To understand yourself, you need to get to know yourself – and take the time to do so. Knowing yourself is the only way you can be yourself. So how do you know whether you know yourself, or how well you know or understand yourself? Answer this question:

Describe yourself?

Don’t just answer this question with words such as persistent, resourceful, confident, sociable, tenacious, etc., or phrases such as ‘I am passionate’, ‘I am a natural leader’, ‘I am results-oriented’, etc. Ensure you answer every word or phrase you use with why you feel you are those things.

Also, in answering this question, think about your core values – this is the why of who you are – what drives you, or what do you feel passionate about – what do you believe in? Think about your strengths – what you’re good at – your abilities – what motivates you. Think about your weaknesses or shortcomings that you might be aware of – your dislikes in terms of preference and values. Think about your dreams or desires.

Another question to answer is:

How would you describe yourself emotionally?

Again, explore this with asking why and using examples of behaviours you have recognised within yourself, or might have been told about by others. Assess the emotions stirred within you most of the time, and for what reason. It’s important to accept that there are no bad emotions and that all emotions are necessary. What makes the difference in how we process and react to our emotions is critical because this leads to us expressing our emotions in either a good or a bad way.

There are also certain behaviours about us and observed by others that we are completely oblivious to. This is why it is important that we are open to getting feedback from others. People are often reluctant to volunteer information such as, and for example, letting you know that you often interrupt people. When you want feedback from others then you have to be open-minded, and really take in the feedback you are getting, and then assess for yourself whether or not you feel that the feedback is valuable, and whether you want to do anything about it. Don’t be defensive or people will be reluctant to provide you with honest feedback. I often find that the best persons to get feedback from are those that are close to you and love you. This is because anything they say comes from a really good space, rather than to offend or hurt you. Because they love you, their feedback does not come from a space of judgement but rather an honest view of what they observe in your actions or behaviours.

Self-awareness is key to knowing yourself and understanding yourself. Reflect on and assess your own behaviour, reaction, and responses to things. Every day,  think about your experiences and interactions. Ask yourself questions such as ‘what was I feeling when’, ‘how did I respond to’, ‘could I have dealt with it differently’, ‘what could I improve on next time ’,  and ‘what did I learn about myself’?

Once you are completely satisfied with what you have come up with, and can confidently describe yourself emotionally, don’t just leave it at that. Developing self should be a lifelong commitment – an investment in yourself. So as you would reflect on your behaviours, reactions, and responses to your experiences and interactions, review and update your answers to these two questions from time to time. You will be surprised at how it actually changes as you grow and develop self. You will change and evolve in your way of being. As you do this you become a different version of yourself – an improved version of yourself – the best you. If there is anything about you that you might not have liked about yourself in the past – let it go, and focus on your present and future self.

Believe that only you can define you for you, nobody else. Take back your power, value yourself to want to be the best version of yourself for yourself, and in turn for those connected to you, or whose lives you can make an impact in.

Be ambitious about developing yourself as a person more than your ambition professionally or in terms of wealth. Understand and love yourself in order to be the best you.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle

Until next time…

Yours in Adapting & Being

Adapt&Be General, Leadership & Management

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