Why is self-awareness an important skill to master?
What is this self-awareness, then, and why is it so necessary to stab him.
With our tight schedules, it can be difficult to find time to think about who we are, our strengths and weaknesses, our motivations and personalities, and our habits and values. Besides, many of us don’t tend to spend a lot of time on self-reflection. Even when we are given personal feedback, we are not always open to it because honest feedback is not always flattering. Consequently, many of us have a rather low level of self-awareness. This is unfortunate because self-awareness is an important first step towards maximizing your life. Self-awareness can improve our judgment and help us find opportunities for professional development and personal growth.
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness means understanding one’s weaknesses, beliefs, strengths, and desires in life. This is a skill that can be easily developed over time. We must first understand the two types of self-awareness.
Inner self-awareness refers to how clearly we see our own values, passions, aspirations, alignment with our environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), and others’ influence.
External self-expression means understanding how other people view us for the same factors listed above. People who know how others see them can show empathy and understand other people’s views.
To become a top performer both at work and at home, one must actively see oneself clearly and receive feedback to understand how others see them.
Self-awareness is the ability to observe one’s emotions and reactions. Self-awareness allows you to know your strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivators, and other characteristics. Self-awareness means looking deeper into your feelings, why you feel a certain way, and how your feelings may turn into reactions.
One example of how we treat ourselves and others consciously. For example, if someone happens to say something bad about your loved one, either about a person or an animal, we will step out to defend the team without thinking any longer. We ourselves do not doubt for a moment that he is doing something wrong; without thinking about the consequences, we resist and justify his behavior if it was necessary at all.
But when someone happens to attack you, either verbally or physically, we tend to admit the accusation very quickly and believe that it was just as he said. Now I would like to ask where this love then disappeared, the self-love that would allow us to decide that the opposite side is not right and that I am right instead.
At this point, I would like to say that what matters are not justifying someone else or ourselves, but rather understanding how we think and why we do so.
Many have also had bad self-esteem since childhood, which does not mean that we cannot change it. There is a lot for parents to do here. When we grow up at home where we only hear criticism of our own address and are not used to hearing about our own strengths, then, unfortunately, we think that we are bad and cannot get what we want in life.
It is necessary to find out your strengths and why they are your strengths, whether it is your innate talent, and whether its strength evokes good emotions in you. And at the same time, understand your weaknesses, if any, exist and why they have developed, whether they have already emerged as children and why they did occur at all.
In addition to becoming aware of your emotions, self-awareness also means knowing how you react to others. As you refine your self-awareness abilities, you become more empathetic because of the heightened emotional intelligence that comes with self-awareness. You are also more adaptable. If you know how you react, you can avoid a difficult situation by walking or even taking a deep breath a few times. Self-awareness can also improve your confidence. By being open to your weaknesses, needs, and strengths, you strengthen your ability to be vulnerable and understand how you behave in one situation or another.
Some examples of how to increase your self-awareness
Pay attention to what bothers you about other people.
Often, the things that irritate us most about other people reflect a trait that we don’t like about ourselves.
We all have aspects that we are not proud of – for example; we tend to bend the truth a little too often. Or maybe we avoid conflicts like the plague, often feeling like a doormat or used by the surrounding people.
If we don’t know how to change these things or believe we can, we can finally do our best: not think about them. And while ignorance may seem blissful, it is not. Not in the long run.
Meditate your mind
You have probably heard of mindfulness meditation. It’s a simple practice to keep your focus on your breath or some other physics lesson. Then, if you notice that your thought migrates to other thoughts, pay close attention to the focus.
Although mindfulness meditation is beneficial for everything from weight loss to relieving depression, it can actually be a powerful way to raise self-awareness.
Specifically, mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to learn more about how your thoughts work. When you practice observing and observing our thoughts without attaching to or thinking about them, you begin to realize a powerful idea: you are not your thoughts.
