We often hear how self-awareness can make a difference in our lives, but what does it really mean and why is it important? In a nutshell, self-awareness means having the ability to tune in to your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
With a high level of self-awareness, you are able to evaluate yourself objectively, manage your emotions, align your actions with your values, and also have a more accurate understanding of how other people see you.
Importance and Benefits of Having Self-Awareness
As humans, many of us are often driven by our feelings when interpreting what’s going on around us. It’s easy to get blinded by what we feel which prevents us from assessing and responding to situations objectively.
By increasing your self-awareness level, you will have a better understanding of what your strengths are and the challenges you are facing. Moreover, you will also be aware that how you perceive yourself may be different from how others perceive you, and you’ll be okay with it.
Having high self-awareness allows you to be more successful in what you do and navigate life’s twists and turns. You won’t be easily overwhelmed by situations. You will be better at decision-making, building relationships, and communicating. You will have more control of your personal and professional life since self-awareness gives you the power to influence outcomes.
Being self-aware is so great because it also makes you kinder to yourself and others because it allows you to understand things from different perspectives. It can free you from false assumptions and biases. It also reduces stress.
Moreover, according to research, those who see themselves clearly are more confident and creative—being self-aware benefits you in every aspect of your life. Ultimately, self-aware people are happier and enjoy better relationships.
Two Types of Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is often categorized into two different types.
Public Self-Awareness – This type of self-awareness emerges when you are aware of how you are perceived by others. For instance, when you are at the center of attention when talking to a group of friends. Usually, it makes us follow social norms. Most of us often act in ways that are socially acceptable and desirable when we know we are being watched. Unhealthy levels of public self-awareness can cause evaluation anxiety. This happens when you become anxious, distressed, or unreasonably worried about how other people’s perception of you.
Private Self-Awareness – This happens when you become aware of some aspects of yourself that others might not be. For example, you feel butterflies in your stomach when you see someone you like.
How Can You Cultivate Self-Awareness?
While only a few people possess this skill of being highly self-aware, anyone can develop it. Here are ways you can cultivate self-awareness:
Taking time to go over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can do wonders. You will have a better understanding of how well you are doing in terms of your standards and values. In doing introspection, make sure to focus on the what instead of the why. Instead of simply asking why you are failing in something, ask what keeps you from doing your best or from acting the way you should that aligns with your values. “What” questions will give you more objective answers, and it is easier for you to find the solution to your concerns.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal allows you to identify, accept, and have a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings. It can also help you discover what matters to you, what you don’t want in your life, and what isn’t working for you. If you don’t know where to start, here are some prompts:
How am I feeling today?
What have I accomplished today?
What challenges did I face?
How did I react?
Have I done anything that I wish I didn’t? How can I keep myself from doing it again?
What goal do I want to accomplish?
It’s completely up to you how you’ll go about with your journal. You can write free-flowing entries, bulleted lists, or even express yourself through poems. Recording your thoughts and feelings helps you not only become more aware but also more intentional.
Ask Your Loved Ones
Knowing how people see us is also important. Sometimes, there are things about ourselves that others are aware of that we fail to notice. Ask your family and close friends to describe you in an honest way. This isn’t an invitation for a bashing session, but ask when to share with you constructively. Make sure to talk to different people to get a more comprehensive view of yourself in the eyes of others.
Think about what they say. See what rings true with what you already know about yourself and what surprises you. But keep in mind that what matters most is your self-beliefs and what you feel about yourself when it all comes down to it.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness means being present at the moment and focusing on yourself and your surroundings instead of getting lost in thought or daydreaming. Meditation refers to the practice of focusing your attention on one thing. It could be via breathwork, a feeling, a mantra, and letting your thoughts flow rather than holding on to them. I even tried it practicing mindfulness through pottery once.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation helps make you more aware of your internal state and your responses to things. Both practices also help in identifying one’s thoughts and feelings.
Reiki and Intuitive Healing
Reiki helps us become more self-aware by quieting the mind and emotions for us to receive intuitive insights. Reiki removes interference such as stress, anxiety, depression, and constant mental chatter that keep us from evaluating our thoughts clearly and regulating our emotions. Receiving Reiki or practicing Reiki for self-healing consistently paves the way to self-awareness.
Self-awareness allows us to spot what triggers our feelings and behaviors. However, there are behavioral patterns that we may have a hard time overcoming because we don’t know the root cause. More often than not, it is due to suppressed emotions or traumatic experiences in the past. This is where Intuitive Healing, which is an advanced form of Reiki energy work focused on emotional healing and emotional release comes in.
Intuitive Healing sessions help us become aware of emotions that we didn’t even know were there. This form of energy healing is able to locate, identify and release negative emotions stuck in our bodies. This way we are able to completely leave old patterns behind. From there, we can return to our true self, but better, with more self-awareness.
These suggested practices are incredibly helpful tools to help us cultivate more self-awareness. With self-awareness, it creates a real opening to personal development, leading us to live much fuller, meaningful lives than ever before.