Definition of self-awareness:
conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings.
“the process can be painful but it leads to greater self-awareness”
Self-awareness is a key component of Emotional Intelligence and an important ingredient in personal success. It is a process of developing and increasingly clearer perception of your personality and behaviour. This includes increasing awareness of a range of factors including identity, strengths, talents, weakness, thought patterns, triggers, beliefs, emotions and motivations. Self-acceptance is key first step on the road to achieving greater self-awareness.
The process of self-awareness can be described in four stages:
- Acceptance – becoming content with who you are right now. Comparing current behaviours to desired values and personal standards and seeing the improvement opportunity.
- Realignment – deciding what habits to stop, start and change and continue.
- Growth – developing those habits.
- Achievement – living and being those self-awareness habits.
People are more likely to align their behaviour with their standards if they are self aware. This is because people can see that there is because people can see that there is likely to be a more positive outcome if they can live up to their own standards.
Improving self – Awareness requires effort and practice. It requires a focus on the details of how a person consciously and unconsciously behaves and the emotions involved. Many self awareness exercises are based on increasing personal insights using techniques such as feedback from others, an audience, mirrors, video/audio taping. The aim of most of these exercises is to increase the accuracy of a person’s insights and personal memory.
Self awareness involves a combination of self forgiveness, self love and presence. Self – acceptance is a key step in moving towards greater self awareness and increasing self fulfilment. It is difficult because it involves a great deal of facing up to inner self and feelings of inadequacy. It involves being honest about likes and dislikes, being open to the opinion of others and accepting how others see you. Self acceptance challenges us to accept and own our current reality as the starting point for thinking about change.
Self awareness allows us to understand and change the way that we interpret situations. This way that we interpret situations. This change in interpretation can be key to challenging emotions and behaviour. With greater self awareness it is possible to move forwards with clever intentions, discipline and understanding of the standards that you want to live up to in life. It allows you to open a door on a brighter future and new ways to grow yourself and serve others.
Without self-awareness, it is easy to get caught up in chasing external symbols of success rather than becoming the person you want to be. It is difficult to regulate your emotions, control your fears, and avoid impulsive outbursts when you feel threatened or rejected. Without being aware of your vulnerabilities, fears, and longings, it is hard to empathise with others who are experiencing similar feelings.
For many of us, memories of childhood are so painful that we shut ourselves off from our feelings. We are anxious to bury these memories altogether, we drive extremely hard to achieve success in the tangible ways that are recognised in the external world—money, fame, power, status, or giving an aura of self sufficiency . Often our drive enables us to be successful, at least for a while, but it may leave us highly vulnerable to being derailed, as our lack of self-awareness can lead to major mistakes and errors in judgment.
One of the most difficult things in becoming self-aware is seeing ourselves as others see us. Although it can be difficult to hear, The need of accurate feedback is to identify our blind spots. We must get outside our egos and listen to feedback we don’t want to hear. Young people often have not developed the self-esteem to see their mistakes and take accountability for themselves. When you can do that and be open to new ways of doing things, Understanding our outer layers is a necessary first step to going deeper into what lies beneath, because they provide the access to our inner core. Beneath those outer layers resides our understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and what we need and desire from the world around us.
Peeling the onion further, we gain an understanding of our values and the ways in which experiences often put us in conflict with our values. Digging still deeper, we learn what is driving and motivating us. Underneath these layers of our proverbial onion lies our understanding of our life story and of the way in which our experiences build our story and create a mosaic of our life. As we approach the deepest layers surrounding our inner core, we can find our blind spots and our vulnerabilities. At the core of our being is what we believe and how we envision our place on earth.
As we explore who we are, we peel back one layer only to discover a deeper and often more interesting layer underneath it. As you we nearer to our core, we find that the inner layers feel quite tender and vulnerable because they have not been exposed to the assaults of the outside world. When we do not feel in a safe place, we cover our core self to protect it from exposure and harm, and we develop a false self. At the same time we are continually growing, adding new layers of complexity, as we develop ways of interfacing effectively with the world while preserving the integrity of our core self.
“To thine oneself be true”- William Shakespeare
The change we can accomplish is almost unlimited. The discovery process never ends.
Questions to heal
- Is this self – criticism healthy or unhealthy?
- How can I make better use of the talents that I have been given?
- What are my greatest fears?
- What would really happen if they came true?
- What is my limiting potential?
- Who am I?
- Who do I want to become?
Some great questions from Yomna in regards to spotting the gremlins for our clients.
- What purpose does this belief/ideal/thought serve you ?
- What else?
- What evidence do you have that this thought/belief/idea is true?
- What proof do you have that this is invalid?
- What strategies/ideas can you come up with to change this thought, feeling or belief?
- How will these help you?
- What would you tell yourself or visualise this change to look like?
Things you can do to change the habit for yourself.
- Ask yourself – What do you really love to do?
- What is stopping you from doing it?
- Pay attention to where your energy goes where attention goes energy flows
- Use affirmations
- Respecting your body
- Taking it one day at a time
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Be aware of yourself talk and your thoughts
- Allowing yourself forgiveness
- Write a letter to yourself encouraging you to make changes and then post it to yourself.
- Write a daily journal to bring out your inner thoughts and feelings.
“The more you know yourself the more you forgive your self” – Confucius