" Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Self-Awareness is the key to self-mastery."

These days life has become Robotic. Majority of our thoughts and actions are on autopilot. Our habits, routines, impulses, and reactions carry us through our lives so we don’t have to stop and think about it every time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. However, when we’re not even aware of our own habits, routines, impulses, and reactions, then we no longer control them; they control us. This lack of self-awareness is responsible for incoherence in thought, feeling, and action, leading to depression, break up, divorce, rape, suicides, crimes, obesity, drug addiction, and unhappy relations, etc.

 

What is Self-Awareness?

It is a great feeling when you can see yourself feeling, thinking and acting. A self-aware person consciously knows and understands his own character, feelings, motives, and desires. There is an increased awareness of what he thinks, what does he feel, how does he act or react, what does he interpret. Increasing awareness empties the mind of the incessant chattering thoughts so we can see ourselves and life more clearly. It is one's capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.

How does Self-Awareness Help us?

  • Self-awareness a major mechanism of self-control– The ability to monitor our emotions and thoughts from moment to moment is key to understanding ourselves better, being at peace with who we are and proactively managing our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Self-awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

  • Self-awareness facilitates better decision – Self-awareness guides you to make better choices, better decisions in life as you are well aware of the consequences.

  • Self-Awareness a tool of positive health– Self-aware people tend to act consciously and tend to be in good psychological health and to have a positive outlook on life. They also have a greater depth of life experience and are more likely to be more compassionate.

  • Self-awareness is an instrument to change the belief - Changing core beliefs is the foundation for changing the emotional quality of your life. Emotional reactions usually stem from your assumptions about how life “ought to be” not from actual events. You create assumptions about people, relationships, business deals, and stocks you invest in. Your false assumptions (beliefs) become the set up to future emotional reactions. Awareness rationalizes the assumed beliefs and gives clarity in perception.

  • Self-awareness is the first step to self-improvement– Self -awareness brings you close to your real -self. Unfortunately, as human beings, we may never fully understand ourselves. But perhaps it is the journey of exploring, understanding and becoming ourselves that makes life worth living.

  • Self-awareness is crucial for all levels of success– A self-aware person is clear about his capacities, goals. Having self- awareness allows you to see where your thoughts and emotions are taking you. It also allows you to take control of your emotions, behavior, and personality so you can make changes in your thoughts and interpretations you make in your mind which is followed by a change in emotions. Self-awareness is an important factor in achieving success.

  • Self-Awareness facilitates better personal and Professional Relationships– Having a clear understanding of your thought and behavior patterns helps you understand other people and see them with love and respect. This ability to empathize facilitates better personal and professional relationships. A self-aware person knows how to communicate when to communicate and what to communicate and this definitely improves the quality of a relationship.

  • Self- Awareness is the key to lasting happiness- If your feeling, thoughts, and actions are in coherence you feel empowered, energized and happy. You become what you want to be.

How to Develop Self Awareness?

Making changes in your behavior is much easier to do when you catch them early in the dynamic before the momentum of thought and emotion has gathered steam. The changes in your mind and behavior become simple and easy when you develop self-awareness. Awareness is developed through practices in focusing your attention on the details of your personality and behavior. It isn’t learned from reading a book. To increase your awareness following are the steps to practice.

  • Be an observer. Look at yourself objectively. Check your strengths and weakness.

  • Keep a journal. Write down your goals, plans, and priorities.

  • Create your personal manifesto. Write your core values and beliefs-What you stand for, and how you intend to live your life.

  • Question Your Negative Automatic Thoughts. Oftentimes, our automatic thoughts are negative and irrational. People who lack self-awareness will often accept these thoughts as true, which distorts their perception of reality.

  • Understand Your Life Story. Psychologists have focused on a new field of research called narrative identity. The stories we tell ourselves about our lives don’t just shape our personalities -they are our personalities. Looking at your early life story, what people, events, and experiences have had the greatest impact in shaping the person you have become?

  • Label Your Emotions. Part of being self-aware is understanding your emotions. How do you feel right now? How many emotions have you felt in the last 24 hours? What is the most prevalent emotion in your life now? Know your emotional triggers.

  • Practice meditation and other mindfulness habits. Meditation, the practice of inhalation and exhalation trains your brain to notice your mental habits—some good, some bad—and in noticing these habits, you have more freedom to choose how you act. Mindfulness is the key to self-awareness. It is like paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Through mindfulness practice, you will be more present with yourself so that you can “be there” to observe what’s going on inside and around you. It is about paying attention to your inner state as they arise. You can practice mindfulness at any time you want, through mindful listening, mindful eating or walking.

  • Practice self-discipline.
    In every area of your life, you need to practice self-discipline. This will help you develop your potential and improve your self-awareness since self-discipline helps you form habits to attain your goals in life.

  • Take personality and psychometric tests. These online tests might help you find out if you are an Idealist, rational, artisan or guardian. Reflecting on these questions helps test-takers better understand their own true characters.

  • Ask for feedback. Analyze and apply these feedbacks objectively. Ask trusted friends to describe you.

  • Develop Personal Will Power. Having knowledge of a “personal belief” or behavior and a desire to change it is not always enough. Take the smoker who knows his behavior is destructive, wants to quit, but is unable to break the habit. Along with awareness, a strong will power to change is mandatory. Recovering and developing personal will power allows you to keep your commitments with yourself and others. This is true whether the change is about addictions, emotional reactions, exercise, eating, or relationship habits.

  • Perform daily self-reflection for self-exploration
     

  1. What am I trying to achieve?

  2. What am I doing that is working?

  3. What am I doing that is slowing me down?

  4. What can I do to change?

  5. What will your legacy be?

  6. What will your life look like 20, 15, 10, and 5 years from now?

  7. What’s your North Star? What are you working to achieve over the long term?

In the end, we all want self-awareness. It is a life-long effort. Without it, one can never fully lead effectively. The power to change your life and create happiness resides within you. No one else can change what you believe and what you express. Only you have to figure it out. People who are self-aware really know themselves. They know who they are, what they want, and why they act as they do. This allows them to intentionally create the life that is best suited for them. Developing self-mastery takes time, a lot of effort and practice. but it will save you from being driven by false beliefs and emotional reactions that create havoc in life. Life becomes vastly different when you are the one who directs your mind, instead of letting the mind direct you.