Too often, we lack self-awareness because we actually think too much. We easily get lost in our thoughts by assuming they are true or worth doing, simply because our minds decided to throw them at us.
Regular mindfulness practice opens your eyes to how the thinking mind works and how much more you have than just your thoughts’ content.
Read high-quality fiction
It is often said that great writers are great observers of the world around them. And it is this ability to notice the fine details and features of life that allows them to recreate it so movingly in their work.
But the best writers are first and foremost expert observers of human nature. Their job is to notice the small details of thought, emotion, desire, and action that most of us miss in the crazy business of everyday life.
And while most of us probably aren’t professionally called authors and smart observers of human nature, we can all learn a thing or two about ourselves by learning to pay attention as an author.
By carefully describing people, good fiction teaches people to think carefully and compassionately. And the better we can observe others, the more likely we are to look the same way.
So spend 30 minutes sometimes making a list of good fiction you’ve been thinking to read or ask a knowledgeable friend to suggest some of your favorites.
We all have certain emotions that we don’t particularly like. And more often, it means that we try to avoid feeling this emotion very much. The problem is that the fear of emotions is so great that we are prepared to do anything to prevent it from having quite negative consequences in the long run (such as drug abuse).
For example, if we take one overweight person and ask him why you eat so much, he will certainly not give you a perfect and definite answer. His response could be something like I’m hungry or feeling bad. This is not wrong at all, because if he eats something good, he feels good at that moment, and at that moment, it is the only right decision without thinking about the consequences. But perhaps most importantly, by avoiding emotion, we avoid listening to what emotion tells us. Negative emotions are painful because our minds are trying to get our attention, sometimes for an excellent reason.
Learning to tolerate emotional kryptonite discomfort can reveal a lot of knowledge about ourselves and our world when we are ready to listen.
Draw the timeline of your life
One of the most open tricks I’ve ever learned is to write down on paper all the star events that have happened to you since birth.
It may sound silly to you, but I strongly recommend that you do so to help you understand a lot of yourself and understand why something has gone exactly the way it has gone or concludes that you might think otherwise.
In particular, many people can make sense of or gain a new perspective on a particularly worrying or difficult time, seeing it in the “context” of a particular period.
The key to self-awareness is the ability to think developmentally and in context.
Ask for feedback (and take it well)
Here’s the question: how often do you consciously seek feedback about yourself?
If your something like me – or think most people are – then probably not often. Which is a shame because good feedback is one of the fastest and most effective ways to grow and improve yourself.
When we have many facets that need to be improved, the real problem is the parts that we do not see – our blind spot. And other people are in a unique position to notice them and help us see them. If we ask …
So how exactly should we ask for feedback about ourselves?
Choose a secure relationship in your life: parent, spouse, best friend, etc. Someone with whom you have enough public credit to be willing to bring out something negative.
Start small. First, ask for something that is not too big or threatening. It’s about increasing another person’s confidence that you can take criticism well. They are more likely to tell you about an important personality issue if you have shown them that you can be good at criticizing homework.
Take criticism well. Avoid protection at all costs. Assume that you do not feel wonderful right now when someone points out a mistake. And that’s okay. It’s normal for you to feel that way. Just try your best to acknowledge their feedback, thank them for giving it, and explain that you intend to work on it.
Take a micro-trip
New places and strange environments take us out of the routine and force us to be more self-aware.
If you end up in Italy, for example, you wonder how much time people waste on long, extravagant meals – a 3-hour dinner, are you kidding!
But after spending time in Italian culture and being forced to experience these long relaxed meals, I began to appreciate this alternative approach to meals, which was more than just a refueling process. And although I don’t eat 3-hour dinners regularly, my perspective on meals and their function has changed due to traveling and spending time in a new environment.
Of course, while regular flights to exotic countries are probably not a viable strategy for most, we get the benefits of self-awareness when traveling without having to go very far.
