Do you consider yourself self-aware?
Self-awareness is about being aware of how you feel and the impact your feelings can have on decisions, behaviour and performance. Emotionally self-aware people are conscious of the role their feelings can play in these areas and are better equipped to manage this influence effectively.
Why is Self-Awareness Important?
Self-awareness is crucial to success in our personal and professional lives. The better we understand ourselves, the easier it is to see the areas we may want to build on or develop. It’s impossible to improve ourselves without it. How would we know how far we have come if we had no starting point to measure against? When we are emotionally self-aware, we are present with the role feelings play in our decisions, behaviour and performance. What’s more, being self-aware will also help you develop stronger, healthier relationships with others.
So How Can You Develop Self-Awareness?
Here are five ways you can begin to develop your self-awareness:
- Demonstrate awareness of the way you feel
Reflect on the way you feel. Label and define the emotions you feel; this will make it easier to discuss them with others. Talking to your peers about issues or challenges or sharing what you like and don’t like about things are great ways to start demonstrating awareness of how you feel.
- Demonstrate awareness of the impact emotions can have on your thinking
Positive emotions broaden and build the way we think, and negative emotions narrow and limit our thinking. Pay attention to the impact your feelings can have on your thinking and interpretation of events. We need to be aware of the emotions we are having as they may impact the thoughts and decisions we make, and these decisions may impact others. Try and familiarise yourself with some of the common biases people can have and try and note which are true for you.
- Demonstrating awareness of the impact your feelings can have on how you interact with others.
The people around us can see our emotions in our facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. Try adopting a self-reflective practice (like journaling or keeping a diary) where you can regularly reflect on how you are thinking, feeling and acting. While doing so, take some time to think, why are you responding to things the way you are; what impact you’re having on those around you and how you might respond differently.
- Demonstrate awareness of your mood
Take some time to consider what you can be like in your best and worst mood. Ask others who you interact with often for their perspectives too, it’s always helpful to get an outside opinion! Then, consider the impacts your mood can have on yourself and others (positive and negative), and think about what adjustments you might make to ensure the best experience for everyone.
- Behave in a way that is consistent with how you describe yourself
If you haven’t before, take some time to really think about your values and beliefs. How do you want to show up to those around you? Are your actions supporting that view? Talk to the people you interact with most, be it your work peers, family or friends and ask them what behaviours you demonstrate that are or aren’t consistent with how you describe yourself to be. Then, you can be more intentional about how you’re showing up.
Do you have any more tips for developing self-awareness? Share them with us in the comments below!