Developing Self-Awareness

Esther Perel

Lesson time 15:22 min

Self-awareness is the foundation of relational intelligence. In this lesson, Esther asks members five questions that reveal how their histories shape their relationships.

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Topics include: What Is Your Family History? • Do You Seek More Security or Freedom? • Were You Raised More for Autonomy or Loyalty? • What Are Your Expectations of Relationships? • What Stories Are You Telling About Yourself? •


 - Why is self-awareness key to relational life? Because it's so obvious that it's almost difficult to define it sometimes. Because self-awareness involves, first of all, the idea that you can look at yourself and how you are acting and reacting in relationships, how you are communicating in a relationship, how you are showing up, or how you are not and avoiding. That piece of self-knowledge is also what gives you a sense of looking at others and being able to understand them. The question often is, do you need to understand yourself in order to understand others. And my answer is yes. When you enter a relationship-- any relationship-- you bring with you an entire history about relationships. Instead of just bringing our official résumé where we have all the places where we have studied and where we have worked, we also all have an alternative résumé that tells the story of all the other lessons of life. There are other experiences that we have accumulated. But they are not usually put on a professional résumé because they're not perceived as relevant to the job. But in fact, they are the résumé that we bring with us equally every day when we walk into the office. And that alternative résumé is, in part, the relational résumé. What have been our experiences, our expectations about relationships, the messages that we received about how central relationships are or not. And that whole history shows up. And it will influence the way we communicate, the way we relate, the way we deal with conflict, the way we develop trust, the way we establish boundaries. Some of the major aspects of relationships are all embedded in this alternative résumé that we bring. Now, go to your Class Guide and find the section on alternative résumés because you're about to start building your own. There you can record your answers to the questions that I'll be asking you throughout this lesson. Questions such as, what are some key markers of your family history? Do you tend to seek more security and connection, or do you lean more toward freedom and independence? Were you raised more for autonomy and self-reliance or more so for loyalty and interdependence? What are some of your expectations in relationships? And what stories are you telling about yourself? And what do these stories reveal? [MUSIC PLAYING] I've always thought that when we talk about relational intelligence, the most important way to start is to understand what is a vocabulary, what are the associations, the places where you need to go and look for information, in order to develop that kind of relational self-awareness. To go to history, to go intergenerationally, to look at cultural transitions, is extremely useful for understanding how relational thinking and values evolve in a particular family, context, or culture. Your parents, born here or born abroad or one of each, what brought them? Did they come alone, or did they come with fami...

About the Instructor

Known for her innovative approach to love and relationships, Esther Perel is sharing her methods for building deeper connections with every person in your life. Whether it’s with your partner or project manager, you’ll learn how rethinking the basic principles of intimacy, communication, and trust can improve the quality of your life in the bedroom, boardroom, and beyond.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Esther Perel

Renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel teaches you the power—and the art—of connecting with others.

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