A to Z Guide to Thriving in Life Discover Yourself

‘U’ is for Understanding – How self-awareness can help you Thrive

April 24, 2018

Understanding - How self-awareness can help you Thrive


Understanding who we are not only helps us to thrive in life but also helps in our understanding of others. Socrates said ‘know thyself’; and by knowing who we are we can build on our strengths and also work on areas that need improving.

Have you taken the time to get in touch with your feelings lately? 

Do you know who the real you is? 

Maybe you have lost yourself because of the demands from life. 

Many women find that once they reach midlife they really don’t know who they are.  They have lost their identity because their life has been defined by their relationships, children and careers.  For many experiencing the ’empty nest’ they feel overwhelmed because they have arrived at a point in life where they are finally free of responsibilities and yet find themselves wondering where they fit into the world.  They look in the mirror and feel like the person looking back at them is a stranger.

Understanding – How self-awareness can help you Thrive

Understanding who you are:

1. Helps you take control of your life

The past and life experiences have shaped the person you are today.  However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make changes or that you can’t take control of what happens to you now or in the future.  You, as an individual, can have the life you want if you are willing to take control and make it happen.

In my previous post, ‘T’ is for Taking Charge of your life to Thrive , I wrote about how you can take charge of your thoughts.  You can decide if you want to have your mind filled with negative or positive thoughts. Learning to become more self-aware and recognizing more about your thoughts and feelings will assist you to make changes for more positive outcomes.

2. Helps you create the life you want

Taking the time for some introspection and learning more about yourself, your passions and your dreams will help you create the life you want.  Remember, no-one else is responsible for how you think and react to external events or forces.  As I wrote back in my first article of the AtoZ Challenge – A is for having an Ageless Attitude,  I discussed how undertaking a Life Audit will give you an opportunity to see exactly where you are in life and what you might need to change if you aren’t satisfied with your direction.

3. Helps you understand others

In a recent study, Know Thy Selves: Learning to Understand Oneself Increases the Ability to Understand Others, psychologists studied 161 people between the ages of 20-50 who undertook a Contemplative Training Course.  The training  was inspired by the Internal Family Systems model that sees the self as being made up of several inner personality aspects. Participants practiced perspective taking on themselves and learned to identify and classify their own different inner personality parts.

The results suggested that by knowing our own personality traits, tendencies and patterns we can have a better understanding of the behaviour of others. The study found that we can empathize with others when we are more self-aware.

How do we become more self-aware?

Look at yourself objectively

This might not be comfortable to do, but to become more self-aware you need to be honest with yourself.  That means taking an impartial look at your strengths, weaknesses, your passions, your dreams, your likes and dislikes.  What makes you tick?  How do you react to situations?

Ask a close friend(s) to describe you honestly

Sometimes we don’t see ourselves as others see us.  Asking for and accepting honest feedback from a close family member or friend will help reveal who you are from another perspective.  Ask them the question: “How would you describe me as a person?”.  Their answers might surprise you and definitely give you something to contemplate.


How would you describe yourself?   What level of self-awareness do you have?  Do you know the real you or is there more to discover?

Understanding - How self-awareness can help you Thrive

In my next post in the A to Z Guide to Thriving, I’m discussing ‘V’ is for Vulnerability – 4 ways it will help you Thrive. I do hope you will join me.

If you have missed previous posts in the AtoZ Challenge 2018 just click here to find them all.

You might also like to check out my Over 50 & Thriving series.  In this series, published every Thursday, guest writers give insight into what ‘Over 50 & Thriving’ means to them.

Want practical and motivational ways to learn to Thrive rather than just Survive in life?  Click here and Subscribe to receive my daily posts as they publish plus a FREE COPY of my E-Book ’10 Ways you can start Thriving Today’.

Let’s Start Thriving Today!






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  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 24, 2018 at 06:08

    Hi, Sue – Thank you for another awesome post. Asking a close friend to describe us honestly takes great self-confidence and solid trust in our friend (and vice versa). Otherwise, it could horribly backfire.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 24, 2018 at 10:58

      Yes Donna it would have to be someone you really trust. My Saturday Sisters are great at that so I’m lucky.

  • Reply Weekends in Maine April 24, 2018 at 09:15

    I’d like to think that I am self-aware but I suspect that I have a few blind spots and could do a little more work in this area. I am however not sad about my soon to be empty nest. I am happy for my girls to find their paths and passions as they move into adulthood. And, I have plenty of my own to pursue too. Weekends In Maine

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 24, 2018 at 10:57

      Oh that is certainly the right attitude to becoming an empty nester. It is wonderful to see that through our encouragement and nurturing our children fly to become their own person and to follow their own path.

