Why practice self awareness? The development of self awareness is the first step toward making any positive change in your life. Like any other skill it takes time and practice. Continue reading to learn about techniques you can use for self awareness development as well as the long term benefits.
Self Awareness Benefits
The benefits of self awareness are endless. In regards to personal development, here are some of the major benefits:
Taking control of your life
Self awareness is necessary for taking control of your life. The direction of your life is determined by your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and reactions. Self awareness highlights faulty beliefs and emotional reactions that get in the way. In doing so, it gives you the power to make adjustments.
Understanding your failures through self awareness
Self awareness can illuminate our failures by changing our perception of situations. It is easy to dismiss failures as bad luck or poor timing, but with a better understanding of ourselves can put our struggles into context. In doing so, we our perception of situations improves so that we can make informed decisions. This helps against future failures by allowing ourselves the opportunity to understand and learn from the past. Lacking self awareness can hinder personal development. Without self awareness it is easy to misunderstand failures and, in extreme cases, it can lead us to blame others around us instead of improving ourselves.
Becoming a better leader
Self awareness has been found to be one of the most important qualities of successful leadership in organizations. That being said, self awareness as a leader isn’t just about business management. Self leadership is essential for success in life. You can compare your life to a business organization: you have tasks, obligations, overhead costs, a bottom line, and so on and so forth. It takes strong leadership to manage and juggle all of that. A lack of self-awareness puts a limit on your leadership abilities.
Making real progress in your life
Self awareness is the cornerstone of success in any personal development journey. Without self awareness, your developmental tools can’t be applied effectively. In other words, you need to understand your beliefs, habits, strengths, and weaknesses before you can make a personal change. Avoid assuming that you’re self aware. Think about how you define your identity and what your core values are.
Know Yourself: Define Your Identity
A great way to start with self awareness is to understand your personal identity. Your identity plays an important role in your decisions and relationships. It includes more than just your thoughts and feelings. Take a look at these self awareness questions to get a sense of what your personality identity is.
Who is in your social circle?
Much of who you are today can be attributed to the people you are closest to. Your friends probably share interests in the same things that you do. Although you might associate “cliques” with teenagers, as adults we still tend to gravitate towards people who share similarities with ourselves. You might enjoy playing a certain board game, as do many of your friends, or many of your friends might enjoy the same movies that you do. You might have met your friends by bonding over similar situations—were you all at the playground watching your young children when you met? Did you just move to town for a new job?
How do you like to dress?
The clothes you choose to wear, the hairstyle you have, and how you conduct yourself physically combine to make up an important aspect of your personal identity. Although your appearance isn’t the only thing that’s relevant about who you are, the fact is that your physical state provides people with a picture of who you are. Maybe you like to dress professionally in a suit in tie, or perhaps you like to express yourself through new hair colors and styles.
What is your personal family history?
Where you were raised, who you grew up with, and the experiences you had as you matured from an infant all the way through your early adult years are powerful factors that shape the development of your personal identity. Think about a story from your life. Take the time to write it down, if you can. Don’t worry about starting at the beginning or how the story ends. Think about the journey: What are your thoughts and feelings about this experience? How does the experience affect who you are today?
Your feelings, thoughts and beliefs about yourself
What you feel, think, and believe about yourself are major aspects of your overall identity. In doing so, what you believe to be true about yourself is a powerful force in determining your personal identity. For example, if you believe you’re unattractive then you might unconsciously portray those characteristics toward others. But if you see yourself as someone who’s working hard to excel in her career and willing to give something to get something, you present a more positive identity to others.
Know Yourself: Find Your Core Values
One of the most useful self awareness exercises is finding your core values. When you find your core values, it can enhance many facets of your life. In doing so, you can find more like-minded people and places to work, and build an uplifting and supportive community around yourself. When you become self aware of your values it becomes easy to identify the parts of your life that need to be adjusted.
There are many self awareness techniques and tools available to help you better know yourself and find your core values. The enneagram of personality can help you discover your personality type, and in doing so, what you value most in life. You can also start by working through the 10 self awareness techniques listed below.
10 Great Self Awareness Techniques
1. Notice your thoughts
Notice your thinking patterns. What are you thinking when you’re feeling nervous? Bored? Interested? Walking down the street? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the past or the future? Do you expect the worst to happen or the best? Identify similar situations that results in similar thought patterns.
2. Notice your feelings
What are you feeling throughout the day? What do you feel while you’re eating? Driving to work? Lying in bed? Waiting in line? Once you’ve notice an emotion, question it. What am I feeling? Why? What do I need right now? How do I normally react in this situation? Is that smart?
3. Understand how you cope with frustration/discomfort
Are you often worried? Do you find yourself spending time try to make yourself feel better, or improve a situation? If you feel slightly frustrated or uncomfortable, then you may spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to change the situation or the others around you to resolve those negative feelings.
Do you try to control others? Do you attempt to distract yourself? Is your first instinct to leave the situation? Do you surf the internet or eat a big bowl of ice cream?
4. Examine your friendships
Where do you find your friends? Are most of your friendships long-term or short? When your friendships end, what is the common cause? What types of people do you prefer to be friends with? What types of people do you avoid?
5. Examine your intimate relationships
Do you see a pattern in the type of people that you’ve been involved with? What are the negative characteristics they all share? Why do you think those people appealed to you?
Think about how you contributed to the failure of your relationships. What were your shortcomings in your relationships? Are you clingy? Jealous? Too focused on work? Failed to communicate your needs? Have you changed your approach from relationship to relationship, or do you continue to repeat your mistakes?
6. Keep a journal
There’s no better way to learn about yourself than to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Studies have shown that journaling can greatly benefit mental health as it helps us prioritize our thoughts and feelings, as well as track patterns and emotional triggers.
Create a habit of writing in your journal for at least 15 minutes each day. You’ll start to notice patterns and learn a lot about yourself. Note how well you ate and slept, too. You might find some useful information. Be sure to include your high and low points for the day.
7. Write your intention
Think about and document your views on life, your goals, and your intentions. You might be surprised by what you write. If you don’t want to write, you can collect inspiring quotes from others, images, and your drawings. Put them together into a college. This is a great first step for understanding yourself and your beliefs.
8. List your strengths and weaknesses
Take the time to list out your strengths and weaknesses. Avoid jumping to conclusions. You may have always believed that you’re a hard worker, but are you? To whom are you comparing yourself? Ask a trusted friend or family member what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Think about feedback you’ve received in the past. Provide yourself with proof before you make any decisions.
9. What would others say about you?
Consider how your partner, children, friends, family, co-workers, and bosses would describe you. How would they suggest you improve about yourself? Ask them and see how accurate you are. Do you know how others perceive you? Find out how perceptive you are.
10. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about getting to know yourself. It is a tool to help you understand how your inner thoughts and feelings tend to react to situations and stressors around you. Know yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses. You can practice mindfulness in just 5 minutes each day. This blog post explains more about practicing mindfulness.
Want to Know More?
You can learn more about self awareness by uncovering your personality type. The enneagram of personality can help you develop self awareness and discover your core values in life.