It’s also one of the most difficult. To be truly self-aware, we must ask ourselves some tough questions and take an honest look inside. Self-awareness means understanding our motivations, our thinking patterns, our influences, habits, needs, and desires, successes and failures. We must know ourselves both intellectually and emotionally. And it means no excuses.

It is one thing to realize a need or want for change in our lives. It is quite another to set a plan in motion to realize actual and impactful change.

So how do we start? How do we open ourselves up and lose the fear of being that honest with ourselves?

Start by drawing a tree

It sounds overly simple, but for many therapists and psychologists, there is much we reveal about ourselves when we draw symbols such as trees. Carl Jung considered trees ancient symbols of the self, equating the roots to the unconscious, the trunk to our conscious, and the top to our life goals. Dr. Phillip Greenway describes trees as reflections of humans interacting with their environment.

When we understand trees as symbols and metaphors, tree reading — the interpreting of someone’s tree drawing — reveals a blueprint to ourselves. And while there are many techniques to opening up self-awareness, tree reading is among the most effective because it utilizes a third-party reader and reveals insights into your unconscious, as well as your conscious. This makes it more powerful than some of the techniques you can practice on your own.

How do I get my tree read?

Three Simple Steps:  

Step 1: Download the Tree Reading App on iTunes or Google Play.

Step 2: Draw a tree — it can be any kind of tree with any kind of detail. It is completely open to whatever you want to draw.

Step 3: Describe a few simple details about your tree and then submit to learn what it reveals about you

Building self-awareness is a lifelong journey. But once you’ve started, you can begin down the path of enacting positive change in your life.

Once you’ve opened up your self-awareness through tree reading, you’re ready for the next step: building a vision board and creating an action plan.