Self-awareness is having a clear perception of your personality including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotions. Self-awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.
Why develop self-awareness?
As you develop self-awareness, you are able to make changes in the thoughts and interpretations you make in your mind. Changing the interpretations in your mind allows you to change your emotions.
Self-awareness is the first step in creating what you want. Having self-awareness allows you to see where your thoughts and emotions are taking you. It allows you to see the controls of your emotions, behaviour and personality so you can make changes you want. Until you are aware in the moment of the controls to your thoughts, emotions, words and behaviour, you will have difficulty making changes in the direction of your life.
Types of Self-Awareness
Public Self-Awareness: This type emerges when people are aware of how they appear to others. Public self-awareness can also lead to evaluation anxiety in which people become distressed, anxious, or worried about how they are perceived by others.
Private Self-Awareness: This happens when people become aware of some aspects of themselves, but only in a private way. For example, feeling your stomach lurch when you realize you forgot to study for an important test or feeling your heart flutter when you see someone you are attracted to.
Self-Consciousness: A heightened state of self-awareness. Sometimes, people can become overly self-aware and veer into what is known as self-consciousness. This heightened sense of self-awareness can leave you feeling awkward and nervous in some instances. In a lot of cases, these feelings of self-consciousness are only temporary and arise in situations when we are “in the spotlight”. For some people, however, self-consciousness can become a chronic condition.
Tips on how to develop Self-Awareness
1. Learn to look at yourself objectively: It’s nearly impossible to actually look at yourself objectively, but it is always worth a shot. The main idea here is to study and criticize your decisions. Even better, find some trustworthy friends to talk with and listen to their criticisms.
2. Write your own manifesto: The main purpose of self-awareness is self-improvement, so it makes sense that you need to have goals. If you’re struggling with that part, a manifesto is a great way to push yourself into figuring out what you want.
3. Keep a journal: If you want a more accurate gauge of yourself, a journal is a great way to get it. If you spend time documenting the little things like food intake, water intake or sleep, you might notice a larger trend that you can correct for.
4. Perform a self-review: The self-review is one of those annoying little things that we all do at work, but you can make them beneficial if you think of them more as a thought experiment. Instead of spending your time thinking about what you should improve about yourself, think about what your boss thinks you should do and what co-workers might say. This way, you can see yourself from someone else’s perspective and gain a little extra insight into yourself.
It’s important to remember that self-awareness is introspection, but it’s not navel gazing. Self-absorption and overthinking doesn’t get you anywhere, but being aware of your needs and acting on them can help you improve. You might not realize how often what you’re doing doesn’t correlate to what you want.
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