The power of writing for self-knowledge

Anthony Golden
The power of writing for self-knowledge

“What a great book you could write with what you know. Another much greater one would be written with what is not known! " Julio Verne

Self-knowledge is very important for our personal development. Sometimes we are more aware of what other people yearn for or seek than what we feel ourselves.

We know very personal information about celebrities that we have not even had the pleasure of meeting and we are full of data on matters and events that do not have a direct impact on our daily lives. But when we talk about ourselves, we may not know exactly what to express. Some of our daily, emotional or psychological problems may have to do with a lack of awareness about who we are: what are our desires, our greatest strengths and weaknesses, what we want and what we do not want. There is a powerful weapon that has shown through multiple studies the positive effect it has when it comes to achieving our self-knowledge and emotional stability: writing, which we will talk about below.


  • What benefits can self-knowledge bring?
  • How by writing can we begin to get to know each other better?
  • How to start writing?
  • Tips to reach self-knowledge through writing
    • Links of interest

What benefits can self-knowledge bring?

It is difficult to be happy if we cannot express who we are. Without being certain that we know ourselves well, we can fall into negative behaviors that try to fill that void. We can be who others want us to be, behave like others think we should behave and even spend our money on articles or practices that make others like us more, creating a fictitious “person” that manages to prevent us from facing the fact of not recognizing ourselves to ourselves. The freedom that self-knowledge brings us makes us overcome emotional conflicts, that we feel more in control with contextual situations and that we resist social pressure. It makes us more tolerant and empathetic with others and with ourselves, as well as improves our ability to decide and move forward.

“I can teach anyone how to get what they want in life. The problem is that I can't find someone who can tell me what he wants. ”- Mark Twain

How by writing can we begin to get to know each other better?

Self-knowledge is a process that requires time and effort. It is through the passage of time and the blows that we suffer when we better end up knowing our strengths and weaknesses in a continuous process of maturing. However, there are some techniques, such as writing, that we can use to develop our capacity for self-knowledge a little more..

Writing every day has very positive emotional effects. Hundreds of studies have documented over the last decades the psychological benefits that writing has on our emotional well-being. Just a few minutes a day expressing ourselves in words, it manages to make us recognize motivations and emotions of which sometimes we are not fully aware until we verbalize them. Writing also helps to cope with states of stress and anxiety, feelings that we cannot face, as well as helping us to overcome complicated situations. That is why this act is often used as a technique in different psychological therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy..

By writing we manage to organize ideas and give a narrative sense to our reality. A reality that can sometimes seem chaotic to us. The cogitive effort involved in carrying out this process helps us manage emotions, which makes us feel more satisfied and rested.

How to start writing?

It is not necessary that from the beginning we write something excessively deep, we can simply spend a few minutes explaining what has happened to us in the day, how we have felt or what thoughts we have had about it.

When we read the texts we have written from time to time, we can identify patterns that we repeat over and over again. It is a good way to identify those behaviors and beliefs that keep us mired in a reality that does not conform to what we expect. We will also find words that speak about ourselves and that we were not fully aware of before. Has it happened to you that when you read the thoughts and experiences of other people, you come to understand them in a more profound and evident way? This also happens when we read ourselves from an external perspective.

Tips to reach self-knowledge through writing

According to Sandy Grason, author of the book "The diary to awaken your inner voice, heal your life and manifest your dreams", some tricks to write a journal focused on self-knowledge are:

  • "I don't want to talk about ..." According to the writers, it is about establishing a maximum time of ten minutes, in which you must write the first thing that comes to your thoughts. The importance of this exercise is to be honest and vulnerable, as well as to write about something that is very difficult for us to express. In Grason's words: “Sometimes we tend to circle around our real problems. We want to write perfect and beautiful diaries, when our real life is not as such. Allowing ourselves to talk about what we never want to talk about leads us directly to those things we need to work on from a blank page ".
  • "Who am I now?" Again, in a maximum of ten minutes, we must answer this question, starting from the idea of ​​who we were before, at 8, 16 or 25 years old and who we are now. It is about describing the differences between who we were and who we are now, as well as the facts, in general, that have led us here.
  • "Things I love". It is about setting up an open list of what things make us feel good and be happy. This list includes everything from very important events such as "buying a new house" or "getting a promotion" to small daily events that seem unimportant but give us great satisfaction, such as the sensation of feeling hot water in the shower or the smell of a perfume that we like.
  • "Conversations with your 99-year-old self." It's about imagining ourselves 99 years old, in good health, and with great wisdom. Imagine what advice you would give to your current self, what things have been truly important to that 99-year-old, and what do you think it would tell you about what you should focus on more and less for the rest of your life..

Links of interest

  • How to Deal With Anxiety, Tragedy or Heartache - 4 Steps From Research. Eric Barker. 2014.
  • 5 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Better. Margarita Tartakovsky ,.
  • How To Understand Yourself Better: Write Down Your Thoughts.

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