  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 24, 2018 at 12:18

    Hi, Sue – I’m just checking for you to ensure that the comment reply feature is working. Fingers crossed.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 24, 2018 at 12:19

      Okay here goes! I have my fingers and toes crossed. Have a great day! T

  • Reply leannelc April 24, 2018 at 14:31

    We were pretty close to the same for this post too Sue – it’s scary how alike we are! I think knowing and understanding yourself is key to living a full life. If you dither and wonder and never do the work it takes to find the real “you” then you miss out on so much. I’m not sure about asking my friends for an honest appraisal though – I might not like what I hear!

    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
    U for Understand Yourself

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 24, 2018 at 16:22

      Yes it is a little Unsettling (another U word LOL:) that we are so alike. Perhaps two of us can’t be wrong. Well I suppose asking a close friend is a risk but we have to be open to what they are telling us otherwise we wouldn’t ask them x

  • Reply lynneinpborough April 24, 2018 at 16:22

    Love your theme. There are times I think I’m too self-aware and need to get better at acting on what I know to make changes. Great post. It’s left me wanting to read more.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 24, 2018 at 16:23

      Hi Lynne, thanks so much for stopping by to comment and thank you for your kind words. What a compliment that you want to read more – you have made my day x

  • Reply Shirley Corder April 24, 2018 at 18:11

    What fun, Sue. You, Leanne and I all have the same word for today. It’ll be interesting to see if we do the same on any of the other tough letters! Super post as always.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 08:33

      I know Shirley ‘great minds think alike!’ X is a problem as I used X-Factor last time so don’t want to use that again. I have found something but it could be borderline 🙂 Have a great day! xx

  • Reply karen@profoundjourney.com April 24, 2018 at 20:21

    Hi Sue, I’ll be joining you, Leanne and Shirley in talking about self-understanding, although for me it’s a Z post (to go with the book title I used for my quote).

    Thanks for the suggestions of actions to take. I’ve got a good friend who, when invited, will tell me about myself. I find it helpful, although do need to always take into account our different perspectives on the world. For example, she doesn’t understand why anyone would put their lives online, sharing personal stories through blogs. So sometimes she thinks of me as ‘too open’ when an accurate assessment of my character is actually that I am learning to be more vulnerable.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 08:35

      Yes, asking a friend may not prove successful but sometimes they can tell us something about ourselves that we haven’t thought of or as you say have a different perspective on things. As long as the point is made with love and not taken as criticism then it can be worthwhile. Looking forward to your Z post, you have me curious. Have a great day! x

  • Reply mommyhon333 April 25, 2018 at 02:33

    Ooo, tough talk. What makes me tick? Hmmm. Scary to ponder that. I do often review my motive for saying or doing something. Is that the same thing? I think I could ask PC to tell me about ME but I am not sure I want to hear what he says!!! Maybe I should ask him, and my daughters and my BFF to give me a couple of truths about who I am. And I can look for commonalities? What do you suggest?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 08:36

      I think that is a good idea Leslie as long as you take whatever they say as coming from a place of love and not criticism. xx

  • Reply trishafaye April 25, 2018 at 09:58

    I always feel so much better about myself and life after reading one of your posts. Even if it’s one that makes me utter ‘ouch’ and causes some deep thinking. Sharing on twitter & FB (My Embracing Life Tribe page) for MSTL.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 10:36

      Oh how lovely of you to say Trisha Faye and it always encourages me to keep going when I read posts such as yours. All I want is to encourage and inspire other women and if I can achieve that I’m happy. thanks for linking up at MSTL and also for sharing have a lovely ANZAC day xx

      • Reply trishafaye April 25, 2018 at 14:38

        I clicked on ANZAC, then backed off since it’s almost midnight here. I’ll pick back up on that one tomorrow.

  • Reply Christie Hawkes April 25, 2018 at 10:58

    Like some of the other commenters, I like to think I’m reasonably self-aware; however, I know there is more to discover. On top of that, who I am is always changing, so I can never say there is nothing left to learn.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 16:46

      Now that is a good point,Christie. As we change and grow there is more to learn about ourselves. x

  • Reply writeofthemiddle April 25, 2018 at 11:01

    Of course this is a subject very close to my heart. I was the person you describe here – lost, not knowing who I was or even what I even liked to do! I’d put everyone before myself for so long that in doing so I forgot to also prioritise myself and ultimately lost the ability to know who Min was. I think this becomes so much more apparent to us once our kids grow up and no longer need us in the same way they did when younger. I’ve spent the last 5 years rediscovering who I am and making sure I take better care of her. xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 16:45

