The art of introspection: 14 signs you truly know yourself

We live in a society that requires us to be constantly productive to survive.

Our jobs, relationships, and societal expectations tend to take hold of our focus and take us away from the art of introspection.

In fact, many of us don’t really even know the amazing value that introspection holds!

In actuality, the journey of self-discovery is a deep and limitless one. 

Introspection, the process of examining your own thoughts, emotions, and experiences, is the key to understanding who you truly are. 

And when you understand who you truly are, you’re able to navigate life with more confidence, clarity, and purpose. 

You’re able to manifest the things you truly want!

So, are you on the path of self-knowing? Here are the 14 signs I’ve compiled that will tell you if you are: 

1) You have a strong sense of intuition

Knowing yourself means you listen to and trust your inner voice

You know that this voice – your conscience, or intuition, or whatever you want to call it – is guiding you and has your best interest at heart. 

That requires filtering out the noise, fears, and delusions of the mind that we all come with.

You can only achieve trust in your intuition through a journey of introspection.

2) You don’t lie about your true feelings

When you truly know yourself, you don’t lie to yourself or to others. 

That means you don’t lie to yourself about how you’re feeling. You’re able to get real and vulnerable with yourself if you’re struggling with something. 

This is the starting point of learning to emotionally regulate yourself and communicate your needs with others. 

As a result, you remain honest about your motivations, goals, feelings, and decisions – including with other people.

Emotional regulation is an extremely valuable skill to have and one of the main signs that you know yourself. Here’s why:

3) You’ve learned emotional regulation

Knowing yourself means understanding your emotional landscape. 

You’re better equipped to navigate life’s ups and downs because you recognize your emotional triggers, cope with stress more effectively, and bounce back from setbacks with resilience.

When you’re able to emotionally regulate, you can maintain stronger relationships, be a better guide for yourself and others, and people can feel safe around you. 

And it’s all because you feel safe enough within yourself to feel the uncomfortable emotions and deal with them maturely!

4) You’re aware of the ripple effect of your actions 

When you look within, you become self-aware of your strengths, weaknesses, values, beliefs – and the actions that result from these internal processes. 

This awareness enables you to make better choices that align with your best self. 

You become better at avoiding situations that compromise your integrity, or that negatively affect other people.

Yes, we’ve all made mistakes. 

But they’re also the reason we know how to make better choices now…

5) You trust yourself to make the right decisions

Part of knowing yourself is trusting yourself

Trusting yourself comes from acting in alignment with your values, consistently over time. 

For example, I trust myself to never drink too much, because I realized long ago that alcohol is something that doesn’t improve my life in any way. 

I’ve built up a trust in myself to uphold this promise, through many years and different situations where I was faced with the choice of drinking. 

I’ve never broken my own promise to myself in 15 years. 

This type of consistency is what builds the self-trust to make the right decisions. If I’m invited to a party, I have no doubt in my mind that I will be able to trust my choices. 

So, since I have no fear of breaking my own boundaries, I am free to enjoy myself more!

My actions are fully aligned with what I want, value, and commit to. This is the formula for self-trust. 

6) You’re comfortable being alone

When you truly know yourself, spending time alone isn’t scary; it’s something you appreciate. 

Even more than that, it’s probably something you want to seek out. 

It’s because, during these moments of quiet introspection, you gain time to reflect on your life and fine-tune your compass. 

You gain more insights into your true self and realign with yourself even better!

7) You feel a sense of purpose

pic1524 The art of introspection: 14 signs you truly know yourself

Those who truly know themselves are connected to their sense of purpose in life.

Don’t get me wrong, your purpose might not be a specific career or occupation. 

By all means, it could simply be wanting to spread more joy in the world!

But this sense of wanting to do, give, or create something seems unignorable and unavoidable. 

Everything you do seems to lead back towards this purpose.

So if you have that, lean into it and get to know it deeply. It will be your best friend, your navigation in life’s stormiest tides. 

8) You’ve accepted your flaws and imperfections

Accepting yourself is a huge part of knowing yourself. 

It’s also much easier said than done!

A lot of the time, we exist in a state of pretending to be someone we’re not or faking a persona to get love and acceptance from others. 

When you know yourself, you embrace your flaws and imperfections rather than trying to conceal them or pretend they don’t exist. 

Even if it means not being accepted or loved by others. 

But it doesn’t matter, because you love and accept yourself. You feel content, safe, and loved in your own skin.

9) You have self-compassion

You don’t beat yourself down when you’re already feeling bad. 

Instead, a sign that you truly know yourself is that you treat yourself as you would a loved one in challenging times. 

You have the self-compassion to vulnerably hold yourself through difficult situations and find strength from within, rather than relying on others to do this for you.

This is one of the key elements to the art of introspection and knowing the most important person in your life: you.

10) You are present and mindful

Introspection births mindfulness, which is a practice of being fully present in the moment

You’re less likely to dwell on the past or worry about the future. 

Instead, you savor the richness of each moment and take pause before taking action. 

You take your time to feel what is the right step in important matters rather than rushing into the decision that others tell you to make, or what you think you ‘should’ do. 

This allows you to be deeply intentional about the kind of reality you create.

11) You have and set healthy boundaries

Boundaries are such a tricky thing to learn when you are self-aware because you want to be nice and please everyone!

But, recognizing your limits and setting healthy boundaries is so important. 

I can’t state that enough. 

Understanding when to say “no” to commitments or relationships that don’t align with your values or well-being is protecting your valuable energy, time, and resources. 

You carefully consider before putting others’ wants over your own needs. 

It doesn’t mean you can’t be generous too – it just means you’re doing it from thoughtful love and care, rather than a place of people-pleasing

12) You’re open-minded and always growing

Introspection doesn’t mean you have all the answers; far from it.

It does mean you’re open to questioning your beliefs and perspectives and listening to others. 

This leads to a beautiful thing called growth!

Having a flexible mind allows you to let go of your ego and any need to be “right”, over and over again. 

It keeps you humble and teachable. 

You also probably seek opportunities to learn, evolve, and expand your horizons, too!

13) Your connections are authentic: 

Self-knowledge enhances the quality and authenticity of your relationships. 

You might not necessarily have more friends, but you will absolutely have better friends. 

You’re more authentic and vulnerable with others, and you’re not afraid to reveal your true self. 

This authenticity fosters deeper connections, and meaningful bonds, and inspires others to be just as authentic as you are!

14) You empathize easily:

Understanding your own emotions and experiences makes it effortless to empathize with others’ emotions and experiences. 

Why?

Because you recognize everyone as a reflection of you. 

Everyone is a human going through the same emotions as you, just with slightly varying details and circumstances. 

But you understand that at our core, we really all feel the same things. 

Having been so connected to your own journey, you can relate to their struggles and joys on a profound level – making you a beautiful presence that others love to be around. 

Final thoughts

So, there it is. 

The journey of introspection is a journey that I believe creates a wonderful human being – the kind of person I personally want to be surrounded by. 

By understanding your thoughts, emotions, and experiences at a deeper level, you’re on a path to truly knowing yourself. 

I urge you to continue to explore your inner world as you uncover more priceless layers of your authentic self.

Your honesty, compassion, and dedication to a purpose-driven life make this world a genuinely better place to be! 

Picture of Shela Riva

Shela Riva

Shela Riva is a Thai-Swiss freelance writer, artist, energy mentor and co-creator of Jaiyen Eco Resort, a creative retreat space in Thailand. She is deeply passionate about our incredible ability to transform and is dedicated to helping each person realize the power within themselves, whether through her writing, empowering custom art pieces, one-on-one work or in-person retreats.

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