawing satisfaction out of life.
- Authenticity; when you know who you are, you stay true to yourself. This rules out the aspect of trying to imitate someone else or pretend to be something that you are not. You will have the freedom to be who you are
How do I know that I know myself?
For you to be sure that you know yourself, you must have knowledge of your personality, core values, purpose, strengths and weaknesses, and your life vision.
This is a combination of traits and patterns that influence your behaviour, thoughts, motivation, and emotions. Your personality drives you to think, feel and behave in a specific way that is unique from everyone else. It encompasses your temperament and character. It is what sets you apart from the next person because it’s unique.
Temperament is that part of your personality that comes with your genes, making it the biological and instinctive part of your personality. More like the foundation. It’s the first part of you to surface in infanthood until your character takes shape. Your temperament is stable and can be hard to change or modify because it is inherited and rooted deep in your genes. But that does not mean that you do not have control over that part of you.
Psychology tells us that temperament is not learned and consists of four basic classifications which are; Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholic, and Choleric. Discover your temperament here. Note that each person may be a combination of two or more basic temperaments. However, one may appear to be more dominant than the rest.
Your character on the other hand includes the attributes learned from society, interaction with your environment, and other disciplines of education such as the school environment. Character is something you acquire from experiences and lessons you have learned therefore can be changed, polished and modified. Your character has a huge influence on your temperament and personality. It is learned and often comprises of your attitude, principles and beliefs.
These are fundamental beliefs or principles that guide your decision, choices and behaviour. They reflect what and who you want to be. Usually, your core values will be determined by your personal life vision. They are the values that will prevent you from going with the crowd or succumbing to peer pressure.
Core values help you to stay in your lane and not make decisions that are influenced by envy or jealousy. They will keep you from cheating in a relationship, from taking advantage of the weak and from using dishonest measures. Usually, these core values are in line with your core beliefs. For instance, as Christians, our core belief is in God and so our core values are usually in line with the word of God. Core values are principles and beliefs that you don’t dare break or compromise because they define who you are.
Examples of core values would include;
Now, this is one of the hardest questions that someone may have to answer. What is your purpose? Why do you exist? Why are you where you are right now? Usually, this answer is found best when you align yourself with God the creator. He is the one that defines your purpose. When you seek him in earnest, he will reveal to you your purpose. You were created for a specific reason which is unique from that of the person next to you. Whatever you believe in will enable you to define and find your purpose.
Usually, one’s purpose is aligned with their dreams, aspirations, passion, strengths, talents and gifts. But what if you have not yet discovered your talent or gift? Well, what is it that you are able to do without effort or prompt from an authority? Something that to you comes naturally and gives you peace and contentment. It must be something that when you do it gives you a sense of meaning.
Everyone has something unique to offer humanity. All you have to do is dig deeper within yourself, be mindful and pay attention to how the events of your life play out. They may point you in the direction of your purpose. Everything happens for a reason. You are always where you are, doing what you are doing and with whom you are with for a reason.
Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths are positive character traits or skills. Knowing your strengths enables you to build your self-confidence, help you achieve self-love, gives you a sense of direction and helps achieve your goals. They give you an idea of how much you can grow, how far you could go in life, the challenges you can brave and the stones you could risk turning. Strength may include interpersonal, emotional, intellectual and theological strengths. These may encompass attributes such as gratitude, smartness, leadership, punctuality, good communication skills, etc.
Weaknesses are the opposite of strengths meaning they are negative or underdeveloped character traits or skills. These may also include problematic personal behaviours. Some weakness maybe, smoking, slowness, pettiness, temper, etc.
It takes self-reflection and self-awareness for you to be able to know your strengths and weaknesses. You need to study your own behaviour and how you respond to various situations and stimuli. Introspection is a good way of getting to know who you really are.
The purpose of knowing your weaknesses is not for you to engage in a self-pity party or self-loathing. It must help you identify the areas that need work and effort in your life. Showing you the areas that you should pay particular attention to and strive to develop in order to be a better human being. It is important in life to focus more on your strengths than your weakness.
According to Myers and Briggs, there are 16 personality traits. I believe I’m an INFJ and that knowledge gives me power. You can also find out your personality trait here.
This encompasses everything you would like to be, do or have in your life. It is a set of dreams and long term goals for the desired future. Your personality, core values, purpose, and strengths resonate with your life vision. The importance of having a life vision is that it brings your life in order and into focus, keeping you motivated and moving forward. It helps you clarify what you want out of life. Your vision is your motivation to keep going despite the challenges surrounding you.
Living is when your existence is purposeful in such a way that it makes an impact no matter how small. Existing is merely sustaining your being and just waiting to die, with no defined purpose. For instance, your life vision can be to care for homeless children, to be the mayor or to preach world peace. Therefore, everything you will be doing ought to be driving you towards that goal. Regardless of the challenges, failures or shortfalls that you may encounter, if you have a vision, you will always get up and start again till you get there.
Make a vision board with a list of core values that you can adopt and learn. This will help you shape and define your character and you can become the person you have always wanted to be. To learn more about vision boards, click here.
Now that you know what it means to know yourself and the importance, I want you to think about how your life may change if you could know who you really are. And you are able to love and accept yourself. Also, think of ways in which you could study and learn yourself in relation to your internal and external environments. Do you think it’s an easy thing to do? I value your feedback.