Self-Knowledge = Better Relationships

WRITTEN May 18, 2015 Author: Rich Atkins

Do you remember the age-old line, “charity begins at home”?

It’s a best-practice reminder to help yourself before helping those around you. You’ll be much more useful to others, once you’re OK.

Address your needs first, so you can be of maximum use to others if required. Even the FAA’s Passenger Safety Information Briefing always always has people take care of themselves first (like putting on oxygen masks), before helping those who need assistance.

This idea of Know Yourself First is very useful in gaining better understanding of diversity. When you know about yourself, your likes/dislikes, and even mental “blind spots,” you will be better able to navigate in relationships with others—especially those who are different from you.

Without taking time for introspection, people can carry negative assumptions and wrong beliefs around with them. If they (or you) are doing this, it only seems logical that they (or you) would fear other people; perhaps even hate them.

Here is the starting point for gaining greater understanding of diversity: When you learn more about yourself, you’re in a better position to learn about others.

Here are some of the Federally protected classes that come up during a discussion of Diversity:

Diversity Class

This information is from the Improving Communications Diversity – Building a Thriving Business Environment class.If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, Check out our upcoming Public Classes.

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Citizenship
  • Familial status
  • Disability
  • Veteran
  • Genetic information 

Can you see where you might fall into one or more of these classes? Does putting people into these categories affect your view of yourself or others?

To know more about yourself and your relationship with diversity, ask yourself:


  1. What do you value most about your group/class?
  2. What do you wish others understood or knew about your group/class?
  3. What do you think that others think about your group/class?
  4. What are the challenges you face due to your group/class?
  5. What can you do at work to increase mutual group/class understanding?

Self-knowledge may appear to be self-serving, but gaining that knowledge puts you on a path to building stronger relationships. Learning how to see yourself will help you to see others more clearly. When you understand what motivates your thoughts and decisions, it will help you to understand that motivation in others.

Ultimately, gaining the ability to see yourself in someone else is a social skill that will lead the way as we strive to promote diversity and cultural awareness within our society.

This information is a part of the Improving Communications Human Resources Curriculum, including Diversity. If you’re looking for ways to improve your overall communication skills, register for one of our upcoming public classes in NYC.

Other Resources:

Why Knowing Yourself is Everything and How to Do It

To Know Your Customer, Know Yourself – How Diverse Management Can Save Your Brand

To Get Better At Understanding Other People, Start With Yourself

How To Put Yourself In Someone Else’s Shoes

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