Human beings are complex systems. They are social animals that have a need for others. To best relate to others, you must understand yourself and build your self-awareness. Self-awareness is about knowing who we are, monitoring ourselves, and making any necessary changes so our lives don’t get out of control. In order to become an enlightened individual, you must continuously strive to increase your self-awareness. Self-awareness requires an understanding of our values, beliefs, and traits so we can free ourselves from any false attitudes or inappropriate behaviors.
What are the benefits of Self-Awareness?
It is hard to be confident, mentally tough, and successful; without learning and improving your self-awareness. When we see ourselves clearly, we are:
better decision makers
more effective leaders
Harvard Business Review, in an article by Tasha Eurich, where she performed a literature review. She found two definitions of self-awareness. The first described it as the ability to monitor our inner world, and the second labeled it as a temporary state of self-consciousness. She defines them as internal self-awareness and external self-awareness. Internal is how clearly we see our values, beliefs, and our impact on others. External is how others see us.
They are both important. We must understand our beliefs, values, and biases. And we must know how we come across to others. Especially if we are in a leadership role of some sort.
How do we become more self-aware?
Becoming self-aware requires you to question, know, and understand your mind better. Know why you do things. How and why you react to certain stimuli the way you do. And requires you to do the work necessary to build the self-image that you want.
This is hard work because you have to examine not only what you did but determine the why and then ask the questions that can lead to change if needed. For external self-awareness, you need to get feedback from others. As a writer, I am very interested in getting feedback and questions from my readers. Am I on target? Did I totally miss the point? Is this the type of material you want to read? What other topics are you interested in?
Remember, as Tasha Eurich says in her article, “self-awareness isn’t one truth. It’s a delicate balance of two distinct, even competing, viewpoints.”
Ways to improve your self-awareness.
Forgive yourself- Since we all are a mix of both good and bad traits, many of which we are unaware of at first, you must forgive yourself for who you are. Then work on who you want to be.
Study Mindfulness- It will help you be in the moment so you can see what is going on and work on changing those traits you don’t want to display.
Learn to Meditate- This will help you have a quiet time so you can look inward and examine your beliefs, values, and traits you display.
Limit your social media chatter- It is distracting and won’t help you understand yourself any better. A period of quiet solitude every day will do wonders for you. I know, but I can’t believe it, but we don’t need to have the constant ping of incoming e-mails and messages, blaring background music, or constant chatter. We need to focus on the here and now.
Ask yourself questions and think- What do I like about myself? Am I empathetic and helpful to others? Do I criticize so I can look better than they are? Am I helpful to those in need? My two that I need to work on are 1. Listen until the speaker finishes, then think, then respond; and 2. When I don’t think you agree with my point, I try to make it by getting louder and authoritarian. Both are not the self-image I want to have. I want people to know that I hear everything they are saying, and I want to ask questions rather than get louder to make my point. A good question would be, what do you see that I don’t, to make you believe that?
“The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself.” — Ursula K. Le Guin.
By becoming self aware, you gain ownership of reality; in becoming real, you become the master of both inner and outer life. -Deepak Chopra