One of the most iconic military court drama quotes of all time comes from A Few Good Men where Colonel Nathan R. Jessup’s (played by Jack Nicholson) shouts, “You can’t handle the truth!” When you think about it, this is the same for many of us, and probably you too. Even though you spend every minute of your day with yourself, you don’t know yourself as well as you think you do.
Because you, like most people, would rather deceive yourself than confront the truth.
What Happens When You Don’t Know Yourself?
If you don’t know yourself, it’s hard to progress to the next level. Think of it like driving a car that doesn’t run well and you refuse to look under the hood. You know there are issues under your hood that will cause problems if you don’t get them fixed, but you keep driving the car anyway. The more you drive it, the bigger the problems become until, one day, your car just can’t take you to where you want to go anymore.
The same things happen when you don’t know yourself. Sooner or later the problems you have left lingering in the back of your mind will come back to bite you. Often in a big way.
This is why today we’re going to take a look at getting to know yourself better. This will help you remove some of the blocks that have been holding you back so you can move forward on your path to success.
How to Get to Know Yourself Better:
1. Take a personality test.
If you search the internet, there are many personality tests to choose from. Some tests are better than others are, so make sure to do your research. While more sophisticated and useful tests aren’t free, they can be well worth the investment.
2. Make a list of your values.
What matters most to you? What kind of things do you stand for?
One of the simplest ways to get to know yourself is to make a list of your values and then put them in the order of which are most important to you. After you complete your list, ask yourself, “Do I live my life according to my values?”
A great technique you can use to do this is to imagine you’re an acquaintance of yours. After viewing your actions, how would you order your values?
If you would like to learn more about how to uncover your values, pick up a copy of Mindful Mastery. A section is devoted to the process of how to uncover your values.
3. List the people you admire the most.
Make a list of the people you admire the most. These can be people you know, people in the news or even historical figures. Now, answer the question, “Why do I admire these people?”
Make a list of the character traits and skills that you admire in them. If you want to know yourself, knowing what you admire in others can tell you a lot.
4. List the people you despise and why.
Another great way to know yourself is to make a list of people that you strongly dislike. Ask yourself, “Why do I dislike them?”
List out exactly what it is about them is it that you dislike. Do you see any of those traits in yourself?
5. Get input from your friends and family.
One thing to think about before doing this is to make sure the friends and family members you ask have your best interest in mind. Be assured that your friends and family know more about you than you think they do. Since we all have blind spots, they definitely know a thing or two about you that you don’t know. If you want to know yourself better, ask them for assistance and be prepared to be surprised.
6. Imagine watching yourself.
This a technique often used in NLP to help a person get a different perspective of a situation. Imagine observing yourself. For a day, imagine watching yourself as you eat. Imagine seeing yourself in your typical clothing. Notice how you interact with others.
This view gives you a chance to know yourself from a third person perspective. What you will find is you don’t appear to others the way you think you do. You can even set up a video camera to record yourself during parts of your day.
- What one wish would you want to come true?
If you had one wish, what would you wish for? After it was granted, what would you do with it?
How can this get you to know yourself better?
Well, wishing for a billion dollars is different from wishing for world peace. Wishing for a loving spouse is different from wishing for the ability to fly or for a new sports car.
Your answer will tell you a lot about what’s most important to you.
8. What gives your life meaning?
If you had to sum up the meaning of life in one sentence, what would it be? How did you come to that decision?
- What makes you anxious?
What causes you stress? What makes you worry?
Why do these things upset you?
What does your anxiety cost you? How does it limit you?
How would your life change if you felt less anxiety?
Spend a Few Minutes Daily to Know Yourself Better and Make Your World A Better Place for You to Live In
It takes time to get to know yourself at a deep level. Discovering who you are is a major challenge. Like most people, you’ve probably not given a lot of thought to why you think and behave the way you do. While we do spend a lot of time contemplating people and situations outside of ourselves, we take little time investigating ourselves.
As you learn more about yourself, you will find it easier to make the adjustments you need to enjoy a more fulfilling, successful life. Understanding who you are and where you come from also puts you in a better position to deal with old emotional wounds.
Use these simple techniques to take a long, hard look at yourself. Getting to know yourself is challenging, but in the long run, you’ll find that it’s well worth the time and effort you invest in doing it.