Self understanding, why is it vital to know who you are

Our self understanding is a set of perceptions that a person has about him or herself. It is the ability to see ourselves clearly, to understand who we are, how others see us and how we fit into the world.

Does our self understanding change over time, or is it constant?

Usually, the most part of self understanding is relatively enduring, which means it doesn’t change much over time. You may not agree and say that our self-concepts change over time.  for example, we are the person who we are 10 years ago.

Here is the question, is it so much that our self understanding has changed, or have we just learned more about ourselves through self-reflection through others, and through other factors. But overall, who we are doesn’t really change much over time, but we self-discover.

So where does our self-concept come from?

Self understanding comes from a lot of different sources:

Other people

When it comes to understanding yourself, social interactions play a more important role than many of us realize. People around you can influence your self understanding, if you do not have a supportive family, this will may lead you to have a negative self understanding with socialization.

Moreover, having high expectations can also have a negative self-concept of an individual. Additionally, if someone has been compared to another person or siblings can have a negative influence. On the other hand, if someone tells you something good about you, this will give you positive self understanding.

So, a lot of our self-concept comes from our communication with others. We notice how people look at us, their non-verbals, how people give us feedback, what people say to us directly and we internalize those things and make them part of our self understanding.

Here is a negative aspect of this, which is bullying. Bullying can get out of control and really affect our understanding of ourselves.


Understanding yourself changes during the your life span, reaching its maximum peak of permeability between the age of seven to twelve years old. As we grow older, we self-reflect. We start to think about who it is that we are and learn more about ourselves.

So, it begins to be formed during childhood and starts gradually to decrease at adolescence.


Education can also influence the individual self understanding. For example, if a student has a supportive teaching staff who constantly encourages him to keep up the good work, this will affect his/her self understanding. Another factor that may influence an individual’s self understanding is the lack of employment due to having a poor education.

Education can impact an individual’s self-esteem. If a person cannot get a job, so he will get a negative self-image and low self-esteem.


The media has been playing a fundamental role in how people perceive themselves. In addition, marketing and advertising have been contributing to a general attitude of creating an ideal body image as a way to personal and professional success. Such pressure from the media about those perfect aesthetic models, increase the personal dissatisfaction along with a rise in mental pathologies, such as anxiety, depression, or eating disorders.

However, research shows that individuals with a positive self-concept are less vulnerable to media influence than those with lower self-esteem.

Is self understanding important?

Understanding yourself is important because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we will be able to experience ourselves as unique individuals. Then, we are empowered to change and to build on our areas of strength. In addition to identifying the areas where we would like to make improvements.

 Self understanding is the first step to goal setting. To be conscious of what you’re good at, as well as acknowledging what you still have yet to learn.

Simply, understanding yourself is a collection of beliefs individual holds about oneself and the responses of others.

It embodies the answer to the question “Who am I?”

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