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Self-awareness requires honesty and courage ... to get in touch with what we are thinking and feeling and to face the truth about ourselves.
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Knowing Myself (I)
Jan 2000 Alan S.L. Wong

Knowing Myself (I)

Prerequisites of Honesty and Courage

Some people are not prepared to face the truth about themselves. For example, a student may use his perceived self-image as a fun-loving person as an excuse for doing poorly in his school grades. In reality, he is a procrastinator ... put off doing his homework or studying for the exams till the last minute (Prov. 26:13-16).

When you know who you are, you may have to change; and some people just do not want to change because changing demands effort! Self-awareness requires honesty and courage ... to get in touch with what we are thinking and feeling and to face the truth about ourselves.

Benefits of Self-awareness

The better you understand yourself, the better you are able to accept or change who you are. Being in the dark about yourself means that you will continue to get caught up in your own internal struggles and allowed outside forces to mould and shape you.

As we move toward the 21st century, the knowledge-based economy demands that we upgrade our knowledge and skills to keep up with the ever-changing society. However, the starting point should be the knowledge of oneself as a unique individual and how one relates to this new economy. The clarity with which you can answer these questions: Who am I? Where have I been? Where am I going? determines your capability to chart your own destiny and realise your potential.

Realistic View

In your quest to know yourself, do not think of yourself more highly than you should (Rom. 12:3). In other words, no superiority attitude. Rather have a sober view of your strengths. On the other hand, do not exaggerate your weaknesses and look down on yourself. Also, do not excuse or rationalise your weaknesses. We need a realistic view of both our strengths and weaknesses if we are to know our true selves.

How we see ourselves may be clouded by the feedback messages we received about ourselves from others. But how could anyone know more about you than you? They do not feel your emotions or think your thoughts; they do not face the issues that you wrestled with. No one (except God, cf Psa. 139:1-6) could know you better than you! Therefore, do not let others look down on you (1 Tim. 4:12).

Significant Others ... Parents

Remember what I said earlier that some people may not be prepared to face the truth about themselves. This may be true of you. Therefore, you must be prepared to listen to others, especially significant others (cf Prov. 23:22) ... allowed them to jolt you to re-examine your own perceived self-image. There are no perfect people and there are no perfect parents. Nevertheless, from a practical viewpoint, our parents, who gave birth to us have the opportunity to observe us at close quarters over many years, would have a clearer insight of our character than anybody else. You don't have to accept their views but at least listen to them.

Self-awareness Questions

  1. What are your strengths?
    What are your weaknesses?

  2. How do your friends describe you?
    Do you agree with their descriptions? Why or why not?

  3. List two situtations when you are most at ease.
    What specific elements were present when you felt that way?

  4. What types of activities did you enjoy doing when you were a child?
    What about now?

  5. What motivates you? Why?

  6. What are your dreams for the future?
    What steps are you taking to achieve your dreams?

  7. What do you fear most in your life? Why?

  8. What stresses you?
    What is your typical response to stress?

  9. What qualities do you like to see in people? Why?
    Do you have many friends as you just described? Why or why not?

  10. When you disagree with someone's viewpoint, what would you do?

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