Knowing Yourself Adds Meaning and Purpose to Your Life
The words “Know Thyself” are inscribed above the door of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. So “knowing yourself” has been considered important since the beginnings of time. But how exactly does “knowing yourself” lead to happiness, good health, great relationships and career progress?
On this page I discuss five pillars of self-knowledge that will enable you to build a more meaningful and purposeful life.
How Self-Knowledge Will Benefit You
Once you know yourself your experience of life will be enhanced.
- Greater vitality and more pleasure will be yours. Simply by being yourself you will feel more alive and your life will be a richer and more rewarding experience.
- Doubt will give way to more confident inner feelings leading to stronger decision making and actions.
- Easier self-expression will make it more likely that you will get what you want. This will often enhance your happiness.
- Self-control will enable you to resist bad habits. Understanding the values that motivate you will develop your willpower and enable you to develop the good habits that will ensure that you achieve your goals.
- Knowing the prejudices that have arisen from your personal struggles and confrontations will give you greater understanding and tolerance of others.
- Decision making becomes easier when your goals are clear and you know what matters greatly to you.
The Foundations of Self-Understanding
The five pillars of self-knowledge are your Strengths, Interests, Values, Nature and your Beliefs.
To your abilities, skills and talents you need to add character strengths like respect for others, empathy, love of learning, loyalty, fairness and emotional intelligence. Your self-confidence is built on knowing that you have these strengths. Pay attention to the verbal and non-verbal feedback that highlights and increases your awareness of your strengths and weaknesses.
As a general rule it pays to hone your strengths into superpowers and accept that you need to find ways to work around your weaknesses.
What are you constantly drawn to watch, read about and listen to? Your repeated actions indicate your interests. Ask yourself, “What repeatedly grabs my attention?” “What arouses my curiosity?” “What makes me feel concerned?” “What arouses strong feelings?”
A friend of mine couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play golf. But he noticed that he didn’t just love playing the game, he liked watching others play, reading about the game and helping others to improve their play. He used his knowledge, enthusiasm and interest in others to become a coach.
Which of these really matter to you: creativity, action, caring for others, health, clarity, inclusion, love, friendship, security, honesty? Are there other values that you want to add to the list?
Stress test your values by asking: “Does having this value enhance my life?” Or, “if this value did not exist in my life, would my life be poorer?”
For a longer list of values and to discover how to use your values to help you achieve more click this Know Your Values link.
Your nature is your way of being. It is what you do naturally, often without thinking. Are you impulsive or can you not move without direction? Do you enjoy solitude or must you be surrounded by people? Do you like detail or are you happy with an overview? Do you act intuitively or must you have loads of facts? What situations make you feel uncomfortable? Are you an Action person or a Thinker, perhaps a Dreamer?
Your beliefs are the emotional engine that drives your thoughts and your behaviour. When you believe passionately you find emotional energy pounding through your system and you become unstoppable.
Important beliefs include: the belief in justice, fairness, democracy, equality, God and yourself.
Putting Your Self-Knowledge to Work
Knowing yourself will not automatically enhance your life. You need to put the knowledge to work by knowing what you want, having a plan, motivating yourself and taking action.
Some people find that they can get to know themselves and decide what they want and how to get it with relative ease – most of us find it difficult to dig within and get to know ourselves and what we want.
If you’d like some help please feel free to use the Contact me form and ask for a free initial discussion about how I might be able to help you add meaning and purpose to your life.