As humans, we have an innate desire to understand ourselves and our place in the world. Self-awareness is a key component of this understanding, and it can help us better understand our values, goals, and motivations.
The power of self-awareness is that it can help you achieve greater success and happiness in your personal and professional life.
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how they impact your life. It involves a deep understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and motivations, and it can help you identify areas for growth and improvement.
“Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence.” ~ Daniel Goleman
Research has shown that self-awareness is a critical factor in personal and professional success, as it can lead to better decision-making, improved communication, and greater self-confidence.
As organisational psychologist and executive coach, Tasha Eurich, identified in her research, there are two identifiable types of self-awareness:
- Internal Self-Awareness
- External Self-Awareness
Internal self-awareness is the ability to see how our own values, passions, and aspirations fit with our environment and reactions (thoughts, feelings, behaviors), and how they impact on others.
Eurich found that internal self-awareness is associated with higher job and relationship satisfaction, personal and social control, and happiness. She also found that those with high internal self-awareness had less anxiety, stress, and depression.
External self-awareness, in contrast, is the ability to understand how other people view us in regard to our values, passions, and aspirations.
Her research showed that those who are able to comprehend how others see them are more able to empathise and take another’s perspective. For example, for those leaders who see themselves as their employees do, their employees tend to have a better relationship with them, feel more satisfied with them, and see them as more effective.
Self-awareness, both internal and external, is therefore an important skill that can help you make better decisions, improve your relationships, and achieve success.
One of the key benefits of self-awareness is that it can help you better understand your values and goals.
When you have a clear understanding of what is important to you, you can make decisions that align with your values and work towards achieving your goals.
Self-awareness can also help you identify areas where you may need to make changes in order to live a more fulfilling life.
Furthermore, when you understand your own emotions and behaviors, you’re better able to empathize with others and communicate effectively. This can lead to stronger, more fulfilling relationships with the people in your life, at work and at home.
Self-awareness, therefore, is not only important for personal growth but also for building strong relationships. When you understand your own thoughts and feelings, you are better equipped to communicate them to others. This can lead to deeper connections and more meaningful relationships. It can also help you navigate conflicts and disagreements in a more productive and respectful way.
“Self-awareness is the first step in creating what you want and mastering the art of living.” ~ Dr. Scott Zarcinas
According to PositivePsychology.com, when you have a deep understanding of the internal self and the public (external) self through self-awareness, real freedom can be achieved.
The above studies highlight the transformative effects of self-awareness on our well-being and relationships, but how can we incorporate self-awareness into our daily lives?
Here are some practical tips to cultivate self-awareness:
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you better understand your own patterns and behaviors. It can also help you work through difficult emotions and find clarity in confusing situations.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in the present moment. This can help you become more aware of your own patterns and habits.
- Seek feedback: Ask trusted friends, family members, or colleagues for honest feedback about your strengths and weaknesses. This can help you identify areas for improvement and growth.
- Self-reflection: Take time to reflect on your own actions and decisions. Ask yourself what worked well and what could be improved. This can help you identify areas for growth and improvement.
The first step is to take an honest look at yourself. This means being willing to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your emotions and behaviors.
“The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination… until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant
Journaling is a great tool for developing self-awareness. By writing down your thoughts and feelings, you can gain insight into your inner world and identify patterns in your behavior.
Another way to develop self-awareness is through mindfulness meditation. This practice involves focusing your attention on the present moment, without judgment or distraction. It can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and how they impact your behavior.
Seeking feedback is an important aspect of self-awareness as it allows us to gain a different perspective on ourselves. Asking for feedback can be difficult as it requires vulnerability and an openness to criticism, but it can be extremely beneficial in helping us identify our strengths and weaknesses.
Trusted friends, family members, or colleagues can provide valuable insights into our behaviors, actions, and communication styles. They can point out areas where we excel and areas where we may need improvement. It’s important to seek feedback from people who we trust and respect, and who have our best interests in mind.
Receiving feedback can be challenging, especially if it’s negative or critical. It’s important to approach feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow. Remember, feedback is not a personal attack, but rather an opportunity to improve.
By seeking feedback, we can identify areas for improvement and make progress towards our goals. As Brené Brown writes in her book Daring Greatly, “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period. Seeking feedback and even encouraging criticism is an essential part of the process.”
Finally, self-awareness also involves understanding your values and goals. When you know what’s important to you, it’s easier to make decisions that align with your priorities.
So take some time to reflect on what matters most to you in life. Write down your values and goals, and think about how you can work towards them.
Self-awareness is a powerful tool that can help you better understand yourself, your values, and your goals.
By developing this essential skill, you can make better decisions, improve your relationships, and achieve success.
So take some time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Practice journaling, mindfulness, seeking feedback, and self-reflection.
And remember, self-awareness is a journey, not a destination. Keep learning about yourself and growing as a person, and you’ll be well on your way to a happy, fulfilling life.
Dr. Scott Zarcinas (aka DoctorZed) is a doctor, author, and transformational coach. He helps seekers awaken to their natural state of being by connecting them with the answers they’re looking for so they can create a life of abundance. DoctorZed gives regular workshops, seminars, presentations, and courses to support those who want to make a positive difference through positive action and live the life they want, the way they want, how they want.