Hindsight! That clear sense that we handled something in the wrong way and we should have done it differently. We all have behaviors and decisions that we aren’t proud of. Lacking self-awareness is something usually attributed to the younger generation, but it is possible that someone can go through their whole lives blissfully (or not!) unaware of why they behave or think the way they do. We can look back, in hindsight, and identify where we went wrong and the factors at play at the time, but how do we develop true self-awareness, so that it governs our decisions moving forward?
WHAT IS SELF-AWARENESS?
Self-awareness can be said to be the ability to understand yourself through self-examination and reflection. It is an honest, and objective, evaluation of your behaviors, decision making, thought process, and values. It is, metaphorically, looking in the mirror and seeing your true and authentic self. It is also a way of deciphering if we are living a life that is ‘true’ to ourselves. For example, sometimes we all act in a way that goes against our true nature to please others. Or, we make decisions based on what we think we should do, rather than what makes us happy. When you are self-aware, you may still do these things but you are conscious of them and make that choice accordingly.
When you are self-aware, you notice, you pay attention. It is your perception of the world and how you process information. It’s how you ‘experience life.’ It certainly isn’t an easy skill to master, in fact, some people never do. However, if you are able to apply this skill in your life, amazing things will happen.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
As the famous Vironika Tugaleva said, “To know yourself, you must sacrifice the illusion that you already do.” To be truly reflective, we have to be brutally honest with ourselves. You may be wondering how self-growth coaching can help you? When we master the art of self-reflection we start to take back some power. The power to change things in our lives that are not working, and the ability to make happen, what we really want. We really start to believe that we can create the world we want to live, by changing our perception.
Self-awareness isn’t just being aware of your faults, it involves a process of self-love and acceptance. When we love ourselves, we pay more attention to the things we want for ourselves and our lives. It isn’t being selfish, or self-absorbed, it’s about being concerned with our own self-worth and recognizing what we deserve as a human being.
HOW CAN WE ATTAIN IT?
So you’ve looked in the mirror, you’ve made an evaluation, how can you make this newfound skill a permanent part of your psyche?
It’s important to develop good healthy habits to enhance our personal growth. Here are some ways that it can be incorporated into everyday life:
- Time alone
Meditation has become a popular pastime in recent years. For good reason. Meditation forces your mind to go inward and ‘notice’ your thoughts. By making this a regular habit, you can cultivate clear awareness, and develop the ability to control your mind for the good.
Writing things down has been proven to be cathartic for the mind. Journaling helps organize the mind. The process of writing gets negativity out of your head and onto the paper, which then enables you to ‘let go’ of any negative or destructive emotions. It also helps to see clearly your goals, and how to achieve them. By giving yourself a timeline of things you want to achieve you physically observe your progress, which is encouraging.
Mantras help to reinforce positive changes in our minds. If our goal is to be more self-aware try to create a saying that you can repeat every day, or several times a day. The repetitive nature of mantras will help the brain recognize that this is a new practice and eventually it will have a very positive effect on your life.
Keeping physically active provides some personal time to work on yourself. When you are looking after your body, you are doing something very beneficial for both body and mind. Exercising, especially walking, allows for personal thinking, reflection, and a welcome break from all the things trying to take over our minds on an everyday basis.
Spending time alone may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is important if we want to work on aspects of our personality and thought process. Be sure to put aside time to just ‘be’, without the distractions of others.
We are all on our own personal journeys. Whatever our reasons for wanting to develop more self-awareness, know that it is a skill worth its weight in gold. It will help us create a life we want and most importantly, happiness!