Micro-travel is a simple idea that we can still do travel but on a local scale. For example, if you live in a big city or urban area, you’re probably familiar with your neighborhood, downtown, and maybe a few other places. But there are probably whole neighborhoods where you haven’t spent some time. This is an opportunity for micro-travel.
Similarly, although two weeks in Thailand may not be feasible for you at the moment, two days may be in a local park you have never visited.
If we can expand our idea of what travel means to include local or nearby places that are still unknown, we can reap many of the benefits of travel – including a boost to our self-awareness – in a fraction of the time or money.
Learn a new skill
Just as travel makes us more aware, throwing us into new situations, learning something new increases self-awareness, forcing us to think and act in new ways.
As adults, we get all our ways in mind; I think largely because we end up doing the same things repeatedly. And while it brings some comfort, it also encourages thought and the narrowness of thought: when the only things we do are things we’re already good at, it’s easy to indulge in the false security feelings we know about how things work.
An antidote is what is sometimes called the mind of a novice. The idea for beginners is to learn new things; the mind must be flexible and see things fresh – like a child. This means that if we want to cultivate flexibility and freshness within ourselves and the way we see things (i.e., self-awareness), we should be a beginner. And one of the best ways to do that is to learn a new skill.
Whether it’s playing the piano, speaking Mandarin, or watercolor, committing to learning a new skill is a powerful exercise in mental flexibility and self-awareness.
Identify cognitive distortions
Cognitive distortions are inaccurate thoughts and beliefs that distort the way we see things, including ourselves. Just as we may all develop insignificant physical habits (e.g., nail-biting, late-night biting, etc.), we all have certain mental habits that do us no good.
For example: whenever something annoying happens while driving – cut off, someone takes my desired parking space – the default script in my head is: What a mess!
For some reason, I have a mental habit of calling other drivers whenever I get upset on the road. This is a problem because while other drivers make mistakes, sometimes I do too. However, if my default reaction is always to exclude and blame other people, I miss the opportunity to see my behavior and correct myself.
If every time I am cut off, I tell myself that the person cutting me off is a fool and should be a more attentive driver, I may miss the fact that I drive chronically too slowly on the bypass because I am talking to my child and not very aware of how I drive.
The point is that the main source of lack of self-awareness is inaccurate mental habits and self-conversation. If we can learn to identify these patterns of inaccurate thinking, we can become more self-aware – and we will probably feel better in the end.
Take time to explain your values.
Here’s the scary question: how often do you take the time to consciously and carefully consider your highest values and aspirations?
When you’re like most of us, busy with everyday life tends to sweep you – day by day, week by week – in a constant line of action, without a lot of thinking time, especially thinking about the most important things.
Is it any surprise that it is difficult for us to achieve our goals and find satisfaction if we do not spend time thinking about what it would look like to us at all?
What’s more, it’s probably not surprising that we end up pursuing artificial goals that culture and society say are important to us (a nice car, a big house, a trimmed waist) but that we really don’t find meaningful and cost-effective.
A special form of self-awareness involves an awareness of the things that really matter to us, clear: why are we here? What are we called to do? What makes a full life we can be really proud of?
These are big questions. And while they seem scary, it’s probably because we don’t spend a lot of quality time considering them, actually.
Try it: pull out your calendar and find a 30-minute period once a month (I like the last Friday of every month at 4:30 p.m.). Make a recurring monthly calendar appointment by that time and call it an Explanation of Values. Each month, take out a piece of paper at this time and think of ideas and thoughts related to the issue of values and what you really want.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. The important thing is that you give yourself a chance to think about it. You’re surprised what’s coming out!
Unfortunately, the concept of self-awareness can come as a somewhat magical and esoteric, complex psychological jargon to a mysterious process deep in human nature.
But these are not the case.
Self-awareness is simply the ability to observe oneself, notice, and pay attention to the patterns in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. And that is a skill we all have.
Some of us may have more or less to start with, but there are many straightforward exercises that everyone can use to improve their own awareness, no matter where it stands.