What’s the most challenging part of assessing yourself? Being objective about it. Still, it is a great skill to have in order to grow as a person. In my thinking (pun intended), it is near impossible to not be at least a little subjective in viewing yourself.
A subjective view depends on the subject (i.e. the person), and you can think of being subjective as similar to looking through your own personal lens that focuses or limits your perspective. An objective view focuses on the object, which is a reality-based observation without bias. So being objective is similar to looking without a lens. You see what you see; no more, no less.
I hope I don’t get too confusing here, but recognizing that you are being subjective helps you to be more objective. As a therapist I love the word “metacognition” because every day I train my clients to develop it as a skill, and try to use it myself. Metacognition is defined as “awareness or analysis of one’s own learning or thinking processes” ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metacognition ) . The better you can be aware of how you think, the more accurate you can be in knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses, and how you learn best in any situation.
If you can analyze and manage your own thought patterns, you can manage your emotions since emotions are tied so closely to thoughts. People who are annoyed or frustrated can persuade themselves to become angry with their thoughts, especially if they convince themselves they have a right to be angry. People that have panic attacks can learn to calm down with self-soothing words to self, or at least can learn to not make their panic attacks worse.
So here’s an interesting activity: watch a commercial, and during those 30 seconds or so take notes or talk into a tape recorder. Record only your thoughts, whether they shifted around to different subjects or stayed focused, any memories that came to mind, etc. Then check your notes about an hour later and assess what you recorded. As you get more familiar with how the process works, apply it to several situations and see what you find. For me, some days I can shift quickly to metacognition without taking notes, and other days I need to take notes or I’ll forget most of what I was thinking. Don’t be discouraged if your note-taking or recording doesn’t keep up with your thoughts. Your mind is quicker than you can write or talk.