5 Ways to Know Yourself Better
My friend and I were talking about Instagram the other day, in particular how everyone wants to tell you to “love yourself” or “chase your passion”, but hardly anyone ever gives you the most important information….the HOW!
It’s always been my goal here with my blog and The Art of Bravery to be more than inspiration or motivation to you. Call it the athlete in me (wanna see dorky college player profile from my athlete days? Here you go!) but I have a hardwired drive and need for TANGIBLE RESULTS.
I’m the girl who actually reads all of the instructions that come in the IKEA furniture box because you’d better believe that they know the best way to put all 5,890 pieces of thing together. I’m also the girl that gets really antsy when people want to first give me all the theories on why I should do something when really I just want them to get to the point.
Clearly patience is a work in progress for this lady.
But given what you know about me, it should come as no surprise that I feel the same way about personal development growth. I’m constantly telling you to “be brave”, but what does that really mean? How can we actually be brave without jumping in front of a bullet, saving cats from trees, charging face first into a flaming building, or chaining ourselves to that historic building in the middle of nowhere that some developer wants to tear down?
I’m a big believer that one of the bravest things I’ve personally done was to stop being someone I’m not and find the courage to be me – the TRUE me – every day.
(NOTE: This is a work in progress, I’m definitely not great at this 100% of the time. Case in point: I bought a jean skirt from Target the other day because everyone else has one but HAH act like I’ll ever wear it.)
Truthfully, being true to who you are is not easy work! I mean, who are you? Do you really know yourself? I know I didn’t! In order to stop being who we’re not, often we have to go through this awkward process of UNlearning and peeling off the layers of opinions from others and years upon years of self-doubt. I say awkward because it often feels like we’re back in middle school trying to find our spot at the lunch table again. “To join the nerds like I want to or try to fit in with the popular kids, that is the question?”
Knowing yourself truly is a massive undertaking, but I’ve compiled a list of steps – the HOWs if you will – that helped me get started on my brave journey to knowing myself better. Hopefully this helps you, too 🙂
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I’m a BIG advocate for journaling. That mostly stems from the fact that I’m 99.9% sure I am ACTUALLY that alien from Men in Black 3 – the one who sees infinite possibilities at all moments of every day. I constantly have 4.5 billion thoughts running through my brain, and so taking time to write out my thoughts helps me process what’s going on up there, as well as gives me insights into how I’m actually FEELING. Sometimes I get so lost in the day to day that I don’t realize what’s underneath on an emotional level. Another reason I love journaling is because it lets me separate my thoughts from other people’s opinions. I journal about my values, my strengths, my weaknesses, and even what my favorite day would be like! If you struggle with journaling, check out the box below to get access to my 101+ prompts!
TAKE THE MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR (AKA The Myers-Briggs Personality Test)
If you haven’t heard of the MBTI, you can learn all the nitty gritty details HERE, but essentially it’s a theory of personality assessing in which you fall into 1 of 16 different personality types (advanced apologies for the over simplification but, ya know, can’t please everyone). One thing I love about the test is that your results give you a 360-degree view of yourself and your life. It covers your inner world, your outer world, how you respond to information or decision making, and even how much structure you like or don’t like in your life. This test was HUGELY instrumental in helping me know myself better because I discovered that my personality type (INFJ) makes up only about 3% of the population….for someone who has spent her entire life feeling different, it was encouraging to find that I AM different, but there are others like me out there!
KNOW YOUR ENNEAGRAM
“What’s the Enneagram?” you might ask? This podcast has THE BEST overview of the Enneagram, what the types are, and fun little anecdotes, but essentially the Enneagram is another personality typing system. I loved taking this assessment because the theory goes in depth as to what you look like when you’re “healthy” or balanced in life and also what type you are when you’re stressed or are too much in your own head. Much like the MBTI, this test really helped me relate to the world around me and also to understand the motivations behind some of my behaviors.
DISCOVER YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE
The Five Love Languages is a book written by Gary Chapman that has recently been turned into an official online assessment you can take HERE. According to our good bud Mr. Chapman, there are 5 “love languages” or, in plain terms, ways in which we GIVE and RECEIVE love. Knowing your love language allows you a greater depth of understanding and connection with yourself and others because you can see for yourself how your needs may or may not be being met. For example, I used to get so fussy at my husband Kyle when he would take a Saturday afternoon to change my oil and clean my car. Don’t get me wrong, I was thankful that he was doing those things for me, but on a Saturday I wanted to spend quality time WITH him (quality time is my primary love language) vs watch him do things for me. It wasn’t until I realized that his primary love language is acts of service that I could finally understand how truly wonderful what he was doing for me was!
CONNECT TO YOUR FAITH
Personality types, love languages, knowing your values, journaling – those are great and all, but without faith or belief in God they’re meaningless. When I’d fallen away from my faith but had those handy-dandy personality types and fancy lists of who I was on paper, I “knew myself” but still felt unknown. I knew why I acted the way I did, but why did that matter? Why was I here? Was I just the result of some random evolutionary processes!? It wasn’t until I rooted my identity in God as His daughter that I began to understand that He made me this way for a reason and He loves me just as I am. If there is ONE piece of advice I can give you, it’s this:
Connect with God on a deep level. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with Him, regardless of whether you’ve chatted just this morning or 20 years ago, because knowing that THE Creator himself carefully wove all parts of you together with love, intention, and purpose will do far more than any personality assessment can.
At the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that “knowing yourself” is a journey, NOT a destination. You’ll always be changing, shifting, and growing, but it’s my hope that these tools and steps will help you get started and find your own way through self-discovery! Comment below and tell me which of these you’re most excited to delve into!