Why it’s important to know yourself

The idea that you might not know yourself very well might seem a bit odd at first. After all, you live in your body, in your mind – who knows you better than you, right? Well, the truth is many of us live life on autopilot. 

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We go through the motions, reacting to what comes our way and it can be hard to make time to really get to know ourselves and what drives us. Who we are is constantly evolving too. As we grow, develop and change, our values shift and our priorities move around. Making time to improve our self-knowledge opens a door.

Aristotle said it best when he said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”. When we know ourselves, we can make informed choices in our lives and develop in ways we didn’t know were possible. Not convinced? Here are just some of the reasons it’s important to know yourself.

It helps you find fulfilment

In order to live life authentically and find what it is that makes us happy and fulfilled, we have to know ourselves. Sometimes it can feel like we’re simply playing the cards we’re dealt. We see a path laid out for us and don’t bother looking to the sides to see if there’s another way.

When we take time to look within ourselves and ask what it is we truly want, we give ourselves the opportunity to change our story. We realise we’re the ones in control of our destiny and we can take steps towards fulfilment today. An easy first step here is to identify your core values and beliefs – what’s important to you? What do you believe in? These can then act like a compass, guiding you on your journey.  

It shines a light on what needs to change 

When we feel stuck or held back in life, it’s often because something needs to change. Sometimes this is a situation or environment we’re in and sometimes the change needs to happen within. With greater self-awareness we can pick up on any negative patterns of behaviour or thinking we have and start to consider how we can change.

The first step to any sort of change is awareness.

A regular practice like journaling or meditation can help here as you get into the habit of making space for self-reflection. Try spotting patterns and recurring problems and consider where they’ve come from and how you could change the narrative. 

It improves your relationships

Understanding your tendencies, how you react to certain things and even potential triggers you may have can be incredibly helpful within relationships. Communicating these with loved ones can help them understand you more and can help you move past blocks and sticking points. Think about this – is there an argument that keeps coming up again and again? Can you dive a little deeper into why this might be and how your tendencies or past experiences may relate to this argument? Now, how can you communicate this with the other person?

It builds self-trust and confidence

During our younger years many of us are still figuring out who we are. This uncertainty can create a fragile foundation, making it difficult to build confidence. When you get to know yourself, you become more comfortable with who you are and you can start to trust yourself more and more. And it’s this self-trust that we need for a solid foundation.

Self-belief and confidence can then slowly build on top of this as you try new things, recognise your strengths and move towards what you truly want. Even if things don’t go the way you expected, having that core sense of self-trust and self-knowledge will keep you safe as you brush yourself off and try again. 

It supports your well-being 

There are lots of articles and books in the world telling us what self-care looks like and how we should be supporting our well-being, but the truth is – there’s no one-size-fits-all regime. We are all beautifully unique and therefore have different needs. 

When you know yourself well, you can identify how best to support your well-being. Of course, seeking advice and help from professionals will be important when needed, but having self-knowledge will be a big support. You can tailor your self-care to suit your needs and advocate for yourself when something doesn’t feel right. 

It opens you up to the world outside of yourself

A lot of what we’ve discussed here involves looking within ourselves to learn more. Being self-aware and knowing yourself is key, but this doesn’t mean shutting yourself off from the rest of the world. In fact, getting to know yourself and having this foundational knowledge can allow you to focus more on the outside world. 

Rather than second-guessing every decision you make, you’ll have an innate knowing that will create space for everything the world has to offer. Guided by this knowledge you can look up and out more, focusing on the bigger picture because you already know how you fit into it.

How coaching can help you get to know yourself

Getting to know yourself may seem like a solitary action, but sometimes our closeness to the subject (i.e. ourselves) can make it difficult to see the wood for the trees. This is where coaching can come in. Working with a coach – someone objective, unbiased and trained to help people uncover their truth – can really help here.

Using questioning techniques and other conversational tools, your coach can encourage you to delve beneath the surface of what you might initially think to be true.

Coaches don’t tell people what to do or offer advice, instead they support you to find the answers you already have inside of you. During your sessions you’ll be encouraged to question behaviours and beliefs, reflect on your actions, make changes and set goals.

Setting aside a dedicated slot of time for this type of conversation is a way of making space for self-awareness. It cements your dedication to self-knowledge and personal development, which is in itself a strong motivator. Having the accountability and support of a coach encourages you to keep going, even when things feel tough. Sometimes getting to know ourselves means getting to know our shadow side, the traits we’re less happy about. But we need all sides of ourselves to be whole. Examining this with no judgement and a whole heap of self-compassion can lead the way to a fuller, richer life. 

If you’re ready to take the next step and work with a coach to get to know yourself better, use our search tool and find a coach today

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Written by Kat Nicholls
Kat is a Senior Writer for Life Coach Directory and Happiful magazine.
Written by Kat Nicholls
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