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What is self-awareness and why is it important to you?

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Let’s presume you’re about to say something hurtful or impolite to someone who has offended you. But before the words leave your mouth, you begin to consider the implications for yourself and others.

Congratulations! It means you’re self-aware.

“Knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions” is the definition of self-awareness. Knowing that the one thing in life over which we have control is our perception of our world is what self-awareness is all about.

Self-awareness signifies being aware of the different parts of yourself and your personality, such as traits, behaviors, and feelings. It is an actual psychological state in which one’s attention focuses on oneself. One of the first aspects of anyone to emerge is self-awareness. Even though self-awareness is an integral part of who you are, it’s not something you immediately notice. On the other hand, self-awareness becomes a part of who you are, emerging at different times depending on the circumstances and your personality.

Self-awareness does not appear overnight. Children learn to realize and identify their emotions, strengths, challenges, and likes and dislikes as early as childhood. And it continues to evolve.

Private and public self-awareness are the two types of self-awareness. When people become informed of something about themselves that others are not, such as their fear of reading aloud, they tend to have private self-awareness. Once people are aware of how others perceive them, they are said to have public self-awareness. This type of awareness does not begin until the age of five. Before that, most children are unaware that others do not always think and feel the same way they do. They are both important in their own way. Here are five reasons why:

It makes you know your strengths

Knowing your strengths is an integral part of self-awareness. Investing the time and energy to examine your life will reveal what you’re good at doing.

What is the significance of this? Every job interviewer will inquire about your strengths. When answering this question, the more self-aware you become, the more accurate you can be. When you know your strengths, you can spend more time improving them, mastering a skill, and using them to get a lot of things done.

It makes you see your weaknesses

It’s just as important to know your flaws as it is to know your strengths. It’s rarely fun to think about where you’re failing, but if you want to keep improving, you need to know what you need to improve.

Self-awareness of your flaws creates an opportunity to exercise self-compassion. Knowing your weaknesses is yet another critical habit to develop to live a happy life. Identifying your scars will be less painful if you’re both honest and compassionate with yourself.

You become a better listener

Nowadays, everyone wants to speak and not a lot of people want to listen. Most people are preparing a response while half-listening to the person speaking and half-listening to their thoughts. People with low self-awareness are notorious for being poor listeners. Why? It’s challenging to do that for others if you don’t listen to yourself and don’t fully comprehend your thoughts and feelings.

Self-awareness exercises the same muscles that make you a better listener. Self-aware people are also good listeners because they can recognize how their emotions and perceptions affect how they communicate.

It improves your critical thinking

The capacity to handle and analyze information objectively is known as critical thinking. Critical thinking gives you a broad mindset, which can be valuable in a variety of situations, both personal and professional.

When you’re self-aware, you can recognize the subjective aspects of yourself, such as your feelings and opinions, and try not to let them dominate your critical thinking.

You’ll know yourself better

Opinions, emotions, beliefs, ambitions, and viewpoints all influence our actions and decisions. Recognizing that root is critical to success in life—both personally and professionally. Confusion is inevitable when there is a lack of understanding. You’ll have no idea why you do what you do or feel what you feel, and if something goes wrong, you’ll have no idea where to start. The greater your foundation is, the more self-aware you are.

Self-awareness lets you learn more about yourself and enables you to think before you speak and consider how your actions may impact the world around you.

But why do people tend to lack self-awareness? What makes them unable to see things from a different perspective?

Most of the time, it usually stems from a fear of the unknown or being vulnerable. In other words, people who lack self-awareness are afraid of being exposed. They don’t know what they feel, think, want, or do because they are afraid of being judged or rejected by other people. It’s hard for them to tune in to their inner selves and sincerely connect with the people around them because they encase themselves in their bubbles. As a result, they begin to doubt their own worth. When they begin to doubt their self-worth, they then form bad habits around their own opinions and beliefs, such as refusing to see things from another’s perspective or refusing to believe that they are wrong in some way.

And believe it or not, in any form of relationship, whether intimate or business-oriented, that’s bad. People who lack self-awareness are likely to ruin positive relationships with others simply because they refuse to understand themselves. Lacking self-awareness not only hurts you but those that are connected to you directly or indirectly, which is all the more reason to be self-aware.

Learning to be self-aware is a lifelong journey that can begin at any time. Here are some methods for gaining a better understanding of yourself and who you are:

Understand what sets you off

In terms of self-awareness, knowing what makes you angry, stressed, or envious can go a long way.

What is the reason for this? When you understand what triggers your negative emotions, you can be more selective about who you interact with, where you go, and what you do. It also helps you become more aware of how you react to things you can’t control in your environment.

Ask for honest feedback

Understanding yourself necessitates venturing outside of your little comfort zone. Request feedback on your attitudes, traits, or behaviors from someone you trust, such as a sibling or close friend. This person can help you pay more attention to what you do and say, as well as how others see you.

Tolerating feedback is not a walk in the park, to be honest. Remind yourself that genuine constructive criticism isn’t an attack on your character. Instead, it’s a valuable tool that provides direction for potential personal growth and development. While you’re at it, try to listen completely without becoming defensive. This makes it easy for people to give accurate feedback.

Try new things

Immersing yourself in unique experiences is one of the best ways to increase self-awareness. You can get out of your comfort zone and see how you act, think, and feel in new situations when you try new things. After all, your comfort zone is a place where you feel at ease. It’s a psychological state in which you’re operating on autopilot, with dependable thoughts and feelings. This mindset limits your perspective to a portion of yourself rather than the entirety of who you are.

Luckily, a unique adventure does not have to be complicated or costly, and it could be as easy as learning how to sing, meeting new people, or even trying out a new recipe. What matters is that you do something that allows you to see things from a different perspective.

Write down your thoughts

When you jot down negative emotions, you can seriously rethink scenarios and identify the common triggers. Journaling can also help you question your own beliefs.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to journaling. To cultivate self-awareness, don’t be afraid to try out different journaling methods. Writing one line every day for a certain period or in a guided journal that has prompts built-in are two examples.

Conclusion

Choosing to lack self-awareness might not necessarily make you a bad person, although it will make you less effective and, even worse, unhappy. Consider what makes people who are successful happy. They’re there for a reason. They are fully aware of who they are and how valuable their presence is, and they’ve honed their emotional intelligence to a fine point.

Remember: Self-awareness takes time, so it won’t just appear out of the blue. It will take time to truly understand yourself and your surroundings. However, when you do get to that point, it gives you a whole new meaning to your life and the interactions you have with others.

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