How To Better Understand Yourself Via Character Survey

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated October 26, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Want To Know Yourself Better?

The human mind can be a puzzle. You're the only person who has full control of your mind. No one can read your thoughts but you. No one knows your motivations except yourself. And yet, many people believe they do not know themselves.

We think we do. After all, no one knows your story like you do. But that's the problem. We can think we're self-aware when we're not. The outsider's perspective, which may be more honest due to less bias, may offer something we don't want to hear. Often, we're happy to look at our positive traits but not so much the traits that may make us look bad.

Only a small fraction of the population practices true self-awareness, or the ability to look at oneself and pick apart one's own motivations, flaws, and other traits. Being self-aware is a good thing. For personal reasons, you can figure out your flaws and strive to make yourself a better person. For example, if you're easy to anger, you can figure out when you're angry and back away before damaging your reputation. Alternatively, if you have self-awareness about impulse buying, you can stop the purchase before it happens and save yourself some money.

Realizing your flaws can make you perform better at your job, leading to promotions and the ability to be a team leader. And yet, few people are truly self-aware. They may claim they are, but they're not.

How To Conduct A Character Survey To Better Understand Yourself

It's a nice concept to believe that you have free will, but your brain sometimes works on autopilot, and you have to train yourself to be more self-aware.

You can use the following steps to complete a character survey, which is essentially a written reflection about your personality, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and future goals. Keep in mind that there is no one right way to conduct a character survey, and the overall objective is to increase your self-awareness. It might be interesting to look back on your character survey periodically to see what has changed and what has remained the same.

Paragraph One: Basic Information

Write down basic info about yourself. This can include:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Hometown
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Hobbies
  • Personality

Once you reach the personality section, it gets a little more introspective. You can say you're shy or prone to anger, but you'll have to list down the nuances of these traits. Most people aren't shy with everyone; some people will make them talk more, whether it be friends or people who have the same interests. If you are angry, write down what makes you angry.

You probably have a good idea of your personality, and this will develop as you write. If you need more help sketching out your personality, ask your friends or family for an honest opinion. Just try not to get mad if they tell you something you don't like!

Getty/Vadym Pastukh

Paragraph Two: Strengths And Weaknesses

This is where the character study gets even deeper. If you survived writing down your personality, get ready to figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

We probably have a general idea about our strengths and weaknesses. You may be great at reading but bad at sports. Use these general strengths and weaknesses as a springboard to figuring out more complex issues about yourself. Relate your strengths and weaknesses to personal experiences. For example, if you're a good reader, figure out how this might affect your relationships.

Also, look at how you perceive yourself. If you don't like something about your appearance, determine if that has any impact on your actions or how people perceive you.

Paragraph Three: Your Struggles

Everyone has struggles regardless of their position in our society. These struggles are both external and internal. You may struggle with your boss externally and struggle with your safety internally. If you have a mental illness, that's also worth writing down. From being self-conscious to struggling with impulsiveness, list them down and determine which ones are the biggest.

Paragraph Four: The Consequences

Write down ways that your traits have affected your choices, and list both positive and negative consequences as a result. Everyone has had both outcomes, and you need to list them equally. If you can't remember everything, ask around. Figure out how your choices have evolved over time and whether your character has improved or degraded overall.

Paragraph Five: The Future

Finally, write down how you want to conquer situations in the future and be honest about them. Figure out which of your personality traits will stand in the way of success and which ones will help. Make a path to conquer your future struggles, whether they are theoretical or a real problem on the horizon.

And with that, you've written down your character study. You should expand and revise it as you go along, but odds are, you've now learned more about yourself than you originally knew.

Not only is this a great way to analyze yourself, but it's a good writing exercise, too. If you're an aspiring writer or just someone who does it for fun, give it a try. If you're a writing professor or an English teacher, it could be an interesting assignment.

Want To Know Yourself Better?

Other Ways To Achieve Self-Awareness

Besides the character study, let's briefly review a few other ways to be more self-aware.

Ask For Criticism

Perhaps the best way to be more self-aware is to ask for criticism. Ask your trusted friends and family members about the good and the bad. In your job, ask for criticism as well. Ensure they're not trying to flatter you; tell them to be honest. Ask for ways to improve yourself, too, because no one is going to improve by just hearing criticism.

As you receive the criticism, try looking at it objectively. Some criticism may be unfair, while others may have a valid point. Pick them apart and determine what is true, but don't be biased and throw out the negative.


Some like to practice meditation to achieve self-awareness. Diving into your mind is an important principle in meditation. There are many forms of meditation out there, so it's up to you to choose one and figure out which works the best.

Talk To A Counselor

Talking to your friends and family is great, but sometimes, you may want to talk to a professional. Professional counselors are trained to help you question yourself and get some memories out of your mind that may otherwise stay in your unconscious. If seeing an in-person therapist isn't available to you, consider online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp. Online therapists can meet with you at a time that fits your busy schedule—and you won't need to go to an office. Just sign onto your session from home.

Online therapy has helped many individuals dig more deeply into themselves, and research has shown it's just as effective as in-person therapy for treating conditions like anxiety and depression – which may arise when doing deep personal work.  


A character study, along with other forms of therapy, are great ways to achieve self-awareness. Learning more about yourself can help you in the long run. Consider giving it a try, and be ready to learn more about yourself.

You are deserving of positive self-esteem

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started