If the answers are strongly YES, then you are living with self – awareness. Developing your self-awareness helps you learn more about yourself and this can help in navigating life, relationships, challenges and fulfilling your potential. It is about understanding how you behave and where this serves you in life.
This can help if you want to know more about yourself. Do you feel a need to change? Has something happened in your life that has made you assess and then address how your behaviour needs to be changed? Are you self sabotaging? Are you feeling lost and listless maybe? Are you acting and being triggered in ways that ultimately cause you more anguish? Are you self aware?
To me developing self awareness was a gradual shift which started around 7 years ago with a desire to unpack feelings of malcontent and how I was reacting to certain situations. This developed into a gradual understanding that I, infact all of us, are products of our childhoods and the resultant learned adult behaviours shape our lives. I started speaking to the inner child and he was a little lost (although he did have a strong basin haircut and a penchant for denim dungarees). Think about yourself as a child. It’s a very powerful shift in self love.
I undertook some therapy (Stick with it!). Following a particularly challenging period in my life, I slowly began to unpack who I thought I was. Through that 12 month (and ongoing) process and a conscious decision to develop a life based around gratitude, contribution and self awareness my thinking shifted. I started to love myself unconditionally, and care more about other people, whereas previously I was programmed to be continually triggered by conditional and co-dependent relationships and my inability to navigate them.
This means that you can’t see your true identity or worth because it’s being shaped and manipulated by your response to external factors and people. You are constantly being triggered but not having the skills or self awareness to navigate those feelings and know how to feed them back in a way that clearly articulates boundaries, feelings and needs. It’s like you are running on auto pilot without the stop button when you can clearly see the chaos and damage your behaviour is igniting around you. YOU need to get off the cycle, to learn to pause, to address emotions, to understand your triggers….you become self aware.
“Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace”
– Dalai Lama
You evolve without needing to blame others and even further that you don’t need to understand or agree with other people to allow yourself to heal and build who YOU are. You learn that you will NEVER change someone else unless they want to change and that it becomes necessary to leave certain relationships to find your true self. You stop feeling guilty for wanting what you want. Selfishness is fine in a balanced life.
Self-awareness is really just about being aware that you are in control of your responses and confident of who you are. It relates to knowing your own values, beliefs, personal preferences and tendencies. You begin to focus on your behaviour, to take responsibility for your actions, your mistakes, your contribution to the world at large and people you love.
‘The truth will indeed set you free’ – John 8:32
It’s your truth you need to nurture.
You know how famous people always say, ‘Stay true to yourself’? This is really important advice, but it’s not easy to stay true to yourself if you don’t know who you are. By becoming self-aware and understanding your strengths and limitations, you open up opportunities that just aren’t available otherwise. You’re also able to have more honest and genuine relationships because you will start to attract who you really are not who your auto piloted previous self was.
The first step in self-awareness is to listen and observe yourself. What’s going on in your mind? Is it a series of negative thoughts that make you feel pretty crappy? Or are you always looking on the bright side?
In practice: Take a couple of minutes each day to sit in silence and listen to the tone of your inner voice. Meditate, go for a walk, sit for a while. Also when you become overwhelmed or triggered sit with it and let it process.
It helps me to write down your self-talk.
Your senses (sight and sound, in particular) can provide you with huge insights into your own and other people’s feelings, and situations in general. But these senses are often viewed through the filter of our self-talk. For example, a frown doesn’t always mean that someone’s angry, and a groan doesn’t necessarily mean that the person you’re talking with is bored, despite what your inner voice might be saying.
In practice: The next time you feel that someone is judging you, or has made you feel bad about yourself, take a step back and write down why you think this. Ask yourself, ‘Could I have interpreted what was said/done differently?’ You might find that your interpretation was clouded by your own negative thoughts. Pause, sit in those feelings, don’t react and consider why you are triggered.
This can be hard if you’re not the kind of person who likes to think too deeply about your feelings. Your feelings are spontaneous and emotional responses to the things you experience. Like your senses, they give you good information about what’s going on around you, should you choose to tune into them and then articulate them to people, a therapist or journal them. They are better out then in and it’s important to acknowledge them to heal them. Once you capture and then share them you start to become aware of why your feelings lead to patterns of behaviour that don’t serve you well but lead to more negativity. Listen to your gut as it’s telling you something.
Remember that you already have some self-awareness, otherwise you probably wouldn’t have chosen to read this factsheet.
Write down a list of your personal values and the things you think you’re good at. Challenge yourself to practise the tips given above for a week. Start to understand who you are and what is your truth.
Watch how you become far more aware of how you are triggered, how you process, where your self worth lies and most importantly develop a sense of truth anchored around what matters to you and your values.
‘Secrets make you sick’
Only when you can become honest with yourself can you start to project that in the world and become truly authentic, to live with purpose and be proud of the real you. Don’t worry if you lose a few people along the way as others will step in.
If would like to discuss this blog with Ed, or ask him to talk on personal development or men’s issues please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope the above helps. I am not a therapist but I’m happy to talk about my journey into self awareness…and yes I still mess things up, make mistakes all the time and lose my temper with Natwest Bank, although I am pleased to say the denim dungarees have now gone.
Good Luck !
Books that helped
“I hate you, Don’t Leave me” – Understanding the Borderline Personality
“Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown