Self awareness proves essential for discovery of happiness

Illustration by Esther Lim

Illustration by Esther Lim

Maia Schwallie, co-opinions editor

Self-awareness is a concept high schoolers are supposed to have mastered by now. We’re expected to know our passions so we can join sports teams and clubs that make us happy and understand our personalities well enough to build relationships with people who compliment us. We’re supposed to know what we plan to study and where we want to live so we can apply to the right universities and study the right major. But figuring out who you are is one of the biggest struggles growing up, leaving the majority of highschoolers incapable of making these tough decisions. Most of us have no idea who we are, and I believe we need to start embracing that.

We need to know ourselves before we can discover what makes us happy. We need to examine every facet of our being: every quirk, every desire, every guilty pleasure, every fear. We need to examine who we are because without self-awareness we can not achieve self-love. And without self-love, we have no chance for happiness.

But how should we go about discovering ourselves? How does one research their own personality? How can you investigate your own desires?

I have struggled with these questions for a long time, wondering who I was and what I should be doing with my life. However, I recently stumbled upon a personality test called the Enneagram Test. This online test consists of dozens of questions designed to compact your desires, fears, and personality into one of nine “types.” Upon completing this quiz and receiving my results, my questions began to float away.

The questions on the test prompt immense self-reflection, often meaning they are difficult to answer. These range from “Do you think deeply about things?” “Do you feel people will never truly understand you?” I did my  best to answer these, and eventually, the Enneagram program spit out my type, written in bright blue block letters: Type Five.

A description of my type encapsulated my computer screen, and I read it with awe. I learned Type Five is characterized by an intense need to understand the world around us. A Type Five spends their days questioning morality and the nature of the universe. They are a cerebral type, signifying they are often caught up in their own minds, frequently neglecting their relationships and life occurring around them.

As I read these lines, I realized how scarily accurate they all were. Somehow, this online personality test knew me even better than I knew myself. But even more than knowing my personality, it knew what I should do to live a better life. It gave me suggestions on how to improve the rougher parts of my identity and told me what will hurt me in the long run. I learned how to form the strongest relationships with other types, using this new information to form how I wanted to live my life.

Unlike myself, you may believe you already know who you are. However, I urge everyone to reconsider this notion, as Psychologist and author Tessa Eurich concluded that while 95 percent of people believe they are self-aware, only 10-15 percent actually are (

The benefits of self-awareness are limitless, so if personality tests aren’t your thing, I urge you to spend time alone, write in a journal or just think about who you are. Research morality and question if your beliefs fall in line with your actions. Strive to know who you are and feel excited about the journey to figure that out. Happiness often feels so unattainable, but remember you cannot pursue a passion you do not know you have. Knowing who you are is the first step to loving yourself. And a life filled with self-appreciation is one we should all aspire to live.