The Hidden Yet Incredibly Powerful Benefits of Being Self-aware and Empathetic

People might describe me as driven or ambitious but, truth be told, I’ve never been a career person. My life has always been focused around relationships — romantic or not. I care deeply about the relationships in my life and they have played a huge role in my personal fulfilment and well-being. 

When I was younger, I thought this was a bad thing. I felt ashamed for being so sensitive and emotionally impacted by romantic relationships. While many of my peers went out and about to network and talk about their impressive CVs, all that I found a real interest in was anything concerning people. I was unknowingly horning those so-called soft skills that keep being pointed out as the most significant qualities yet never seem to have enough weight in the real world. 

Deep down, I’d always known what my core gifts are, but back then I didn’t know they were gifts and what they were good for. For example, my empathy and self-awareness. I couldn’t use these two qualities to directly make money. I couldn’t really quantify them (or at least didn’t know how) to show others that I could be of use to them and prove to myself I was good enough.  

For a long time, I didn’t think very highly of myself. I even hated my own gifts. I was convinced that my empathy and sensitivity were my weaknesses which held me back in life. I wished I could be a detached, too-cool-to-care-about-love, career-driven woman. I developed an attraction towards busy, emotionless people who seemed successful on the outside but had little empathy and depth. 

Here are the quotes from my favourite self-help book called Deeper Dating by Ken Page that sum up my past dating experiences well:

Deep inside we know that these Core Gifts are worthy, and we never stop longing to find someone who treasures them, but after getting the message that these gifts are risky or unlovable, we learn to hide and bury them.


If we deny or dishonor a Core Gift, we are likely to choose someone who also dishonors it—and then to be intensely vulnerable to any negative judgment they have about us.

The author of this book and I went through similar journeys. He wrote:

As I came to value my sensitivity (a journey that still continues), my life began to change in wonderful ways. I started building love, not just chasing it down with people who weren’t particularly interested. I began to spend time with the precious people who honored me for who I was. I gradually stopped looking for tawdry sex and found myself meeting kind and available men more often. The more I embraced my authentic self, the more the quality of men I dated improved.

I could relate to this completely. Eventually, like the author, I also came to realise that I could choose to embrace my core gifts and let authentic love come into my life. My whole world shifted. All along, I had asked myself what my self-awareness and empathy were for. I had thought that these qualities were only self-directed and could not make me valuable to anyone. If anything, they might have even caused me overwhelming stress and made letting go almost an impossible task

But now I know

Embarking on this journey of embracing my core gifts, I’ve gained a level of clarity that is both mature and transformative. It’s true that my self-awareness and empathy are more self-directed than benefiting others. But it’s not entirely true. It works like this: My self-awareness and empathy help me find myself first, so I can selflessly help others. And the gift is that it has happened at a rather young age. 

I could imagine, without these qualities, I would end up wasting my time doing many jobs that don’t suit me, being in many relationships that don’t work for me, and regret it all later in life when the consequences become permanent. My self-awareness and empathy have allowed me to put many psychological issues in the past and, thanks to this, I have so much time and space ahead of me to enjoy myself peacefully and do good for others. 

The most amazing thing is that I have stopped feeling like I’m on a journey. There’s a deep sense of knowing in me that I’m here. Every day, I’m here, I’m at the right place, and I’m true. Being highly self-aware and empathetic has also led to having high emotional intelligence and good interpersonal skills, which serve my lifelong interest in relationships very well.

Most notably, when my core gift is empathy, the right people for me are, luckily, not those who are detached, careless, insensitive, or obsessed with work. They’re those who are empathetic, understanding, and caring, with an emotional depth of an ocean. I’m grateful every day that they’re the people I’ve already had in my life — the people I’ve intuitively navigated towards amidst pain and confusion. 

Because of these people, there’s so much compassion, kindness, and lovingness in my world. It’s abundant and overflowing. It’s always been there and ready for me to come and bathe myself in it. The moment I chose to appreciate those qualities in myself, I unlocked an ability to appreciate them in others and recognise their presence and power in everything I do. 

As it turns out, facing myself is scary, but only at first. Then it’s the best thing I could’ve ever done. 

What are Core Gifts? They are simply your points of deepest sensitivity to life.

— Ken Page

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