Self-knowledge – Concept, self-esteem and how to improve it

We explain what self-knowledge is, its different levels and its relationship with self-esteem. Also, tips to improve it.

Self-knowledge is key in developing a healthy emotionality.

What is self-knowledge?

In psychology and other disciplines, it is called self-knowledge, self-awareness, or self-knowledge when set of knowledge that a person acquires about himself throughout his life, as a consequence of their lived experiences and introspective reflection, that is, internal evaluation.

This particular type of knowledge, which is about who we are and how we really are, is key in developing a healthy emotionality, as it has an obvious impact on other mental aspects such as self-esteem, conflict resolution and self-acceptance.

The practice of self-knowledge it is considered a symptom of maturity and emotional responsibility in the individual, and one of the basic principles to face one’s emotional life in a less turbulent and painful way.

Self-knowledge occurs at different levels, from the most elementary that have to do with the perception of one’s own existence and one’s own desires, to the most elaborate, which investigates one’s own personality and one’s own moral and spiritual values.

However, advancing in this self-discovery is always challenging, since being a “judge and part” of an evaluation of ourselves, it is necessary to acquire a degree of detachment and objectivity with respect to one’s own behavior, that is, to look at ourselves as if we were a third party. Many have called this “finding yourself.”

Many thinkers and philosophers have postulated the need to develop a robust knowledge about oneself, not only to be able to be happy, but also to be able to undertake any type of spiritual path or valid reflection on our experience of the world.

In fact, according to the Greco-Latin tradition, the phrase “know yourself” (gnóthi seautón) was inscribed in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, where the Oracle provided divination and mediation services with God.

Self-knowledge and self-esteem

The benefits of self-knowledge are usually associated with lucidity, self-control and wisdom, but in terms of personal growth they also affect an essential component of the psyche: self-esteem. This is because self-assessment cannot occur without self-acceptance first; and for the latter, self-knowledge is logically essential.

To love ourselves it is necessary to know ourselves first, to be able to understand how we are, what our reactions and our desires are, and then, gradually, accept them, not judge them more severely than they deserve, and thus be able to make peace with ourselves. There is no other way to value who we are and to know that, although we are not perfect, we also have very positive and outstanding sides.

Tips to improve self-awareness

self-knowledge meditation tips
Meditation allows deep content to emerge.

Some exercises and practices that can be used to develop and strengthen self-knowledge are the following:

  • Keep a personal journal or log. In it you will write down what happens to you, but especially your reactions, thoughts and feelings, so that you can review them later, with a cool head, and find patterns, recurrences and elements that define you but that, in the heat of life daily, you cannot perceive.
  • Practice meditation or mindfulness. This type of ancient practices seek to calm the conscious mind and allow deep contents to emerge. The task is to learn to be impartial spectators of who we are and what has happened to us.
  • Attend psychotherapy. A season of analysis in a psychotherapeutic school will lead us, through different methods, to face ourselves, thanks to the dialogue with the therapist. This is a safe space and our measure to face certain things.