When was the last time you stopped to think about your life and how it was going? Did you take the time to think about where you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to be? The answers to these questions are revealing. If we examine them sincerely and honestly, they can help us lead happier lives.
Being self-aware is one of the essential traits for a successful person. Unfortunately, as humans, we have many flaws in our thinking that prevent us from being self-aware all the time. There are so many human biases that it would take several articles to cover them all.
Personal awareness is imperative to living a happy life. However, there’s a specific difference between objectively realizing the truth about yourself and being acutely aware of your objective self. A lack of self-awareness will get in the way of happiness because it can cause you to sabotage your relationships with others. It can prevent people from accessing their deeper emotions, hide any frailties or imperfections we may have, and keep us chained in our comfort zones.
What is self-awareness?
The first step towards self-awareness is understanding what self-awareness means. The definition of self-awareness is “the ability to recognize one’s feelings, strengths, weaknesses and behaviors and those of others” (Merriam-Webster).
Personal awareness is essential to feeling content with life and has a powerful influence on how we think, feel, and behave. It is the ability to see yourself objectively. However, most people aren’t entirely aware of who they really are and consequently don’t know how to be happy.
Why is being self-aware important and why lack of self-awareness is harmful?
Being self-aware allows you to recognize your flaws and work on them. It will enable you to be aware of your emotions and how they affect your behavior and decisions. The great thing about being aware of your flaws is that you can do something about them. You can constantly strive to improve yourself and reduce the bad things in your life while increasing the good stuff.
However, a weak sense of self is harmful to our relationships and friendships, setting us up for conflicts and disagreements. And when we want happiness in our lives—but don’t have it, the struggle with self-awareness fuels frustration and discontentment.
What are examples of a lack of self-awareness?
Many of us lack self-awareness in everyday life, even though we don’t realize it. We are often our own harshest critics and feel like we’re never good enough. When we don’t understand that other people see us as we see ourselves, it creates a lot of unnecessary conflicts. We also tend to make decisions based on what we think will happen instead of what will happen.
Figuring out ways to spot signs of a lack of self-awareness will allow you to be better able to make rational decisions when making decisions for yourself or someone else. Here are some examples:
Not being receptive to objective feedback
Whether at work, school, or home, we face situations where we receive criticisms or genuine feedback. And when we do, we should accept it graciously and reflect on it.
If you’re making excuses and not accepting responsibility for your actions, you lack self-awareness. When presented with objective feedback, take the time to reflect on what happened and why it happened and allow yourself the space and opportunity to learn from it and grow.
Always (if not, most of the time) playing the victim card
While it might be comforting to believe that everyone is infallible, the reality is that we all make mistakes at some point in our lives. People who can’t admit their mistakes and instead shift the blame to other people or other external factors have a weak sense of self.
The willingness to admit mistakes is a sign of strength. It can be a risky move, but it’s a powerful demonstration of self-confidence and self-awareness.
Being too emotional and overreactive
When you lack self-awareness, you might not realize why you’re feeling the way you do. You might also not understand the consequences of being too emotional or overreactive can be—or even care.
Self-awareness is the ability to identify your emotions and understand why you feel that way. It’s an integral part of emotional intelligence, allowing people to manage their feelings in healthy ways and communicate effectively.
Feeling the urge to control everything
Today, it seems some people are always trying to control things outside of their influence. This is a sure sign of a lack of self-insight. When we’re feeling powerless, it’s easy to act out in ways that make us feel more in control. It can be as simple as keeping your work desk neat or as complex as developing a new habit of micromanaging every little detail that crosses your path. It can also be damaging when other people’s lives are involved or hurt.
The truth is, though, there are certain things you shouldn’t try to control. Be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t control and focus your energy on what you can do something about.
How can you improve upon your self-awareness?
Self-awareness is a skill, and like any skill, it can be improved. Awareness of self and improving your emotional intelligence is an essential part of overall happiness. It’s crucial that you understand why you’re happy or sad, why you’re acting the way you do, and most importantly, how to be aware of those things around you that influence how you feel.
Having a concrete self-insight and being emotionally intelligent is one of the most important intrapersonal skills you can develop to reach your potential, but it’s also one of the hardest. Here are some self-awareness tips you can start doing today:
- Take three deep breaths when you feel the urge to react to a given situation impulsively. This is easier said than done, but once you’ve familiarized yourself with this technique, it can help you think more clearly and objectively about your life decisions. Meditating regularly will also help us be more at peace, and control or improve our impulsive behaviors.
- Start journaling your emotions and thoughts. By writing down your feelings on a piece of paper or a digital word document, it can help you be more aware of your thoughts and establish a concrete self-insight.
- Have a “heart-to-heart” talk with a confidant. Whether with a family member or a close friend, being open and transparent with your emotions and hearing what they think about you or your actions will help you gain self-awareness. Plus, you will feel better when you open yourself to others.
- Ask for help. With our age of accessible information, we now have access to resources that we can use to improve ourselves with just a touch of a button. These are not limited to subjects taught in schools but also topics on self-development. Talking to a professional or enrolling in personal development courses are good ways to start with.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Self-improvement is a long process, and if you’re coming from a place that lacked self-awareness, you need to learn to be forgiving of yourself every step of the way. Everyone has their own pace in their journey to their happiness.
Self-awareness is a crucial trait to have
Personal awareness allows us to understand who we are and why we do things. Without it, it’s nearly impossible to improve our lives, change our bad habits and learn from past mistakes. It’s an essential aspect of being human and being happy.
We know, in reality, it’s challenging to be fully aware of yourself and your thoughts and feelings at all times. But it can be a big problem if you’re not mindful of who you are and how you interact with the world around you.
Learn how to develop self-awareness. Sign up for personal development courses at Skill Success!