Self-awareness is a choice to go within. It is the only path to our authenticity and, thus, our fulfillment. Even so, most of us have been trained to focus on fitting in rather than standing out in order to achieve success. Our focus is on what others think of us instead of awareness of who we truly are. There is an underlying belief that we should already have complete self-awareness, and if we don’t, it really doesn’t matter all that much.
The standard definition of self-awareness is simply the “knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character.” Even this level of understanding can mystify the best of us much of the time – often without us even realizing we are clueless about our inner landscape. After all, who have time to be self-aware when you have a deadline looming or personal demands are piling up?
When you’re self-aware, you have an accurate and clear understanding of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs.
You know what makes you tick. Frustrating patterns that keep showing up in your life begin to make more sense. Self-awareness also includes an understanding of how others perceive you as well. Most importantly, however, this ability for clear understanding guides you to seek out and attain your true purpose and passions. You simply must know yourself in order to find fulfillment and deep personal satisfaction.
More to the point: Lacking self-awareness can lead to a very confusing and frustrating life!
Your level of self-awareness can influence your relationships, career, and happiness:
Self-awareness is necessary for taking control of your life. The direction of your life is determined by your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and reactions. Self-awareness is the principle way of understanding and directing your experiences.
Self-awareness highlights limiting beliefs and emotional reactions that block your way and it even gives you the power to make adjustments.
We can only change what we are aware of.
Self-awareness illuminates the real reasons for disappointments and challenges. We often dismiss our disappointments as bad luck, poor timing or not enough resources. It’s much more likely that you failed to perceive the situation, others, and yourself accurately. It’s much easier to see the reason behind relationship, work, and other struggles when you can observe yourself clearly.
Do you consistently struggle at work or in your relationships? Since you are the common factor in al of these situations, it’s reasonable to conclude that you’re doing something ineffectively.
Those who lack self-awareness are puzzled by their negative outcomes or blame others exclusively. The results is they are unable to create the precise changes that would result in a different, better set of outcomes!
Self-awareness is a critical quality for leaders. One study concluded that a high degree of self-awareness was the best predictor of success for executives.
Executives that have an understanding of their weaknesses are able to build a team composed of members that fill those weaknesses.
A lack of self-awareness puts a limit on your leadership abilities.
Self-awareness is the foundation for personal progress. Without it, any personal development efforts will be severely hampered. Building greater self-awareness won’t happen overnight, but it can be developed.
How to Develop Self-Awareness
Build your self-awareness one step at time:
Write your own manifesto. Think about and then document your views on life, your goals, and your intentions. You might be surprised by what you write. This is a great first step for understanding yourself and your beliefs.
Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. How do you know? Are you certain? Avoid jumping to conclusions. You may have always believed that you’re a hard worker, but are you? To whom are you comparing yourself? Provide yourself with proof before you make any decisions.
Write you life story. Don’t make this long. Just a couple of pages with the major moments – both good and bad – that were real turning points for you. Do you notice any patterns? Jot those down.
Meditate. I push meditation like no other tool – because it is that powerful! Meditation is all about developing a better awareness of the present moment and yourself. Meditation is an ideal activity for enhancing self-awareness.
Meditate at least once each day. Spend the rest of the day paying attention to yourself, others, and your surroundings. You can develop a higher degree of self-awareness by just paying attention.
Question yourself throughout the day. “What am I attempting to achieve?” “What emotions am I currently feeling and why?” “What are the people around me feeling?”
Keep a journal. Not everyone loves to write, but if you possibly can, ensure your journal is handwritten. Research has shown that writing things down activates the subconscious part of our brain, and will help you discover things you otherwise would not be aware of. Just spend a few minutes a day in this activity to begin seeing a lot of new understanding come up.
Observe where you are avoiding yourself. Many of us have some fear about looking too deeply at ourselves. We may have been told we were flawed (or worse) by people in our lives whose opinions we valued, or we may have experienced trauma we are not ready to face. In order to not look at those painful things, we can distract ourselves in any number of ways – from binge watching Netflix to work-a-holism, and more serious addictions. If, in the privacy of your own mind, you recognize a pattern of distracting yourself from truly seeing yourself, begin your self-awareness journey with some positive affirmations. This will strengthen your self-confidence and self-love for the amazing gift of self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the cornerstone of success and self-improvement. Without self-awareness, the knowledge you possess can’t be applied effectively. It’s necessary to understand your beliefs, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to make a personal change. Avoid assuming that you’re self-aware. Give it some time and thought.
Life is simply easier when you’re self-aware. You can start improving your self-awareness, and reaping the benefits any time you choose.