A Life Coach’s Reflection – Learning to Know Yourself

The self-concept is an intermingled conglomeration of personal associations that help define how you see yourself as a person. Working with a Life Coach will certainly help to improve your self-concept. How you see yourself tends to be mainly based on a few factors, of which I will discuss briefly.

(1) How others see you. This is often most accurate from the perception of those who are close to you, like family and friends. (2) How you compare yourself to others in a social context. This is often experienced when comparing oneself to the friends in group photos. (3) What your culture has taught you. This includes your religious beliefs, your nationality, your ethical principles etc. (4) How you interpret and evaluate your thoughts and behaviours (DeVito, 2019). This tends to act like your internal compass that points you in the right direction.

In counselling self-awareness represents how well you know yourself in terms of your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, reactions and the choices you make. If you work with a therapist you will be able to discover the many facets of your personality and character traits, and therefore, will be able to understand why you are the way you are, and then learn to change those parts that limit you. The model of Johari’s window explains this concept well. It identifies 4 selves, namely: (1) the open self; (2) the blind self; (3) the hidden self; and (4) the unknown self (DeVito, 2019). This model sees a person’s selves as dynamic, dependent, transactional and ever-changing. In order to improve self-awareness it is necessary to explore the hidden, blind and unknown selves in order to grow the open self.

Self-esteem is the measure of how highly or poorly you value yourself, and how closely that matches your “ideal” self. As a Life Coach, I know that many, if not most of my clients suffer with low self-esteem. Much of this internal assessment comes from the way you talk to yourself, your feelings about yourself when analysing strengths and weaknesses, and the way you present yourself to others in terms of assertiveness and dealing with conflict (DeVito, 2019). People who see and think poorly of themselves will not be as happy, confident, satisfied and often even as successful as those who have a high regard for themselves.

As I look at the world around me, I often ask myself how much can we know about ourselves; is there anything wrong with not knowing yourself; and does it even make a difference? For me personally, it has made a big difference, but I have seen some vastly different people to myself living normal lives, while being “blind” to themselves. Furthermore, research has found that people with high self-awareness were more prone to experience defensive, external attributions to avoid the amplified experiences of failure (Cohen et al, 1985; Federoff & Harvey, 1976), and yet in contrast, in a study done by Duval & Silvia (1992), participants with high self-esteem had more self-focus and  received success feedback when working on an ambiguous task.

Therefore, I feel to know can only go so far, but to apply what you know, will go on to make all the difference. I feel that gaining an expanding view of ourselves only provides the potential to make positive changes.

Thanks for reading

Donovan – Life Coach


DeVito, J.A. (2019). Perception of the self and others. The interpersonal communication book. (15th ed., pp. 69-100). Pearson education.

Silvia, P. J., & Duval, T. S. (2001). Objective self-awareness theory: Recent progress and enduring problems. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 230-241.

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