      I think the problem is that we just don’t have time during our life as a Mum or Career person or both to really get to know ourselves. Then we feel lost when our world changes. I know I went through that but hopefully I’m regaining Sue the individual again. xx

  • Reply Michele @liferedesign101 April 25, 2018 at 12:51

    Hi Sue, this was very much my experience when my kids left home and I quit my job and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. I did a LOT of self analysis and I really had lost track of who I was and what I wanted. The introspection was fun- lots of personality tests and quizzes. I also asked ten people to describe my strengths. That was really eye- opening. I loved the process and it helped me to come to terms with what I wanted out the of the next part of my life.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 16:43

      You were brave to ask 10 friends, Michele but if we really want to understand ourselves we need to learn our strengths and our weaknesses. Good friends will tell you the truth and not sugar coat it. You sound like you are settled now and living the life that makes you feel worthwhile and happy. I am enjoying your writing and following your journey. Have a great week! x

  • Reply csuhpat1 April 25, 2018 at 13:21

    All so very true. Thanks for sharing this and reminding me of this. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 16:46

      Thanks Patrick and also great to have you join us x

  • Reply Leanne April 25, 2018 at 14:43

    Hi Sue – well we’re off and running on a new #MLSTL day – I’ve shared this on my SM xx

  • Reply Jo April 25, 2018 at 15:04

    I like to think I’m self aware, but I generally think the worst of me. So I hope I realise my faults and try to get better, but I hope I’m not awful through and through. Being self aware and self confident – do you think they go hand in hand or clash?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 25, 2018 at 16:41

      You are not awful through and through, Jo!!! I think that if we are self-aware we know what our strengths and weaknesses are. Knowing ourselves I believe does increase our confidence, so yes, I do think it can go hand in hand with self-confidence.

  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany April 25, 2018 at 19:06

    Another wonderful post! Since leaving my nursing job (17 years a nurse) and relocating across the globe, I have been spending a great deal of time pondering who I am and who I am yet to become. I have been very blessed with this opportunity and plan to make the best of it all. I realize that I previously defined myself by my work, and now that I am no longer working as a nurse I am scrambling to determine who I am.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 26, 2018 at 07:23

      I think you are wonderful for actually making such a huge move and taking a leap of faith. I get where you are coming from re the job. We can become defined by our work, I know I did and then when we don’t have that job anymore it is hard to know what the next step is. I’ve sure you will work it out and enjoy the journey along the way. Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful week xx

  • Reply Candi Randolph April 25, 2018 at 20:26

    It isn’t always easy to look at ourselves honestly, and I love your idea of having a good friend describe you…they will be objective (hopefully). For me, it’s a never ending process but I’m good with that.

  • Reply Debbie Harris April 25, 2018 at 20:32

    This is great Sue. I’d love to ask a friend to describe me and may even do that one day. How we see ourselves is very important and I’d like to say I’m happy with what i see most days but I am also vulnerable at times. Looking forward to your vulnerable post up next!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 26, 2018 at 07:20

      Hi Deb! Some people have said they aren’t sure about asking a friend to describe them. I think they fear what they might be told. However, if the friend is true and close then they will always be honest but in a way not to hurt you but to help you. xx

  • Reply Victoria April 25, 2018 at 21:15

    I like to think I am self aware but am sure there are some areas where it is not true. It would be interesting to ask a friend how they see me. I have a number of different friend groups and my guess is none of them see me the same, the old thought that we are different with different people.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 26, 2018 at 07:19

      Hi Victoria! I hope your week is going well. That is a good point about different friends seeing you in different ways. That could be a positive as you can see where you find similarities and you might also discover some other strengths you hadn’t thought of. Have a lovely day and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply Jan Wild April 27, 2018 at 14:32

    Understanding yourself is such an important key to living a happy life. Being self-aware is challenging as it means knowing your weaknesses as well as your strengths. And I don’t mean those faux weaknesses we all create for ourselves (my tummy is too fat), I mean the real weaknesses. Of course weakness is also in the eye of the beholder too; Rowan will tell you I don’t like people much and from his gregarious point of view that is true. From my point of view I like some people very much but I am extremely selective and jealously protective of my time and energy; for me that is a strength but I need to be aware that it can seem prickly to others. Another great post, sharing on SM.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 27, 2018 at 14:35

      Hi Jan! You and Rowan are Mike and I in reverse. Although I don’t have many friends I do like to be rather social whereas Mike is more selective and actually doesn’t socialise much at all. The challenge is to accept this about each other and then it all works beautifully. You are looking after your time and energy and that is what self-care is all about. Have a lovely weekend, Jan xx

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