The Fundamentals of Personal Growth: Awareness

Through the past year of blogging and journeying through my own personal development, I’ve collected ten fundamentals for personal growth, which I’m going to explore in the last ten weeks of the year. I’m going to take a different approach, and use the you pronoun,

I’m tired of being inside my head. I want to live out here, with you.

– Colleen McCarty

I’ve mostly forbidden myself from you in this space, but I want to start getting out of my head with so much – I I I – I’m crowding myself out.

This week, the fundamental is self-awareness.

1.Self-awareness is more than knowing who you are.

When you ask yourself “Who am I?” you also likely come to the question “Who do I want to be?”

Self-awareness is being able to determine the gap between who you are and who you want to be.

Knowing that you might want to be a better version of who you are isn’t to say that you need to go changing the core of your being, but rather, it’s about aligning your attitude and presentation to the world with what you want, what you believe, and what you value.

2.Self-awareness is knowing what you value.

Ask yourself “What matters to me?” Pull the corners of yourself into those values like you’re folding a sheet.

When you know what you value, it’s easier to be true to yourself.

Hermann Hesse

3.Self-awareness is about asking how and what.

Not why, why, why. 

Psychologist and researcher Tasha Eurich writes:

Asking what could keep us open to discovering new information about ourselves, even if that information is negative or in conflict with our existing beliefs. Asking why might have the opposite effect.

Asking why about ourselves is a big introspective trap, but asking what or how are questions which can lead to answers that facilitate action toward personal growth.

For example, instead of asking “why do I feel out of sorts,” ask, “what can I do to obtain alignment?” or as writer and style coach Stasia Savasuk puts it “inside-out congruency.”

Although Stasia means the term “inside-out congruency” specifically in regards to fashion, I included it because I think it is a much more visual term to define what I mean by alignment, which can sound a little airy and unattainable. Alignment brings the whole stage of self-awareness full-circle because it requires you to know who you want to be and what your values are. Alignment and inside-out congruency are really just terms to say that your behaviors and the ways you present yourself to the world are authentic to who you are on the inside; and that harmony is at the core of what it means to be self-aware.


Thinking about yourself is not akin to knowing yourself. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, I have thought about myself a lot, and all that thinking never got me half as far as doing. While I can think that I value my relationships, for example, that value never feels like a truer part of my being until I show the people in my life that I love them with my actions.

While it’s important to start with self-knowledge, you will not have full self-awareness until you can point to how your behaviors and actions support your beliefs.


What are some of the values you try to live by? How does aligning your behaviors with those values change your perception of yourself?


8 thoughts on “The Fundamentals of Personal Growth: Awareness

  1. I think this is a really important point. Knowing who you are is definitely a different process than thinking about who you are. I’m reminded of that short story, “Good Country People,” and how the protagonist spends most of her adult life building this big epic vision of herself in her head about how she’s so unique and nothing like the country bumpkins around her, but when confronted with the reality, finds out that she actually does still hold mostly the same values as all the people she lives around, only with her own hypocritical scorn on top of it all.

    I think it easy to trick yourself into thinking you know all about yourself, because you’ve thought about yourself a bunch. The problem with that is while you’re thinking about yourself, you can’t be actually paying attention to who you are. Anchoring the practice to “What do I value?” and “How can I express those values?” feels like a very useful exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, thanks, Jeremiah. I’m honored that you find those questions useful. Detaching my self-awareness from constant introspection is something I’m working on right now because I sure don’t want to be like the girl you describe in that story.


  3. Haha, I don’t think you’re at much risk of that. But yeah that’s one of the real hard parts of this kind of thing, not letting the first thing you notice about yourself turn into telling stories, or retracing the past. Staying present in the moment is tough, anyway around it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Totally love this post. I agree with it all. Especially when you said how awareness is knowing the gap between who you are and who you want to be. I think that is somewhere most people get mistaken.

    As for a value that I try to live by, there are a few but I would say the main one would be honesty. Honesty, first and foremost to myself and my feelings.

    If you don’t mind, I’d really appreciate it if you’d check out my blog, Its all about personal development and self-care. 🙂

    Oh and, I think I’m your 100th follower. Congrats on hitting 100! ^^

    Liked by 1 person

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