Knowing yourself

Knowing yourself may seem like an obvious truth. It’s a question you must answer at every stage in your life.

“So, tell me about yourself!”

In school, you described yourself to the class in a few words, maybe by explaining your favorite hobbies, your favorite home-cooked meal, or by talking about your family instead. When you were old enough to apply to undergraduate or graduate programs, you crafted a meticulously edited personal statement full of your strongest assets. And when you went for a job interview, you enthusiastically recited a well-rehearsed, cohesive elevator pitch.

But for some reason, formulating a deeper answer to this question never feels easy. Why is that?

It’s simple enough to rattle off your likes and dislikes, your dreams and fears. However, assessing your own strengths and weaknesses takes a little bit of courage. It requires a vulnerability and the willingness to examine your thoughts and actions. Ultimately, it can lead to personal growth. Here’s why: once you understand why you think and act the way you do, it may change your perceptions and your outlook on life.

Take a moment to write down the following:

  • Your strengths
  • Your weaknesses
  • What brings you joy
  • What brings you pain
  • Your goals and aspirations

Once you do this, the real work begins.

Questions to Ask in Order to Know Yourself Better

It’s time to transform your thoughts on yourself into realizations. In relation to the list above, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can your strengths be seen as weaknesses?
  • How can you turn your weaknesses into strengths?
  • Do the things that bring you joy, challenge you or help you grow? If so, how? Do they hinder your growth instead?
  • What are the short-term and long-term effects of the things that bring you pain? What gives you comfort or helps you move forward?
  • Are you currently pursuing your goals or aspirations? Why or why not?

These questions may help you think critically about your personal characteristics and tendencies. They may help you find the aspects of yourself that you want to change. If you struggle to answer them, that is okay. With challenge comes growth.

The Benefits of Knowing Yourself as a Woman

Implicit bias in the workplace may make it difficult for women to express their skills and talents. The balance between confidence and modesty is extremely delicate. If a woman is overly confident in an interview, she may seem stuck-up. If she is too modest, she may seem inexperienced. According to a study in the U.K. published in 2017, women faced a higher number of questions and interruptions in academic interviews than men. In addition, the questions that men received tended to be more positive.

Understanding yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses is an excellent way to prepare you for any career and the biases you may face. It will keep you grounded and arm you with the knowledge you need to rise above prejudices.

Furthermore, exploring more of what makes you ‘you’ may help you discover your own individuality and unsung strengths. By learning more about what makes you unique, your ability to see unique qualities in others may improve, thereby increasing your sense of empathy. In addition, knowing yourself forces you to call your own perceptions and biases into question. In effect, you may change yourself for the better.

You may want to read another article written by the same author – ‘ How to Stay motivated On a Career Break ‘ .

About the Author:

Jenna Cartusciello – is a freelance content writer based in the U.S. whose work includes informative, DIY guide articles, political opinion pieces and quirky, creative short stories. She discovered Her Second Innings after her first job when she was looking for career advice. Now, she hopes to help readers the same way Her Second Innings blogs have helped her.

(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)

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