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By Lisa Osiako

For a really long time, I struggled with knowing who I really was. When the question, “Tell me about yourself,” would come up in my interactions with others, I would speak about my job, my age, and what I love to do.

In the end, conducting self-examination enabled me to know certain aspects that I did not know existed.

There are four aspects to your life – those that everyone knows about, those that are unknown to you but seen by others, those you keep to yourself and those that neither you nor those around you know about.

Getting to know who you really are, requires self-examination. Through this, you will become aware of who you are as an individual and be able to grow and become fruitful even in your interactions with others.

Here are 8 questions you should ask yourself:

1. What do you believe in?

The first question that would come to mind for many might be based on religion or values such as honesty. However, when you sit and really analyze this question, it goes beyond the first answer that you would have.

This is an open question that will reveal what you stand for. It helps in decision making, especially when in a difficult situation.

Mary has always spoken about believing in God. In her interactions with friends, this is something that comes out a lot. Recently she mentioned that after self-examination, she came to realize that there were values she held dear to her heart, that are based on Christian principles. When caught in a difficult situation, it is those values that she based her decision on.

2. What do you wish you had done differently in your life?

The other day I was talking to a few of my friends about some of the things that I did while in university. I mentioned how much I enjoyed my campus years because this is the point where I got to do just about anything and everything.

In my time alone, I realized that there are a few aspects of my campus years I wish I had done differently that would have helped in my career journey.

Although I cannot change what I already did, this realization has played a huge role in shaping me now, even as I set my eyes on the future.

3. What are you doing to improve yourself?

We all have flaws that are part of us because no one is perfect. Are there aspects of yourself that you dislike? Have you gotten to a point where you have become comfortable and unbothered by your flaws?

Asking yourself this question will reveal whether you are taking any initiative to work on fixing your flaws.

Take John for example, to improve himself and get over some of his flaws, he decided to read more.

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4. What’s one thing you’ve had to overcome in your life?

Last year was one of the most difficult years for me. I felt lost and like I did not belong.  Although I did not share my experiences with a lot of people, I finally overcame it and came out of it stronger. What I learned through this time is that family is everything.

Your situation may be different from mine. You may have suffered a job loss or even gone through depression. Whatever it is you have had to go through, there is something that made you overcome it and lessons you learned from that whole experience.

When you think of what you had to overcome, it has a role to play in who you are today. Looking back, if caught in a similar situation, you will be able to handle it in a better way.

5. What’s the most important thing to you?

If you were to lose one of your most treasured possessions, how would that make you feel? If your acquaintance asked for your most expensive car and while they were driving it, they get involved in an accident, what would be your first reaction?

Would your thoughts be on how you would recover from not having a car or the recovery of the person who borrowed the car?

Are you materialistic or idealistic? This question will reveal just what kind of a person you are.

6. What are your strengths?

I attended a personal career development session a while back that made me examine myself in a deeper way. In this session, I was asked what my strengths were and I immediately responded with what I thought I was good at. When asked why I thought these were my strengths, I could not come up with an explanation.

Self-examination made me dig deeper and really know what my strengths are.

In knowing your strengths, you can easily answer an interview question that comes your way in this regard. You are better placed to speak confidently about your strengths.

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7. What are your weaknesses?

In the same session, this question was thrown at me and as people were talking about their weaknesses, I was raking my brain wondering what mine was. For a long time, I was comfortable with a few of the aspects that had become part of me.

On closer examination, I established that my greatest weakness was procrastination, and eventually started working on them. I later attended an interview and when asked this question, I already knew how I was going to answer it.

During an interview when asked this question, an interviewer will be seeking to know what your weaknesses are and how you are working towards changing that.

8. What motivates you?

What is that one thing that keeps you going even when you feel like giving up? Is it money, passion or an individual?

Jane biggest motivation is her mother. She is constantly pushed to wake up every early and work hard to be at least half the woman her mother is.

You may not know that you are motivated until you examine yourself and dig deeper to that one thing that gets you up early in the morning or keeps you up late into the night.

In Conclusion,

Self-examination is a good way to sit down and become self-aware on the areas about your life that are unknown to both you and those around you.

Ultimately, you will be able to make certain decisions that will enable you to grow and be a better version of yourself.