Today I will be discussing 12 ways to improve self-awareness.
Self-awareness is simply the capacity to observe ourselves – to take notice of and pay attention to patterns within our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. And it’s a skill that we all have.
When you step into awareness you are the observer. You step away from ideas, judgement and inner dialogue or a need to define anything.
It is in this space where you are experiencing the present moment without any distraction, you are in the here and now.
Developing more self-awareness helps you understand your emotions, feelings and the way you think.
It helps you to see yourself in a different light and gives you a whole new perspective.
By practising awareness and not identifying with what you think and feel, you create a space within you that sets you free from the impact of your thoughts and feelings.
You start to live life with more ease and flow, allowing whatever is meant for you to come to you, instead of pushing and forcing how you think things should be.
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What is self-awareness?
Due to today’s overly busy lifestyles, stress and anxiety levels have increased significantly and emotions tend to simmer close to the surface.
Some people feel tension at the chest level or in the pit of the stomach.
Others talk about feeling unhappy and dissatisfied for no reason.
Rather than acknowledge our feelings and work with them, we often ‘look the other way’, and attempt to ignore them by turning to distractions of all kinds for temporary relief.
Awareness is the antidote that has a lasting impact.
Awareness in all its forms is the very core of meditation. Individuals who meditate naturally develop self-awareness over time.
They’re able to take stock of their feelings, thoughts and physical sensations more clearly and vividly.
They may also be able to identify some subtle angles of their character, such as how they react in different situations, their behaviours and habits.
Self-awareness allows people to see themselves in a different, more honest light.
It may also unearth deep-seated emotions that they hadn’t perceived before.
Self-awareness takes courage, it’s brave and can often be confronting and uncomfortable.
Sometimes you might even question why you decided this was a bright idea in the first place.
As the term suggests, at its core self-awareness involves shifting your attention away from what’s happening around you and onto yourself.
So, instead of focusing on what other people do and say.
For example, “my partner doesn’t get it”, “my parents put too much pressure on me” or “my workplace is boring” – the emphasis is placed on how you think and feel.
It’s a shift in focus from what’s happening around you, to what’s going on inside you.
Why is self-awareness so important?
Self-awareness is important to help guide your thinking and actions.
You can develop increased self-awareness when you understand yourself better and understand how you are perceived by other people.
Having self-awareness increases feelings of gratitude and abundance.
When you lack self-awareness, you blame other people and don’t take the time to understand their point of view.
Lack of self-awareness also increases feelings of anxiousness, frustration and anger.
It takes time and energy to cultivate self-awareness and is a lifelong journey, but so worth it.
There are numerous benefits to self-awareness such as:
- Higher self esteem
- Better relationships
- Improved overall wellbeing
- Increased self-confidence
- Heightened creativity
Self-awareness is an ongoing and ever evolving process, and in order to create a greater sense of self-awareness you need to cultivate positive daily habits.
How do we put self-awareness into practice?
If we’re walking down the street, for instance, we can choose to focus on this activity alone.
Instead of being caught up in the usual daydreams or technological distractions, we might pay attention to our thoughts, emotions and feelings as we walk.
We could do this mindfully, being fully present and noticing without judging.
As we train in acknowledging and letting go in this way, we might just learn something about ourselves in the bargain.
12 Ways to Improve Self-Awareness – Ultimate Guide!
Here are 12 tips for developing self-awareness:
A meditation practice helps you to cultivate a deeper sense of awareness.
There are two types of awareness in meditation, focusing on an object, for example focusing your attention on the breath.
When you focus the mind without an object, for example on nothing, it is harder as you are asking the mind to just be in awareness.
This takes practice, at first start with awareness of the breath and with time you will be able to focus on nothing.
The more inward focus you can cultivate and the more you ask yourself questions the more self-aware you become.
Through meditation you are allowing yourself space to observe and witness your thoughts, feelings and emotions with non-attachment.
Sit for 5 mins and just simply follow the breath and see what happens.
Practice Self compassion
Self-compassion cultivates confidence, growth, and expansion. Self-criticism ignites self-hatred, anger, and resentment.
To help you cultivate more self-awareness, create the habit of a conscious practice of love, kindness and compassion.
This will break down all the barriers of love within yourself that you have built up during your lifetime due to experiences, trauma and circumstances.
Giving yourself the gift of self-compassion helps you to understand yourself on a deeper level, it helps you to open yourself up to a deeper awareness and to live from the heart.
Create a journal practice
Not surprisingly, recording feelings in a journal or on a device can help you develop self-awareness.
This simple exercise will allow you to better define your values, motivations, ideals and purpose.
