Self-Awareness is the act of having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.
We might quickly assume that we are self-aware, but it is helpful to have a relative scale for awareness. If you have ever been in an auto accident you may have experienced everything happening in slow motion and noticed details of your thought process and the event. This is a state of heightened awareness. With practice we can learn to engage these types of heightened states and see new opportunities for interpretations in our thoughts, emotions, and conversations. Having awareness creates the opportunity to make changes in our behavior and beliefs.
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 one of the attributes of Emotional Intelligence and an important factor in achieving success.
Self-awareness is the first step in creating what you want and mastering your life. Where you focus your attention, your emotions, reactions, personality and behavior determine where you go in life. Having self-awareness allows you to see where your thoughts and emotions are taking you. It also allows you to take control of your emotions, behavior, and personality so you can make the changes you want. Until you are aware in the moment of your thoughts, emotions, words and behavior, you will have difficulty making changes in the direction of your life.
Self-Awareness in Relationships
Relationships are easy until there is emotional turmoil. This is the same in your work and in your personal life. When you can change the interpretation in the thoughts in your mind, you can start to change the manifestation of your emotions and shift the emotional quality of your relationships. When you can change the manifestation of emotions in your relationships you open up entirely new possibilities in your life.
Having a clear understanding of your thought and behavior patterns helps you understand other people. This ability to empathize facilitates better personal and professional relationships.
How you develop Self Awareness
Self-awareness is developed through practices in focusing your attention on the details of your personality and behavior. It isn’t learned from reading a book. When you read a book you are focusing your attention on the conceptual ideas in the book. You can develop an intellectual understanding of the ideas of self-awareness from a book, but this is not the same.
Think of learning to be as mindful an experience as learning to dance. You are able to hone in on your experience of self –awareness when being mindful about learning. When learning to dance we have to pay attention to how and where our feet move, our hands and body motion, what our partner is doing, music, beat, floor space, and other dancers. Dancing isn’t learned from books and self-awareness isn’t either. A dancer needs awareness of their body movements. Self-awareness is what you develop when you pay attention to your expressions of thought, emotions, and behavior. When you become more self-aware you instinctively begin to see aspects of your personality and behavior that you didn’t notice before.
If you have an emotional reaction of anger or frustration, you notice many of the thoughts and small triggers that build up towards those emotions. You also notice moments when you can change the interpretations in your mind, or not believe what you are thinking. In this heightened awareness you instinctively make better choices in your thought process long before an emotional reaction or destructive behavior.
Making changes in your behavior is much easier to do when you catch them early in the dynamic, before the momentum of thought and emotion has gathered steam. The changes in your mind, and behavior become simple and easy steps to achieve when you develop self-awareness.