As we grow older, it dawns on us that cobwebs have formed in the attics of our minds, preventing us from seeing ourselves clearly and authentically.
We may exercise our curiosity, awareness, and compassion on others but not often enough on ourselves.
If we don’t self-question, our experiences are transformed into memories and filed away, and our opinions are slowly cemented into our character.
These experiences shape who we are and inform our daily choices, while many deeply held beliefs can inhibit our growth.
Active self-discovery requires challenging yourself by asking questions and being willing to reflect on them.
To help on your personal growth journey, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of self-discovery questions.
Benefits of Self-Discovery
Difficult tasks often have the heftiest rewards. Although embarking on the journey towards self-discovery is no easy feat, there are so many benefits to knowing yourself.
The process can feel like a personal revolution. You’re questioning long-held beliefs and challenging your inner operating system.
The ultimate goal is discovering a profound inner peace and a sense of wholeness.
Here are a few of the benefits that come with this list of questions to ask yourself:
115 Self-Discovery Questions
Our family, romantic relationships, careers, and spirituality have a profound impact on who we become. How we negotiate those parts of our lives significantly affects our sense of self-worth, as well as our actions.
To help you engage in this process of self-reflection, we've curated a list of questions to ask yourself to get to know yourself better. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, so don't be discouraged if you have difficulty answering them at first.
Deep Self-Exploration Questions
What am I most proud of?
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
What do I value most?
Where do my values come from?
Who/what matters the most to me? Why?
What is my purpose/what purpose do I serve?
Are there aspects of my behavior that I could improve upon?
How do I define success? Why is success important to me?
How do I deal with negative feelings? Are these coping mechanisms healthy?
From where does my concept of self-worth come?
What does “a good life” look like to me?
What am I ashamed of? Why?
Am I trying to move past painful experiences? Am I dwelling? Avoiding?
What do I need most in my life right now?
Which book has most influenced my life? Why?
How would a friend describe me? An acquaintance? An enemy?
What is my personality type?
What makes me feel better when I’m down? How do I help myself?
Am I seduced by power? If so, from where does this desire originate?
Are there conversational or personal topics that I tend to avoid?
If I could achieve one thing in this life, what would it be?
What changes am I most resistant to?
What gives me the most stress?
Do I like myself? What aspects of my personality or appearance do I dislike? Where does this feeling come from and how does it affect me emotionally?
Have I learned from my past mistakes? How have they impacted my life?
Do I prioritize my health?
What inspires me most?
What aspects of my life am I holding back in?
Am I free? If not, what is my freedom worth? What would I give up for freedom?
What are my boundaries? How do I enforce them? When do I hesitate to enforce them?
How do I censor myself? Why do I do that?
Spiritual Questions to Ask Yourself
How do I take care of myself spiritually?
What do I believe in?
Who do I believe in?
What do I believe happens after death?
How connected to my spirituality am I?
Am I moral or ethical?
Do I believe in a higher power? How does that impact my way of living?
How do I imprint on the world? Will that imprint remain after I die?
What do I pray for? To who or to what am I praying? How do I expect a response?
Where do I find happiness? Is it from a material, spiritual, or interpersonal source?
Where does my sense of morality come from?
How connected do I feel to the Earth?
Am I comforted by the thought of life after death? Is nothingness more comforting to me? Why or why not?
Did I receive or conceive my sense of self? How do I perceive my sense of self?
Are my choices motivated by love or fear?
Where does evil come from?
Is time moving too fast or too slow?
Am I afraid to die? If so, what am I afraid of?
Can I shape my own destiny or is it predetermined?
Do I believe in past lives/reincarnation?
How did the universe begin?
Where was I before I was born?
Without my memories, would I be the same? Do I believe some fundamental things would be the same? If so, which things?
Relationship Self-Discovery Questions
Would I be okay being alone?
How much trust do I need in a relationship? Do I trust my partner? Do they trust me?
Am I comfortable “being myself” in this relationship?
How can I improve my communication with my partner?
In what areas could my relationship with this person be stronger?
Are my partner and I growing together or growing apart?
Do I believe in ‘the one' or soulmates? Or do I think that I can fully love many people over my lifetime?
Who in my life do I feel most connected to?
Should love be unconditional?
Am I satisfied sexually?
Am I satisfied emotionally?
Are my relationships still bringing value to my life?
Is there a person from a previous relationship with whom I have unfinished business?
Is vulnerability difficult for me? What is holding me back from being vulnerable? How can I share more of myself?
Why am I still with my partner?
Am I often jealous?
Who in my life am I most grateful for?
Do my partner and I want the same things? If not, can we achieve them separately, together?
How do I decide if a relationship has come to an end? Do I try to prolong a relationship, knowing it should be over?
What sacrifices have I made for my relationship? What sacrifices can I accept?
How do I express my love?
Do you still hold resentments against a current or former partner? How are they present in your relationship?
How do I navigate conflict in my relationship?
Family Self-Discovery Questions
Do I give unconditional love? Am I receiving it?
How much do I value my familial relationships?
How well do I know my family members?
Are there grudges from the past that I still hold against members of my family? What could help me heal from those experiences?
Have I set boundaries with my family? What are they, or what should they be?
What are my favorite memories of growing up?
Do I trust my family’s opinion more than my own?
Which family members do I admire? Why?
What positive attributes and/or values have I learned from my family?
What negative attributes and/or values have I learned from my family?
What makes me a good parent/child?
Are there things I have done as a parent/child/sibling that I feel guilty about? How can I address and heal that guilt?
Do I want to have children?
What values are important to me when raising a family?
How do I respond when a family member doesn’t share my values?
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Self-Inquiry Questions about Your Career
What am I the proudest of?
What are my professional goals?
What kind of work brings me excitement and passion?
Do I or others value productivity over other aspects of my life?
How balanced is my life between home and work?
What do I do well?
What is the best use of my talents?
Do I prefer my work to challenge me? What are a few ways that I am challenged by my work?
Do I work more often than makes me happy? How much free time would fulfill me?
Who in my field inspires me? What about their path would I like to emulate?
What do I enjoy doing in my free time?
Do I value the authority of others over my personal wellbeing and privacy?
If I knew that I could not fail, what would I try to accomplish?
Could I live happily without monetary wealth?
Do I overvalue power, property, and wealth? Do I pursue these things at the expense of my happiness or the wellbeing of others?
How do I measure a productive day?
What kind of impact do I want my work to have?
Am I continuing to learn?
Should I have to be passionate about my work, or do I work to subsidize my passions?
What type of environment do I work well in?
Do I prefer to work with others or alone?
Would I be okay to let go of a long-held professional goal if I discovered that it no longer suited me?
How to Use These Self-Discovery Questions
Self-discovery is not destination-oriented. The process is ongoing, as we are changing and growing constantly.
You may find that your answers to these questions change over time, influenced by a cycle of friendships, continued learning, and active steps towards growth.
Here are some ideas on ways you can use these questions to further your self-exploration:
- Write your answers in a notebook, and return to these self-discovery journal questions every few months or years. Are your answers still the same? How have they changed?
- Pick one question each day, and dedicate a few minutes towards self-reflection. You will begin each day feeling more connected to yourself.
- Discuss your answers in a group or workshop to bring the conversation to a deeper level.
- Hold meaningful conversations with friends or family by asking their opinion on these questions or your answers to them. Get to know them better through their own experiences and opinions.
Our networks of faith, connection, and trust can be easily shaken without understanding ourselves at a core level.
To do so, you should thoughtfully consider each of these questions, rather than digesting them briefly. Activities like meditation can aid the process and prepare yourself mentally for self-discovery.