If done regularly, you’ll probably start noticing trends and patterns.
You may also get a better sense of what’s holding you back from doing things you’re passionate about.
Your subconscious mind knows your hopes and fears even before you write them down.
Recording and monitoring your emotions is an effective way to communicate with your subconscious and find the means to define what you really want.
Creating a mindful practise is vital in cultivating more self-awareness.
When you are mindful, you are intentionally present in your experience.
When you are living in the present moment versus thinking and living in the past or worrying about the future you have the opportunity to manage any thoughts and feelings that come up.
In the present moment you are in touch with what is actually going on around you and observing.
You are in the here and now – whether that is brushing your teeth, drinking a tea or in a yoga posture, all that exists is the present moment.
Asking for feedback to become more self-aware
It is important to gather feedback. Feedback is a good way to understand how others perceive how you present yourself.
There are plenty of things we ourselves are not aware of.
Having a friend give honest non-judgmental feedback about our positive and negative qualities can help us know what to improve on.
Ask for feedback from someone you trust.
This someone should be someone who knows you well and would present feedback in a less hurtful way.
Give your full attention when listening
Everyone knows listening more allows you to get to know other’s better.
However, did you know that it also allows you to get to know yourself better?
Practice listening to people close to you.
You can do this by asking more questions based on what they talk about.
Making sure you understand what they are saying.
Listening with intent to understand rather than responding to what they say.
Remember not to respond to what someone says.
Take pauses and try to internalise what the other person says.
This will make your more likeable and make the other person feel good about themselves.
Explore your biggest weaknesses
It might seem unnecessary or even detrimental to explore your weaknesses, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “our strength grows out of our weaknesses.”
Once you are able to face and own these darker parts of yourself, the more freedom and power you will paradoxically experience.
My favourite way to explore weaknesses is by examining the shadow.
To begin this process, make a habit of noticing whenever you experience strong emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, resentment, and fear.
Ask, “what triggered these feelings?”
You might even like to keep a shadow journal to record your discoveries so that you can track your journey of self-awareness.
Learn from your experiences
Self-aware people have a habit of learning valuable lessons from their experiences, be they good or bad.
Being self-aware helps you become more reflective on your experiences, and focus on the positives in every experience.
People with self-awareness look for the learnings in every experience.
They take the time to understand how they felt and how they acted.
They also look at what went well and what didn’t go well in every situation.
This helps them improve how they think and act in the future.
Just like exercise and gentle movement nourishes our bodies, reading nourishes our minds.
Any kind of reading is beneficial, but to make the most of the self-awareness element, try to be mindful.
If you react a certain way to a storyline for example, try questioning why.
If you’re keen to learn more about a topic, look for books about it to expand your knowledge and fuel your curiosity.
The following are excellent books that have helped me massively with self-awareness and personal growth:
Think about your thinking
Sounds confusing, right?
Self-aware people have a habit of thinking about their thinking.
Through introspection and analysis, they get a better understanding of how they think and act in different situations.
They ask questions of themselves to get a better understanding of their motivations and their mindset.
They also ask questions of other people to get a better understanding of how that person thinks and what’s important to them.
When you think about your thinking, you can identify improvements.
This self-analysis can also help you make better decisions, improve how you spend your time and improve your relationships.
Know your own strengths
Self-aware people are honest about their strengths and weaknesses.
They choose to focus on increasing their strengths, rather than trying to fix their weaknesses.
Self-aware people are not self-focused.
They are more concerned with understanding how their strengths can be maximised to help other people.
Write down your goals and priorities
One of the best ways to increase self-awareness is to write down what you want to achieve (this could relate to career, health, family, friends, adventure) and track your progress.
Plan out your goals so they turn from ideas into a step-by-step process.
Then, break down your larger goal into mini-goals so it seems less overwhelming and you can easily track your progress.
You can also write down what you want to actively prioritise in your life, and the ways in which you can ensure you are actively prioritising those things.
Ways to Improve Self-Awareness – Final thoughts
Being self-aware and understanding how you are perceived by others are important components of personal growth and developing your potential.
Some might ask, what is the importance of self-awareness?
Well, self-awareness will help you improve yourself, establish your own identity and will help you have harmonious relationships.
Thus, developing self-awareness takes time, a lot of effort and practice.
It requires a person to pay attention to his own personality and behaviour.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!
If you have any questions please reach out to me via email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!
I really hope you found inspiration in this article.
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about subjects such as spiritual growth, self-discovery, wellbeing, addiction recovery and mental health. Please connect with me on my journey and join the community!