How To Get To Know Yourself Better (8 Ideas)

A woman is sitting on her bed writing in a journal

Most of us can name surface-level things we know about ourselves. We know what types of foods we like, our favorite colors, or what style of clothing we like to wear. But many of us don’t ever get to know ourselves on a much deeper level. That level that can help us be truly self-aware, become more emotionally intelligent and know how our emotions and decisions are influencing our behavior.  

When we experience a time in life that is traumatic, or stressful, some of us experience extreme changes in a positive direction, but some of us can lose that sense of self and who we truly are. 

Have you ever heard of people talking about finding themselves? In order to find themselves they had to get lost in the first place.  

I lost myself during an extremely traumatic period of my life, and it took me many, many years before I even realized it and embarked on my own self-love and self-care journey.  

But I want to impress that it is never too late to get to truly get to know yourself and transform your life for the better. 

You might be asking what that means and how you do that. 

In this post we will cover 4 reasons why we can lose ourselves, why it is important to get to know yourself better, and 8 suggestions for how to get to know yourself better. 

4 Reasons why we can lose ourselves

1) We are in a transition phase in life 

Experiencing something like a divorce, death, retirement, or job loss can make us lose our sense of who we are. This can be especially true when we deeply associate large parts of ourselves with a role, and then that role changes. 

For example, if you have spent large parts of your life trying to be the best wife you can be, and then you experience a divorce, it is easy to understand that you may lose yourself in the process. 

2) Our self-esteem is damaged 

When we are constantly told a part of us is negative or bad, or we are made fun of for a big part of who we are, we can lose track of who we are. Many of us just want to belong, so we can try to fix or hide or change those parts of ourselves to go with the flow.  

For example, hiding your sexuality because of how other people will react, or quitting an activity that you were made fun of for participating in. This can cause you to bury who you really are, and after a while it could become difficult to know yourself. 

3) We put other people before ourselves 

Most of us have been guilty of this at some point or another. From putting our partner and their needs and wants before ourselves, or putting our kids first, when we spend that much amount of time and effort focused on the people around us we end up neglecting ourselves.  

This is something I was extremely guilty of myself, and still struggle with to this day.

When we are so focused on other people, we tend to neglect our own needs and wants which leads to us losing who we are. 

4) We avoid the uncomfortable 

With all the exciting things going on in our lives, it can be easy to just focus on the other things around us instead of focusing on ourselves. Electronics, food, drugs, and alcohol can all play a factor in distracting us or numbing us from experiencing our thoughts and feelings.  

Many of us can be guilty of self-medicating ourselves with things rather than processing things that may be uncomfortable or hurtful. But by doing that we are missing important pieces of information about ourselves.  

Why it is important to get to know yourself better? 

Before covering how we can get to know ourselves better it can be useful to understand why we are even bothering in the first place.  

Some of the best reasons are: 

It increases our emotional intelligence 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be able to use, manage, and understand our own emotions. That it itself has a handful of benefits, such as being able to communicate more effectively, make better decisions and achieve our goals.  

It boosts our confidence 

Knowing yourself will help you to realize that you are unique, and have so much potential and so many different abilities. Those things make you who you are, which will help you boost your confidence

We can learn to express ourselves easier 

When we are more confident and in touch with ourselves, it makes it much easier to stop worrying about the opinions of those around us.  

Decisions will become easier to make 

Are you one of those people that waffles on many of the decisions you make? When you know yourself better, you will know what is a right and wrong decision much faster, and be confident in that choice. 

It’s one of the first steps to self-love 

In order to truly love yourself, you need to know who you are inside and out. Knowing yourself will help you fall in love with who you are.  

It will make you more compassionate and empathetic 

When we get to know our own flaws and weaknesses, it helps us to understand that the people around us have their own flaws too. And that is perfectly okay. 

Knowing yourself helps you become more aware of the feelings and emotions of others. 

