Self-awareness doesn’t sound sexy. Heck, it triggers fear of your reality. But, self-awareness is the first step to all the other steps in both your personal and professional life. Read to the end where you will learn practical ways to build self-awareness.
Why is this important, you ask?
Without self-awareness, you’re missing out on your best ways of being, executing and connecting. And the rest of the world is missing out on the “true you.” Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge and understanding of your own personality, including strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, emotions, motivations, triggers, and the impact of your behavior on others.
Self-awareness is like when you hand a pair of full-spectrum glasses to someone who has been color blind their entire life, or when you turn on cochlear implants and a toddler finally hears their mother’s voice for the first time. Look at all the colors I can see! Listen to all the sounds I can hear!
Self-awareness is crucial in our lives for various reasons, as it significantly impacts our personal and interpersonal well-being.
Here are ten key reasons why self-awareness is important:
1. Improved decision-making: You make more informed and thoughtful decisions because you understand your values, goals, and motivations.
2. Better emotional regulation: Self-awareness allows you to recognize and manage your emotions effectively, leading to greater emotional stability and resilience.
3. Enhanced self-control: It helps you resist impulsive behaviors and make choices that align with your long-term objectives
4. Strengthened relationships: You can communicate more openly and empathetically, fostering deeper and more meaningful connections with others.
5. Conflict resolution: Self-awareness leads to better conflict management and resolution skills, as you can identify the source of disagreements and work toward solutions.
6. Increased empathy: Self-awareness fosters a better understanding of the emotions and perspectives of others, promoting more compassionate and empathetic relationships.
7. Personal growth: It’s a foundation for self-improvement and growth, as you can identify areas in your life that need development and take proactive steps to make positive changes.
8. Stress reduction: Self-awareness helps you recognize and address stressors, leading to lower levels of stress and improved well-being.
9. Career success: You are often more effective in your professional life, as you can leverage your strengths and work on your weaknesses to achieve your career goals.
10. Authenticity and self-acceptance: You tend to be more authentic and accepting of yourself, leading to a greater sense of self-worth and contentment.
Without self-awareness, you don’t have an accurate picture of reality. The leader who thinks they’re passionate is shocked to get fired one day for anger issues.
The dad in his fifties is insulted when his doctor warns him he’s dangerously overweight.
The young woman in her late twenties is confused why she keeps attracting losers to date, never once wondering if she’s the one who needs to change first.
So, how do YOU know if you really have self-awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and motivations. It involves a deep understanding of your own personality, strengths, weaknesses, and how you relate to others.
While there’s no objective measure of “stellar” self-awareness, there are several signs and practices that can indicate a high level of self-awareness.
See how many of these you can give an emphatic, “Yes, this is true for me!”
1. Reflection: You regularly take time to reflect on your thoughts, actions, and experiences. You ask yourself questions like, “Why did I react that way?” or “What am I feeling right now?” and seek to understand your inner processes.
2. Emotional intelligence: You have a good understanding of your emotions and can manage them effectively. You can also empathize with the emotions of others and manage your relationships well.
3. Acceptance of flaws: You are comfortable acknowledging your imperfections and mistakes. You don’t try to hide or deny your shortcomings but instead work on improving them.
4. Feedback seeking: You actively seek feedback from others and are open to constructive criticism. You use feedback as a tool for personal growth.
5. Adaptability: You are able to adapt to different situations and environments. You understand your own limitations and can adjust your behavior and responses accordingly.
6. Self-reflection practices: You engage in practices like journaling, meditation, or therapy that help enhance self-awareness. These activities encourage introspection and self-exploration
7. Mindfulness: This involves being fully present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It can improve self-awareness by helping you recognize your thought patterns and emotional reactions.
8. Personal growth and development: You are committed to personal growth and development. You set goals and work on self-improvement, constantly striving to become a better version of yourself.
9. Healthy self-talk: You have a positive and balanced internal dialogue. Instead of being overly critical, you offer yourself constructive and compassionate self-talk.
How many of those are true for you?
What are some opportunities (the ones above that aren’t true for you right now) to grow in your self-awareness?
It’s important to note that self-awareness is a lifelong journey, and there is always room for growth and improvement. Nobody is perfectly self-aware, but you can work on developing and refining your self-awareness over time.