For many years, self-awareness has played a key role in psychology and how psychologists approach their patients.
More recently, it’s become a focus for managers, too.
But what is self-awareness and do you really need it?
Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at what it means to be “self-aware” before helping you cultivate more self-awareness so you can take a renewed and more focused look at your life.
Practicing self-awareness allows you to learn a lot about yourself, teaching you things about your inner self that no one else could tell you.
Being self-aware means you have an acute sense of your character, including your emotions, your thoughts and beliefs, your motivations, and your strengths and weaknesses.
When you cultivate this self-awareness, it becomes easier for you to understand how other people perceive you, while also allowing you to appreciate them, too.
You may already believe that you’ve got good self-awareness, but as you start to look deeper into yourself you may realize that you’re not as self-aware as others. And working to nurture this will allow you to change your interpretations and personal thoughts, which will play a huge role in your overall success.
Becoming self-aware means you can take the next step toward creating the life you want. You’ll be able to analyze what your passions truly are and how you can achieve these.
Why You Might Find It Hard to be More Self-Aware
Despite this importance of self-awareness, a lot of us aren’t as self-aware as we could be.
Because a lot of the time we’re focused on many other things, and this doesn’t include observing our own behaviors. We aren’t trained to pay attention to our innermost thoughts and how they’re affecting everything around us. Instead, we go from day to day doing what we have to do to. Our minds aren’t focusing on how we feel or what we’re doing.
Equally, we’re often guilty of confirmation bias. This means, when something arises, we interpret this new information in a way that confirms our original thoughts (our pre-conceptions). We’re wishful thinkers.
This means we don’t always interpret a situation correctly and don’t gather the right pieces of information from it.
Furthermore, because we don’t ask for the right feedback, we might not have a rounded view of ourselves, especially with how other people perceive us.
How to Cultivate More Self-Awareness
Thankfully, there are some easy ways you can start generating more self-awareness for yourself:
1. Indulge in Some ‘You’ Time
When you don’t take some time out for yourself, it’s going to be hard for you to see things clearly because you’ll always be surrounded by other situations and distractions.
Try to leave some time each day where you have some space, whether that’s reading, writing, listening to music, meditation, or just having some quiet time. It’s important to remove yourself from digital distractions, too.
2. Listen to Your Emotions
When we’re making a decision, many of us will shut out our feelings in order to make a “rational” choice. However, in doing this, we’re often only living up to other people’s standards and ideals.
Therefore, to make an effective decision, you need to listen to your inner feelings, too. Include them in your decision-making process. If your gut instinct is saying something different to your rational thoughts, ask yourself why.
Consciously try to recognize your emotions rather than pushing them aside – this is the art of mindfulness.
3. Make a Note of Your Feelings
Writing down your thoughts not only helps you come to terms with what’s going on in your life but it can also create more space for other thoughts in your mind. By putting pen to paper, experts suggest it makes you happier as it controls how intense your emotions are.
Write about how you’re feeling, what you’ve observed throughout the day, and what you keep telling yourself.
This will also allow you to track your thoughts and feelings over a long period of time, defining your motivations, values, and other aspects of your life that may be holding you back.
You might just be surprised how revealing your diary is, as it will give you access to your innermost thoughts, which you perhaps weren’t fully aware of.
4. Become a Good Listener and Gain New Perspectives
Cultivating self-awareness isn’t just about listening to your own thoughts and feelings, it’s about learning from others, too.
Listening involves paying attention to other’s language, body movements, and emotions, before showing understanding and empathy, not being quick to judge or criticize them. By being a good listener you’ll be better able to listen to yourself.
Equally, by asking people for feedback, you’ll get a more balanced view of yourself. Even though it’s hard to ask others for their opinion, it’s crucial for your self-awareness, even though some feedback may be dishonest or biased at times.
Practicing at self-awareness can provide you with a solid foundation to build upon, and is a fundamental way to learn more about yourself and your wants, needs, and desires.