The importance of self-awareness

The importance of self-awareness

11 January 2024
Gerrit Sarens
Gerrit Sarens
  • True self-awareness is a rare quality

  • Awareness is the ability of the individual to make sense of themselves and, consequently, of the world around them. Self-awareness is the ability to observe and accurately identify your thoughts, feelings, and impulses and determine whether they are grounded in reality or not. According to research, only 10–15 percent of people are fully self-aware. Most people live in a state of cluelessness and incompetence.

    Self-awareness is one of the most important psychological traits you can develop within yourself for the rest of your life.

  • The two types of self-awareness

    1. Understanding your values, interests, goals, compatibility with your environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, and behaviors), strengths and weaknesses, and impact on other people is considered internal self-awareness. Greater job and relationship satisfaction, social control, and happiness positively correlate with internal self-awareness. Anxiety, stress, and depression are negatively correlated.
    2. External self-awareness is understanding how other people see you in light of the same circumstances as those mentioned above.
  • The benefits of self-awareness

  • According to studies, we are more confident and creative when we can see ourselves clearly. We have better relationships, communicate more clearly, and make more informed decisions. We are less likely to commit theft, lie, or cheat. We work harder and get promoted more often. Furthermore, we have/have happier employees, more profitable businesses, and more effective leaders.

    1. Improved self-regulation: being self-aware allows you to recognize and understand your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, which can help you regulate them more effectively. This can lead to better decision-making and problem-solving abilities and increased resilience in the face of stress and challenges. You are comfortable saying no.

    2. Greater self-acceptance: self-awareness can also lead to a greater sense of self-acceptance and self-compassion, as you can understand and recognize your strengths and limitations. This can lead to more self-confidence and contentment with who you are.

    3. Enhanced empathy: when you are self-aware, you can better understand and relate to the experiences and emotions of others. This can lead to more empathy and compassion towards others, which can improve your relationships and your ability to connect with people on a deeper level.

    4. Improved social behavior: when you understand what is expected of you regarding social norms, you internalize it. You feel shame when social standards are not met. Self-awareness can restrain anti-social impulses and increase personal responsibility to adhere to internalized social standards.
    5. Clearer communication: by comprehending yourself, mainly the why, you can express your happiness, sadness, frustration, and hopes to others in a clear and understandable manner.
    6. Enhanced personal growth: gaining awareness of your thoughts and feelings enables you to spot opportunities for personal development and implement constructive changes in your life.

  • How to increase your self-awareness

  • To become more self-aware, you must reflect on your thoughts and actions, consider how they affect other people, and learn to be honest with yourself.

    1. Fill in online questionnaires: structured questions encourage introspection and reflection.
    2. Lose your self-limiting Gremlins, the soulless remnants of a judging family system. Forgive yourselves for imperfections, and offer yourselves kudos when you deserve them.
    3. Try daily check-ins: ask yourself how you feel. Consider what triggers contribute to the day's negative emotions. Assess what causes you to feel happy when you are experiencing any positive emotions. Try to maintain a forward-looking and proactive mindset.
    4. Spend more time with people and less time staring at a screen. Human mirroring helps us establish our sense of who we are in relation to others.
    5. Asking for feedback helps you gain a more objective perspective by acknowledging your natural biases—which we all have—against yourself. Without the help of others who can be trusted to give us honest feedback, we might occasionally find ourselves living in our own little bubbles, unaware of how our actions affect others.
    6. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It can help you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment.

    7. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you better understand them and reflect on your experiences.

    8. Talk with a coach, mentor, or therapist who can help you to explore your thoughts (before choosing the professional to work with, think about your objectives and the kind of support you require).
  • Self-awareness doesn't happen immediately. It takes time, commitment, and practice.

    • What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.

      Abraham Maslow
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