It will improve your relationships 

You have to know and love yourself before you can completely love anyone else in your life. Your relationships will only strengthen the more you get to know yourself. 

Knowing yourself will help you create the life you truly want 

When you better understand your true values, desires, and goals, it makes it much easier to create a much more satisfying and fulfilled life.  

How do you get to know yourself?

There are so many different ways that you can increase your self-awareness. Below I have compiled a list of many options: 

1) Ask yourself questions crafted to get to know yourself better 

The trick to this is the questions have to be thoughtful, and you have to answer them honestly. Using what you learn from this can help you become a much happier person. 

Some examples of these questions are: 

  • What are my dreams? 
  • What do I love to do? 
  • What are the biggest mistakes I have made? 
  • What do I want to leave behind? 
  • What role in my life means the most to me? 
  • What is an example of a fulfilling day to me? 
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses? 
  • What matters the most to me? 
  • What do I like about my job? Dislike about it? 
  • If I had unlimited money what would I do with my day? 
  • What is my happiest memory? 
  • What am I grateful for? 
  • How do I handle conflict and difficult situations? 
  • Am I good at handling stress? 
  • What ten words describe me best? 
  • What am I really good at? 

2) Make lists 

A suggestion I received while I was trying to get to know myself better was to make two lists, one of all the things I enjoyed doing and that recharged my batteries and left me feeling amazing, and another was a list of all the things that drained me.  

These lists came in handy when I was trying to build a self-care routine for myself. 

3) Practice mindfulness 

When we practice mindfulness, we are making the conscious decision to focus on what is happening around us in that very moment.  

This can be useful for using it to focus on ourselves and examining our own thoughts and behaviors in real time. When you react a certain way to something, it can be useful to closely look at the reasons why. Looking at why you are feeling the way you are, what is happening in that moment that made you feel like that, and if you have reacted that way before is an example of this. 

4) Start a journal 

Journaling is not for everyone, but it can be one of the most useful tools to understand your own mind, by helping you express yourself in a non-judgmental way. 

But journalling to get to know yourself has to involve more than just listing everything you did that day. You need to write about what you did, thought and felt throughout your experiences. If something bad happened, write about how it made you feel. If you made a mistake, write down why. 

Prompts can help you get started. 

Some examples of prompts are: 

“Today, I am feeling…” 

“Right now I’m struggling with…”

“I wish I could…”

“I don’t want to…”

5) Meditate  

Sitting with yourself in the quiet without distraction can be harder than you would think. Meditating regularly has many benefits and can help you really keep in touch with yourself.  

If you don’t know where to start you could try: 

  • A meditation app 
  • Youtube tutorials
  • A class
  • How to books

6) Go to therapy 

Personally, therapy was one of the things that really helped me get to know myself the best. Having a professional listen to your thoughts and have a productive conversation with someone who is trained to help you be the best version of yourself is a wonderful thing. I am so glad that therapy has lost so much of the stigma it used to hold.  

It isn’t just for people that are struggling with mental health problems, but can be extremely useful for people that simply want to grow and be happier people. 

I believe that everyone should go to see a mental health professional as often as they feel is necessary, but I understand it might not be for everyone. 

7) Take quizzes and personality tests 

There are all sorts of different quizzes on the internet that you can take to get to know yourself better. Personality tests can make you consider why you do the things you do. 

There are plenty of examples of reputable tests online such as: 

NERIS Type Explorer®

The Meyers-brigg type indicator 

IPIP Big-Five Factor Markers

8) Ask others for their opinions 

While your self-worth shouldn’t come from the opinions of others, it can be useful to ask for the points of views of those around you to help you realize something you might not have considered before. Opening up meaningful lines of communication can help you see yourself from the perspective of other people.  

Remember it is okay to disagree with what other people might think about you, but you should examine why that is. 

The bottom line is that by getting to know yourself better, you can really improve your life and discover what is meaningful to you and set a straight path to what you need to do to achieve it. 

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