It has been said that in order to know others we must first know ourselves. Many people see self-exploration as a pointless endeavor and wade through life clueless about why they do what they do and about how it affects other people. In my field (mental health) it's important for clinicians to have self-awareness because there's always a risk of projecting our own issues onto the people we're trying to help or of our biases interfering with the helping process. So that explains why people in my field should seek self-awareness. But what about other people? Why is it important to understand oneself? After all, it takes a significant amount of time and effort and sometimes it leads to learning things about oneself that are uncomfortable or even painful. Why bother?
1. Becoming aware of your weaknesses helps you to identify areas and opportunities for growth. You can't "fix" something (or improve upon it) if you don't know it's "broken."
2. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, your emotional triggers, common patterns of behavior, what you value and what you don't, etc. helps you to make better decisions. Knowing these things about yourself helps you to predict how you will respond to a particular course of action. This enables you to make choices based upon what is likely to result in the most favorable outcome for you.
3. Knowing more about how and why you have particular emotional reactions helps you to become more comfortable with your feelings and leads to more emotionally enriching experiences. It's common knowledge that we're more comfortable with what we know and less comfortable with what we don't. (In fact, we often fear the unknown). Knowing about our emotions helps us to become more comfortable with them. It also makes us better able to manage them.
4. Identifying your psychological and emotional needs helps you to identify what motivates you. The more motivated you are the more you are likely to accomplish.
These are only a few of the reasons it's important to know oneself. There may be more to come...