Self-knowledge is a powerful tool – especially when we combine this knowledge with constructive action. In a recent article, I listed 31 Soul-Searching Questions To Ask Yourself, to help you jumpstart this process. Below are additional questions to assist with gaining a clearer sense of yourself.
If you feel embarrassed that you’re not clearer on your priorities, dreams, and feelings, rest assured that you are not alone. Many of us spend a lot of our time and energy concerned about what we “should” do and who we “should” be, and this can create a huge chasm between who we really are and who we have been trying to present to the world. We may even have forgotten (or never really knew) who we are deep down inside. There aren’t many things more disconcerting than feeling estranged from one’s self.
If looking inward and discovering more about yourself seems overwhelming, remember that an artist confronted with a blank canvas can only take the project one brushstroke at a time. With each additional bit of paint, the artist’s vision becomes more vivid. In other words, we learn more through the very act of taking steps, however small they may seem to be at the time.
Remember – there are no wrong answers. Also, keep in mind that your answers may change as you grow, try out new behaviors and habits, and learn more about yourself. So, you may want to revisit these questions from time to time. Like any relationship, your connection to yourself needs to be nurtured with regular visits and talks, and in giving yourself ample time to consider what describes most accurately your feelings about a particular question.
- When you were a child, what did a typical weekend day look like?
- What were your favorite hobbies when you were younger?
- What was the most helpful thing your parents did for you when you were growing up?
- What’s one “mistake” you made that ended up working out to your benefit?
- What was the most difficult hour of your life?
- What was your best year so far?
- What situations have caused anxiety for you in the past, and how does that affect you now?
- What did you want to be when you were eight years old?
- What were some of your favorite games when you were a child, and is there a connection to your chosen career?
- What’s most important to you – recognition, money, or free time?
- If you were given $100 a week to spend in whatever way you like, what would you do?
- How do you define success?
- What’s your number one priority?
- What’s the best gift anyone’s ever given you?
- If you had one hour of extra time a day, how would you use it?
- In one word, what do you live for?
Your role models:
- Which teacher has had the most impact on you?
- Who do you admire?
- How might you be like them in certain ways?
- Have you been the sort of friend you would like to have as a friend?
- Do you spend time with people who celebrate you or drag you down?
- Are you spending time with growth-minded people?
- Who amongst your friends could you call at 3:00 a.m. in the case of an emergency?
- What are three lessons you’ve learned from important romantic relationships?
- What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
- What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever received?
- What’s the worst bit of advice you’ve ever received?
- Who was the most challenging person you’ve ever known?
- Who means the world to you, and why?
- When can you be 100% authentically you?
- What do you wish people knew about you?
- How would you like people to describe you?
- What’s something you’re proud of about yourself?
- What is your #1 superpower?
- What is something you can teach other people?
- When have you been brave?
- What did you do today that you couldn’t do yesterday? How are you growing?
Your vulnerable areas:
- How much time do you spend judging and trying to change other people, that you could better spend looking at yourself and modifying your own attitudes and behaviors?
- What is one mistake you continue to make?
- Is your intuition telling you anything that you’ve been trying to ignore?
- What are you missing that prevents you from living life to the fullest?
- What negative thoughts or behaviors are holding you back from being your best self?
- If you could change just one thing about yourself, what would it be?
- What’s your biggest regret?
- What have you done to make amends and to forgive yourself?
- If you could have a conversation with your 10-year-old self, what advice would you give him or her?
- What’s been the best part of your day so far today?
- What was your favorite subject in school?
- What are you curious about?
- What’s something you’ve tried again and again to like, but just couldn’t?
- If you could have coffee with anyone, including a fictional character or someone who’s no longer alive, who would it be?
- If money were no object, what sort of job would you like to have?
- If you could take only three things to a desert island, what would they be?
- Do you spend too much (or too little) time watching and reading the news?
- What are you too hard on yourself about?
- What grudges do you continue to hold against yourself or other people?
- What do you need to get off your chest in order to heal?
- Are you a night owl or a morning lark?
- Are you primarily an introvert or an extrovert?
- Do you tend to over-schedule or under-schedule yourself?
- What time of the day (or night) are you most and least productive?
- Do you live predominantly in love and faith or in fear?
- What do you do on a regular basis to show yourself self-compassion and self-care?
- What’s your top priority for the next year?
- What’s your top priority for the next month?
- What’s your top priority for the next week?
- What’s your top priority for today?
- How are you using your gifts to serve the world?
- If you could have a conversation with your 80-year-old self, what would you ask him or her?
- What would your ideal life be like in 5 and 20 years?
- What is a short-term goal you feel confident that you can achieve?
- What small action can you take this week toward achieving that goal?
We all benefit from knowing ourselves better. When we’re feeling lost or despondent, gaining clarity about what we find meaningful can help to ground, encourage, and direct us.