In order to successfully navigate life we need to be aware of who we are. This includes having a strong understanding of our thoughts and emotions and how we manage them.
But the great news is we can build self-awareness no matter what age or where we are in life.
What is Self-Awareness
Simply put, self-awareness is an individual’s understanding of how, why and what they feel and think.
Someone who is self-aware would acknowledge that they may not be as even keeled a on particular day if they haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. This awareness will keep them from making rash decisions, eating too much out of exhaustion, and will encourage them to go to bed earlier the next night.
If someone with low self-awareness doesn’t get a good night’s sleep they may end up being curt or short with others and remain in a foul mood all day.
Benefits of Self-Awareness
Descartes was close when he said “I think therefore I am,” but really it’s: “I think therefore I am awareness”. Because you are the awareness of your thoughts and emotions, you are not your thoughts and emotions.
Self-awareness is life changing because self-awareness is life.
If you aren’t aware you are still alive but if you lack self-awareness, then you aren’t truly living. You’ll be a prisoner to your thoughts and emotions instead of controlling them.
The benefits of self-awareness are unlimited and each person will benefit in different ways according to their circumstances. However, there are common benefits people who are self-aware will enjoy like:
- Bouncing back quicker (more resiliency)
- Higher Emotional Intelligence (higher pay, better relationships)
- Stronger Connections (fulfillment and happiness)
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Better emotional management
- Accomplishing Goals
3 Ways to Build Self-Awareness
1. Acknowledge You Are Awareness
Acknowledging you are the awareness of your thoughts, feelings and emotions and not your thoughts, feeling or emotions is the first step.
It would look like saying (or thinking), “I am acknowledging feelings of anger right now,” instead of saying “I am angry.”
This simple swap will help you separate yourself from powerful feelings, thus taking power away from the feelings and allowing you to respond in a manner consistent with your goals.
2. Pile on the Questions
Self-awareness is found when we question our motives and thoughts.
For example, if you think you want a big house, ask yourself why? Your answer might be that you want your family close by. Ask yourself why? You may want your family close by because you love them and you enjoy spending time with them.
So it’s not that you want the big house, you want your family close by and for people to be comfortable. This may seem like a small shift but it will help you fine tune your goals and understand your “why” behind your wants. And when we understand our “why” we gain clarity and our desires are easier to get.
You hear a lot of self development and self-help gurus talk about journaling. It’s because journaling is awesome! Not only is a journal a place to collect your thoughts, it can help you become self-aware.
You don’t need a journal to reflect and can reflect simply by setting time aside to consider and understand why you responded the way you did. For example, if someone says something that pings a powerful emotion and you get quiet and reserved you can look back on that situation and use questions to understand why the comment elicited a strong emotional response.
Ask yourself, “why did I do that?” when you reflect and you’ll become more aware.
Why We Aren’t Self Aware
Since we live in a commercialized society largely influenced by organizations that need us to spend, spend, spend emphasis is made for us to base our identity on external objects.
So while we are busy learning we need to have the latest tech or new clothing trend, and while we are being told what to think, we aren’t learning how to manage our emotions and how to think productively.
Self-awareness changes all of that. It will help you to find out what you really want and to act in ways that will get you closer to your goals.
So work on your self-awareness and LMK how it goes!