How to Improve Your Self-Awareness
01 Mar 2021 • 5 min read
Are you often wondering who you really are? You’re not alone.
A fast-paced life and an all-consuming world of digital distractions mean that we don’t allow ourselves to stop and be in tune with our feelings, emotions, and thoughts anymore.
Yet, now could be a great time to stop, take a step back, reflect on your life, achievements, failures, and goals and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. After all, truly getting to know yourself is the only way you can change and adjust your actions, increase your wellbeing and lead a more successful life. And the key to knowing who you are is to become more self-aware.
Before giving you tips on how to improve your self-awareness, we felt that it was important to define self-awareness and highlight why being self-aware should matter to you.
We hope this article will help you uncover your true self, reach your goals and live a more positive life!
What is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to pay attention to your feelings, characteristics, behaviors, reactions, and habits and identify your strengths and weaknesses (also called internal self-awareness). It can be defined as the ability to tune into your own feelings, thoughts, and actions. And as a result, it allows you to see and understand yourself objectively through self-reflection and introspection.
But self-awareness is not just about you. Indeed, being self-aware is also about acknowledging that what you say and how you act can affect others around you. By recognizing this, you’ll be able to understand how other people perceive you (also called external self-awareness) and adjust your behavior accordingly.
Self-awareness is an important skill because it can help you understand your worth and value while also prompting you to recognize your weaknesses, work on them, and, ultimately, achieve your goals.
Why Does Self-Awareness Matter?
Achieving your Goals
Practicing self-reflection is an integral part of developing your self-awareness. Indeed, when you self-reflect, you’re able to examine your thoughts, feelings, and actions as well as the reasons behind them. This will, in turn, help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, better understand what you excel at and where you’re underperforming, how others perceive you, and how you can improve.
Now, understanding your strengths and capabilities will give you the confidence to know that you can achieve your goals. And by acknowledging and understanding your weaknesses, you can work on them to turn your dreams into a reality.
Note that numerous studies have shown a clear link between a higher level of self-awareness and success.
Managing Emotions and Difficult Situations
Your emotions are your body’s way of communicating about a specific situation. As a result, recognizing and understanding your emotions is critical as it will allow you to keep them under control. And being able to control your emotions is an essential component of handling difficult situations. Indeed, showing anger and frustration every time stressful or challenging situations arise can prevent you from resolving issues, effectively leading others, reaching your goals, or simply living a happy life.
For instance, if a close friend or a colleague has let you down, you might experience anger, fear, and sadness. Rather than being frustrated and ignoring your feelings and emotions, you need to be aware of them to improve the situation. Indeed, by taking notice of these emotions and acknowledging them, you’ll be able to calm down and positively shift your mindset. This will, in turn, allow you to come up with a plan of action to improve the outcome.
Self-awareness is a necessary skill if you want to be a great leader, grow as a person, and live a positive life. As demonstrated above, developing self-awareness will make you better equipped to manage difficult situations in the future, thus contributing to your happiness and the happiness of those around you.
Cultivating Healthy Relationships
Human beings are social beings and thrive on relationships! Yet, the key to healthy and meaningful connections is self-awareness. Indeed, self-awareness helps you develop emotional intelligence and better relate to others. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you. It’s also the ability to acknowledge and understand that your emotions can affect other people too.
Self-aware people are usually successful at creating great relationships. And that’s because they have been able to recognize exactly what it is they’re looking for in every new person they meet. They’re also able to recognize others’ needs and characteristics and adjust their responses and behaviors accordingly.
Improving Existing Relationships
By recognizing and understanding your emotions, and what triggered them in the first place, you’ll be able to communicate your feelings effectively and take the necessary steps towards transforming your negative emotional responses into positive ones in the future.
How to Become More Self-Aware?
There are a few different ways to achieve transformational improvements in your level of self-awareness. If you’re intrigued, keep reading!
Knowing the Truth about Yourself
This step is critical as the person who is the most likely to lie to you is, in fact, you!
Indeed, our complex minds have an ego defense mechanism designed to keep us physically and emotionally safe. As a result, if you get evidence that you’re behaving in a way that doesn’t suit your self-image, and you don’t like the story it creates about you, your mind will tend to discount the evidence.
For instance, if you’re in a relationship that doesn’t work for you, but you are afraid to end it, your brain will tend to discount all the reasons why this relationship isn’t right for you and promote the reasons the other person’s flaws don’t matter to you.
It’s a way to protect you from your fears and the pain you’ll probably experience if you end this relationship. However, to improve your self-awareness, instead of suppressing your feelings and emotions, you need to be willing to acknowledge them to learn more about yourself and grow.
Asking for Feedback
Let’s be honest, asking for feedback can be daunting, and as a result, it is not something most of us happily do. Yet, asking for constructive feedback is one of the best ways to improve your self-awareness, learn more about yourself and grow as an individual. After all, others can usually see you far more objectively than you see ourselves. Not only do they see things you don’t see about yourself (blind spots), but they can also reaffirm or contradict how you perceive yourself.
Ask for feedback from someone you know very well, like a parent or close friend, for instance. Also, when doing this exercise, keep in mind this is for your own good, and try to take criticism well so the person giving you feedback is confident that they can be objective and honest.
Journaling is a powerful tool to improve your self-awareness.
Indeed, when journaling and writing about your day, or your week, and how you’ve been feeling about what has been happening in your life, you tend to engage with your inner-self. You’re able to take the time to connect with yourself and write down your feelings and your emotions. The massive benefit of journaling is that you’re usually not writing in the moment, which means you’re more objective at the time of writing. This can, in turn, help you better understand your feelings, reactions, and thoughts.
What’s more, journaling can also allow you to look at how you function in social situations.
When journaling, you need to ask yourself a few key questions such as:
- What have been some of the low and high points of the past few days or weeks?
- What has been motivating you to act the way you have?
- How did you react to certain situations, and why?
- What have you done that you’ve been happy or unhappy about?
This will help you recognize and understand your emotions, thoughts, characteristics, and reactions and allow you to improve as a person and be more successful.
Have you been trying to improve your self-awareness? We’re always curious to learn about others’ experiences and how they navigate life using different tools and techniques, so please don’t hesitate to share your story in the comment section below!