Why Is Self-Awareness Important
Self-awareness is step number one and the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.
Without adequate self-awareness, we struggle to understand others, to manage ourselves, and to develop healthy relationships.
Self-awareness is a process.
Because the world around us is continuously changing, and because we are forever changing, we never finish developing our own sense of self-awareness.
Self-awareness is never wholly about one’s own self.
We mostly learn about ourselves in relation to others.
No one succeeds alone.
All major accomplishments occur within a system of cooperation and competition.
To learn who we are, we have to act upon the world by trying things.
We learn by action, by making mistakes, and by learning from these mistakes. We cannot become self-aware solely through self-reflection. We must act upon our world to learn from it.
A good, successful life begins with self-awareness.
To Boost Your Self-Awareness
1. Learn about yourself:
- My strengths?
- My core values?
- My mission and purpose?
- My passions and interests?
- My blind spots?
- My personality?
2. Practice some form of self-reflection:
- Meditate or pray
- Write about your feelings
- Talk to others about your feelings
- Listen, really listen, to their feedback
3. Set goals
- Know what you want and
- Where you want to go
4. Understand others
- Know how others feel
- Feel how others feel
- Seek to understand others
- Learn to read individual differences
- Become sensitive to the feelings of others
- Learn to understand myself in relation to others
- Practice active listening:
- Not debating, not defending, and not counter-attacking
- Seek first to understand than to be understood
5. Manage emotions and actions
- How do I handle stress?
- How do I manage anger?
- What do I “say to myself” about difficult situations?
- How do I talk myself down from getting upset?
- How do I manage my moods?
- How do I get myself out of a bad mood?
- How do I manage my time?
- How well do I take care of myself (mind and body)?
6. Enhance self-management
- Be aware of emotional flooding: the moment your emotions trump your ability to think.
- Be aware of faulty thinking. Bad ideas can lead to bad action. Example bad ideas include: I must be right all the time. I must never admit vulnerability. I must be loved and approved of by everybody, all the time.
- Avoid counter-attacking.
- Practice delaying gratification.
7. Display empathy toward others?
- How well do I display understanding towards others?
- How well am I able to express my feelings?
- How positive am I with others?
- How well do I exercise good self-restraint?
8. Deal with difficult situations
- Personal and professional elevator pitch: How do I introduce myself to people I meet?
- How am I at asking good questions of others?
- How well do I actively listen to the other person?
- How am I at sustaining long-term relationships (family, social, personal, professional)?
- How would I rate my ability to influence others?
- How would I rate my ability to lead others? To manage relationships?
- Know it’s not always about me.
- Realize we are all on key personality spectra and may need different amounts of time or rationale for decisions.
I would be interested to hear about your self-awareness journey and anything you learned as you worked through the section on boosting your self-awareness. ~Dr. Rob