If you’d asked me several years ago if I was self-aware, I would have said absolutely! Yep, for sure! Of course, I know myself! Honestly, I wasn’t being truthful to myself back then. I really had no idea of what it meant to know myself. I was smothered by the “isms of the world,” the labels, and the expectations of (others) who I thought I was supposed to be. Add on trauma, and you’ve got a girl trying for years to discover and uncover herself!! It took years before I could unlock the power within, and it all started with Self-awareness.
You see, self-awareness isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a game-changer in life. It’s about peeling back the layers and gaining a deep understanding of who you are. It’s about self-reflection and introspection. I work with a lot of couples, and I hear…I shouldn’t have to say it..he should know me, or she should know me. Now, that’s a lot of pressure! Somewhere in the conversation, I ask them to share what they need from one another, and more times than not, I hear…I don’t know. Honestly, I get that because I’ve been there. How could I expect you to know me and know my needs if I don’t know myself? Here’s where self-awareness comes in. Having knowledge of yourself means you understand your habits, likes, dislikes, the way you view the world, and your wants and needs. Think about this “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ― C.G. Jung. Now that is some powerful stuff. I believe that C.G. Jung is talking about the importance of looking within to understand ourselves better.
Self-awareness is centered around having the best understanding of ourselves, which means having the ability to observe and accurately identify your thoughts, feelings, and impulses to determine whether they are grounded in reality or not.
Let me say this…having self-awareness doesn’t solve your challenges in life, but it matters. Self-awareness matters because it unlocks personal growth, authentic relationships, emotional intelligence, and goal-setting clarity and helps you manage stress. One develops self-awareness, so it’s a process, but the benefits are well worth the effort.
Trying these five methods to activate and develop greater self-awareness:
- Keep a journal. This is a powerful tool for learning about yourself and helps you grow personally. Spend 15 minutes to quiet your mind and record your day. List the meaningful things that happened that day. Include your challenges and what you think caused them. Ask yourself: What did you do well? What did you do poorly? What changes do you want to make? How will you make those changes? By understanding your strengths, weaknesses, values, and passions, you can make international choices to evolve and become the best version of yourself.
- Authentic Relationships. When you know who you are, you can show up authentically in relationships. Being self-aware allows you to communicate effectively, set healthy boundaries, and build genuine connections based on mutual understanding and respect. Take some time to review your past and current relationships. Ask yourself: Why did your past relationships end? Review your romantic and platonic relationships that didn’t work out. Why did they fail? Now, consider your current relationships. What challenges do they face? What do you bring to each relationship, positive and negative? What qualities do you like in a friend or partner? What qualities do you avoid? Why?
- Emotional Intelligence. Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. By recognizing your own emotions and understanding how they influence your thoughts and behaviors, you gain greater control over your reactions and develop empathy toward others. I love the idea of gaining a greater understanding of my reactions. Self-awareness helps you understand your WHY better. There’s always a WHY. As you reflect, Ask yourself: What are my biggest regrets? Where do you think you made poor decisions in your lifetime? Why did you choose what you chose? Why do you think these are regrets in the first place? What changes can you make moving forward? Which challenges in your life are constant? Most of us have a struggle that persists. It might be our weight, finances, loneliness, depression, or a lack of satisfaction. Get to the why, so why does that one challenge in your life always seem to hang around?
- Stress Management: Think about how you deal with stress. How do you handle stress? Do you eat, drink alcohol, get sleepy, become grumpy, watch TV? How do you treat others when you’re stressed? What challenges have you caused yourself by dealing with stress poorly? Understanding your triggers, stressors, and coping mechanisms provides valuable insights for managing stress effectively. Being self-aware allows you to identify and address sources of stress, leading to improved mental and emotional well-being.
- Goal-Setting Clarity: Knowing your strengths and weaknesses enables you to set realistic, aligned goals. Self-awareness helps you identify areas for improvement and choose objectives that align with your values, passions, and abilities. List your goals, values, and priorities. What do you want to accomplish? What life do you want to live? What is important to you?
The key to enhancing your life and awakening self-discovery is grounded in self-awareness. Most of us are good at figuring out what makes a friend or family member tick. It’s much more challenging to develop the same understanding of yourself. You spend so much time with yourself that it would be a shame not to have a high degree of understanding of yourself. I encourage you to embrace the opportunity to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself, empower personal growth, and foster meaningful relationships. Remember, self-awareness is not a destination—it’s a lifelong practice that leads to a more fulfilling and authentic life.