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Self-awareness (Part II)


Now we have a better idea of what self-awareness is and why it is important, how can we go about developing it?


Get a different perspective by asking for feedback. Oftentimes, we can be afraid to ask what others think of us; typical reasons for this fear are that you may hear something you don’t want to or that the feedback will be biased or perhaps untruthful. It is challenging but vital that you attempt to overcome this reticence as the potential benefits are massive. Over time, you will learn to differentiate balanced, constructive and genuine feedback from that which is not as you learn more about yourself and others. Everyone has their own personal blind spots, so it can be helpful to get a different perspective by listening to feedback from peers and mentors. You should also ask your friends for critical, honest and objective perspectives; allowing them to feel safe whilst giving you informal yet honest feedback and highlighting that they are doing this to help you to develop is crucial here. You should also feel comfortable asking your friends to bring it to your attention when you are doing something that you had previously expressed a desire to change.


Give yourself some space and time each day when you avoid digital distractions and instead spend some time doing analogue things ; reading, writing, thinking and connecting with yourself.


Write. Writing things down can help you process your thoughts, feel connected and at peace with yourself and create more headspace. If you are able to take some time each day to write down your thoughts, feelings, successes and areas for improvement, there is a greater opportunity for growth and progress in your achievements. There has been research that shows that you may experience increased happiness and satisfaction if you write things down, if they are things you are grateful for that you are struggling with. The fantastic thing about this is that you can basically do it anywhere; try this at home and you may be surprised about what ends up coming out! You can share anything, even if it is not related to your goals; this self-reflection will help you get a better idea of who you are and what you want out of life.


Give mindfulness a go. Jon Kabat-Zinn calls this “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”. With practice, you will become present with yourself so that you are more easily able to observe what’s going on internally and externally. This is all about paying attention to your ideas and thoughts as they arise, and you will be able to practice any time of the day; through mindful eating, listening or walking, for example.


Practice listening. Listening is not the same as hearing. Listening is about paying attention to more than what is being said; it is about emotions, body movement and the choice of language that is used. It is also about being empathetic without giving judgement. When you are able to truly listen to others, you will also become better at listening to yourself.


This is not an easy process


Seeing yourself as you truly are is hard and a continuous process. However, if you put in the time and effort, getting to know your self can be tremendously gratifying. Seeing yourself objectively will help you to learn how to accept yourself as well as find methods for self-improvement.


Try to recognise your current understanding by writing out your perceptions; This may be things that you see as strengths or areas for improvement. Think about things that give you a sense of pride; highlight personal achievements that stand out for you. Think about your childhood and what made you happy; what has changed and what has stayed the same? Do you know the reason for these changes? Lastly, encourage others to be honest with you about how they feel about you and, where possible, keep the positive things and discard the negative.


After going through this process, I am confident you will come out with a fresh personal perspective.


It will take time to develop your self-awareness and get to know yourself; building the required behaviours to help you become more self-aware may positively influence other areas of your life, especially your relationships.


But what you gain can be hugely transformative


Your core understanding of yourself continually grows. This can take time as it’s a journey not a destination.


You are able to use your self-knowledge as a guide to help you make informed decisions; if you know that you don’t function well with little sleep, you’re more likely to do what is required to have a set sleep routine.


You are more likely to be proactive rather than reactive; when you react, you may define yourself as the victim, whereas if you’re proactive, you’re more able to make things happen by positioning yourself in a strong position.


You tend not to take things personally; you don’t need others to highlight your strengths and areas of improvement - you already know them. You are less likely to spend your time and effort trying to change someone’s mind. You are comfortable knowing that not everyone will like you.


Mistakes are tools for growth; each failure can be learnt from. There is no need to berate yourself if you make the same mistake again because it’s likely you missed the lesson you were supposed to learn the first time round. Life is about not getting everything perfect on the first attempt.


You’re able to truly hear what others say to you, even if it’s critical or not asked for advice.


You have a better idea of the steps you need to take in order to accomplish the things you aspire to. If you have identified areas for improvement you are able to do what you have to do to improve; self-awareness can help you to be bold, confident and to take calculated risks.


You recognise your limits and are able to enforce them; if your boundaries are blurred, you can ask yourself what’s changed, why this is causing you stress and a way through. Having answered these questions, you can restructure these boundaries and enhance them.


Embracing self-awareness means living your life based on knowing who you are and sharing this with the world. It’s not about being self-focused leading to no time or energy for other people; it’s knowing who you are and why you behave in certain ways. You’re kind to yourself and to others and this comes from the perspective of truly knowing your self-worth and allowing yourself space to put yourself first.


If you’d like to find out more about this topic or any others previously discussed, please get in touch via the homepage for a free consultation today.


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