Self-awareness is something which I am so passionate about both for myself and my clients. It is an incredibly powerful tool, to help you to live the life you have always wanted rather than settling for whatever comes your way.
So, what actually is it, why is it important and how do we do it?
Self-awareness is about deeply connecting with who you are and what is going on for you. The process of, and ability to focus on yourself… your thoughts, your feelings, the way you behave, the things you do and don’t do, the patterns and experiences you have. Having self-awareness means that you have an understanding of your personality, including your strengths and weaknesses, your thoughts and beliefs, your emotions, your motivations, your values and ‘your why’. It is about learning who you really are and why you are that way.
Why is it important?
Self-awareness offers many benefits to help you live a happier, more fulfilling and genuine life. It enables us to evaluate ourselves, understand how others may perceive us, learn to accept all parts of us or take action to grow, develop and learn to manage the things that impact on us.
Self-awareness enables you to…
- Act consciously, instead of reacting to people and events
- Genuinely accept and love who you are and all that you have been
- Allow people to see the real you, rather than the version you think they want to see
- Be authentically happy rather than pretending to be happy
- Manage difficult thoughts and feelings more effectively
- Make decisions and choices that improve you, your life and how you feel
- Have a deeper sense of connection in your relationships
- Overcome obstacles and reach your full potential
- Be true to yourself
- Live a content, fulfilling and meaningful life in line with your values
Imagine that life…imagine what it would be like for you, if you could do all of those things?
If we are able to deeply understand what is going on for us in our internal and external worlds, then we can make changes to improve it… It’s difficult to know how to change things if we don’t know what, why or how it needs changing, right?
Now of course, it takes more than just knowing something, in order to change it, but we can’t change what we don’t know. In fact, sometimes the more aware of something we are, the more difficult it can feel for a short time. Afterall, ignorance is bliss! But, wouldn’t you rather feel empowered to positively impact on who you are, how you feel and the life you live rather than letting life just be done to you? Being aware creates an opportunity to make changes. Self-awareness is a vital first step in taking control of your life, creating what you want, and mastering your future. Where you choose to focus your energy, emotions, thoughts and decisions determines the life you will live.
What can you do to build your self-awareness?
- Reflection, reflection, reflection
Taking time to reflect on your day can help you to make sense of what’s flowing through your body and your mind – how are you feeling? What are you thinking? How has your day been? What experiences have you had? How have your experiences impacted on you? How have you responded? Why might that be? If you aren’t used to doing this, you could start by trying to jot some things down, doing some journaling.
- Meditation and mindfulness
Can you take some time out to be present, to notice how you feel, to be still and connect with yourself…perhaps later you could reflect on what it was like for you? How easy or hard is it to do? Are there some days or times that it’s easier than others? Do some techniques work and not others? It is an incredible skill for us to learn to be comfortable just being and sitting with whatever is there for us, with a curious but none-judgemental mind.
- Look at yourself objectively
Trying to see yourself as you really are is difficult, we all have subconscious process after all, but getting to know yourself can be extremely rewarding and powerful. Would you feel safe enough and brave enough to ask someone for feedback if you could trust them to offer it sensitively and caringly? This isn’t about criticism or beating yourself up though, it is about seeing yourself through all lenses and learning how to accept all parts of you and growing in ways that you feel are important to you.
- Professional support
Sometimes, looking in to ourselves and connecting with our thoughts, feelings and experiences can feel scary or can bring up some big things. Seeking support with that can help to hold you and enable you to feel safe, whilst helping you to explore and make sense of parts of you and your experiences.
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free” – Ralph Ellison