How well do you know yourself?
Perhaps you know your likes and dislikes, interests and disinterests.
Perhaps you know what you stand for, and what you don’t.
But our subconscious minds are wells of information just waiting to be tapped — and sometimes, a probing question or two is just the way to get there.
Here are 16 that will skyrocket your self-awareness.
“What, within myself, can I recognize as the things that I hate most about others?”
Sometimes, our most gripping and intense dislike of others is triggered by habits, beliefs and actions that are only fractionally removed from our own.
If you were to make a list of everything that drives you absolutely mad about other people, you might want to sit for a while and consider when, or how, you engage in similar behaviors.
Often, we find that perhaps our desire to police others is actually a cry to become aware of ourselves.
“If I knew that my child would turn out exactly like me, would I be proud of them?”
This is not so much a hypothetical question as a method of self-evaluation.
Could you imagine all of your traits, beliefs and feelings existing within another person — someone outside of you, whom you likewise should unconditionally love?
What would you be proud of?
What would you want to change?
That’s the way you should re-parent yourself.
“If I knew that my child would turn out exactly like my partner, would I be okay with that?”
The same goes for the person with whom you are in a closest relationship.
No matter what traits or behaviors might bother you about them, at the end of the day, would you be alright with a child turning out just like they are?
This is not only a way to evaluate your partner’s true character, but a way to determine if you actually do want to continue with your relationship — if there are too many red flags, too many habits you wouldn’t want a child to pick up on, the answer might be no.
“What is it that my greatest fantasies are allowing me to escape from?”
Often, our dreams and ambitious are escape fantasies.
Running away to live by the beach? Travel the world for years? Work independently?
If you can identify what exactly all of these are allowing you to run away from, you can see what you might really need to work on addressing.
“Would I like me if I met me?”
Would you be friends with yourself if you met yourself?
“When I imagine my future self, what do I see?”
Envisioning your future self is a powerful exercise that allows you to connect to your inner truths and latent potential.
When you imagine your best possible future self, what do you see them doing, wearing, thinking, feeling?
Remember that there are infinite versions of you that can come into existence, but you can also tap into the one that you want to make manifest.
“If I could tell the entire world just one thing, what would I say?”
If you could share one message with absolutely everyone in the world, what would that message be?
This often tells you two things about yourself: first, what your legacy is; second, what you really, deeply, want to tell yourself.
“What is worth suffering for?”
Everything we care about greatly will make us suffer eventually.
The question is not what will help us avoid the most pain — for that is inevitable — but what would actually be worth enduring the challenges, the doubts, and the setbacks?
That’s where your heart really is.
Not what makes you suffer least, but what you feel is worth it.
“What is worth waiting for?”
What do you care about enough to wait for?
What do you want enough to wait for?
What do you think is worthwhile enough to wait for?
This is what you truly care about having — anything we lose interest in because it doesn’t happen fast enough is not something we want as much as we think.
“What don’t I want to regret on my deathbed?”
This is otherwise known as your non-negotiables.
When you get to the end of your life, what do you know you need to have experienced?
Maybe this is having a family, traveling, living somewhere remote for a while.
Maybe this is starting a business, soul-searching, writing a book.
Whatever it is, make sure you’re working on these now, because life moves quickly, and you won’t want to end up regretting what you didn’t do.
“Is there an unconscious fear controlling my actions today?”
Is there a reason why you feel uncomfortable?
A reason why you’re pushing yourself to over-work?
A reason why minor inconveniences are so disruptive to you?
Could these have anything to do with fearing other people’s judgments, believing you have to earn worthiness, worrying what your home or space or self might look like to others?
Instead of trying to address the surface-level problems in your life, go a layer deeper and figure out what motivation is driving you, and whether it’s actually rational or not.
“What am I afraid to admit I want?”
Sometimes, our greatest fears aren’t about our weaknesses or possible worst case scenarios, but our authentic desires.
Anything that’s the deep down truth of who and what we are is something we naturally try to shield, protect and even avoid.
This is because these are the most vulnerable facts about us.
If we admit what we want, we might have to acknowledge why we don’t have it. We might have to accept that going after it might make us susceptible to certain scruitinies. We might have to ask why we aren’t trying in the first place. We might have to consider what parts of our lives need to be completely changed.
“When was the last time I showed true kindness?”
Can you recall the last time you showed true and unconditional kindness to another being where there was little if nothing your own gain?
“When was the last time I was irrationally mean?”
Can you recall the last time you were genuinely unkind to a person because of your own fears, insecurities, or closed-mindedness?
“What do I not want anybody else to know about me?”
If we figure out what it is that we’re consistently trying to hide from others, we either find the truth about ourselves that we may need to confront, or at the very least, an unfounded insecurity that needs to be brought to light.
You might realize that the answer to this question is anything from not wanting others to know how imperfect you are (this is a perfectly okay thing to share) or that you’re worried about the future (this, is, too) or perhaps even some missteps you made in the past (this makes you human).
The reality is that the things we most fiercely try to hide from others are often the things that are silently controlling us — and often for no good reason.
“Am I a pleasant person to be around?”
Finally, are you a nice person to spend time with?
Do you lift people up, or question their successes?
Do you pick petty arguments?
Are you always bickering with someone over something?
Do you find yourself in more tense situations than your friends?
Do the people around you try to temper you when you react a certain way?
It’s time to take a really good look at yourself, recognize your patterns, and determine if perhaps you aren’t being the most pleasant individual you could be.
This does not mean that you can never speak up or share your honest thoughts.
It just means that you pick your battles, and recognize that if you have something negative to say about everyone, the problem is most likely you.