Self-Awareness for Personal Growth

5 Key Reasons to Become Self-Aware

 Self-awareness for personal growth is an enhancement to introspection. Self-awareness is the habit of paying attention to the way you feel, think, and behave. You can look for patterns in the way you process certain situations and how you perceive what happens. 

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Being self-aware can understand your moods and emotions; to remain curious about your feelings. 

You can also pay attention to how you tend to act and behave in situations, your normal responses, and different habits. There are many reasons you should become more self-aware, and here are five key reasons you should become more self-aware.

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Self-Awareness for Personal Growth = Improved Moods

Your mood is related to how you are thinking and behaving at any given moment. If you are thinking of something sad, you begin to feel sad and unmotivated to do anything. On the other hand, if you think about something exciting, you are happy and motivated to conquer anything that life has in store for you. 

When you are self-aware of how you are thinking and making it a point to think more positively, you will begin to notice that you are more outgoing, happier, and see things as the glass half full. 

If you want to improve your moods and be happier, try thinking happy thoughts. Be more optimistic and see things from a positive light rather than a negative one. It may not be easy, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

 Effective Communication When Being Self-Aware

 When you are more self-aware, you are better able to articulate what your morals and beliefs are. You are better able to express yourself because you know what you believe. You are not trying to portray what others have told you. Don’t feel like you are trying to mimic what others ask you to believe; embrace your judgments, views, and ideas. 

Become more assertive when you know exactly what you think or want because you will not let anyone waiver your thought process. You know what is right for you, and there is little that anyone can do to change that. 

However, you must be able and willing to listen to others and show that you are open-minded to their ideas. If you are practicing prober self-awareness, you will understand that there are things that you do not know and be open to learning.

Better Relationships When We Add Self-Awareness for Personal Growth

 We all know that relationships can be challenging. However, think about how much easier a relationship can be when you know what you are looking for in a partner or friendship. If you know what you want, then those people that do not line up with your expectations may not be the best fit for you. 

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Be careful with this; however, there may be things that you think you want but really isn’t the best thing for you. Be aware of what you are willing to look past and decide on characteristics you know you would want in a friend or partner. You need to consider many things, but being more self-aware, you will be able to answer some, if not all, of the questions you have.

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Be Self-Aware for Better Decision Making

Poor decision making often comes because your mind is clouded, and you are not thinking straight. When you are self-aware, you will know when you are not thinking clearly, and you will wait before reacting or making certain decisions. When you can wait, calm down, and think about the situation you are facing, you will make better decisions.

Increased Productivity – Another Benefit

When you lack effort or commitment, you will notice that you begin to struggle to work and find that you are getting in your way. When you see that you are struggling to work, it is usually due to certain moods, thoughts, or emotions that are getting in your way. Once you can recognize this, you will be able to work past it and clear your head to perform better.

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Becoming Self-Aware for Personal Growth

If you want to be a self-aware person, then you can. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do it; you just need the ability to practice introspection.

 The skill to listen and accept feedback, the ability to improve your communication skills, and ultimately, to be honest with yourself and to be honest with the people in your life will improve all your relationships. 

As you practice these skills, you will grow in self-awareness and become a better friend, partner, boss, employee, parent, and confidante. 

Self-awareness is all about you, even if it does have a benefit to others. Don’t focus solely on what is wrong with you; use your self-awareness to boost your communication and interactions with the people in your life and how it can help you and those around you.

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To get you started, consider the following questions. 

It may seem like an overwhelming list of questions – but just take them one at a time. Slow and easy as you grow in introspection and being self-aware. Print the list out or bookmark this post.

• Who am I really?

• What am I most proud of? 

  • Do I love myself? Take care of myself well?

• What am I most grateful for?

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  • What character defects interfere with living my best life and being my best self?

• What is the most essential thing in my life?

  • Does guilt or shame keep me up at night? What is the situation?
  • List all the things you have the power to change about yourself? What would you like to change?
  • What interferes with your joy and contentment?
  • Describe your worst personal experience? What did you learn? How has it influenced you and your life?
  • Are my relationships satisfying or sabotaging me?
  • What are my regrets?

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More Questions – Self Awareness for Personal Growth

  • Is there anything I need more of?
  • What do I want to erase from my life?
  • Am I happy?
  • Am I fulfilled?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Am I living my purpose?
  • Do I sabotage myself?
  • Do I harm myself?
  • Is my life one big drama?
  • Does my career fulfill me?

• Who do I spend the majority of my time with? Do these people hold me back?

• What is my biggest goal? What is standing in my way of achieving it?

• Where do I draw support from?

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• What are the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the last twelve months?

  • Do I take the time to promote my personal growth and development?
  • Do I like myself?
  • What weaknesses do I need to work on?
  • If I only had 3 months to live, what would I do?
  • What regrets will I have on my death bed?
  • What regrets do I feel now?
  • Am I at peace within myself? What is missing?

• How can my past experiences help me in my future? Next, Do I focus my energy and attention when I feel stressed out or overwhelmed? Finally, is this the best way to spend valuable resources?

Key Challenges Faced With Introspection And Gaining Self-Awareness

Tasha Eurich, an executive coach, researcher, psychologist, and author, told Harvard Business Review that research shows 95% of people believe themselves to be self-aware despite the fact that only around 10% of people actually are!

That’s quite a gap between perception and reality. That means 85% of people are lying to themselves about being self-aware, whether they realize they’re lying or not. 

So, perhaps the biggest challenge we face as we attempt introspection to gain self-awareness is ourselves. We are our own most significant hurdle. The only way to move forward in self-awareness is by understanding your behaviors, reactions, and how you can better relate to other people, make good choices, and improve through self-awareness for personal growth. You have to deliberately expand self-awareness to do this.

Okay – so, what is self-awareness?

It’s a clear-cut perception of your personality, thoughts, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and beliefs. It’s having a deep understanding of your thought processes and triggers. When you are self-aware, you are awake to the impact you have on your own life and the lives of the people around you. 

And what is introspection? It’s the reflection that comes from self-awareness. It’s based on the internal insight that we shape based on the examinations of your thoughts and feelings. Meanwhile, retrospection requires advanced metacognition skills. It’s a much deeper dive into your feelings, and it’s an active look at past events. Where you draw conclusions to constructively acknowledge what you have learned.

Your story binds you. It shapes your identity. It influences how you relate to the world, whether in relationships, work, or otherwise. We store old news and allow triggers to bring those thoughts and feelings back to the fore, regardless of reality. That’s what shapes your beliefs. That’s what contributes to your perception of reality.  

The Key Challenge with Self-Awareness for Personal Growth

Ultimately, the key challenge you will face with introspection and self-awareness is you.

  • Yourself

Self-awareness, retrospection, introspection… they’re lovely, but sometimes they are inaccurate. Why? We base our internal quest on flawed assumptions. As we become further entangled by our stories we are easily distracted by repetitive thoughts. We are too busy drowning in beliefs, assumptions, and perceptions we have borrowed from others. So, we begin at the wrong starting line, thus leading us to ask the wrong questions. You won’t gain self-awareness if you can’t ask the right question. 

When you start by asking why you open the door to justifications and excuses. You have an assumption to jump on; you take it personally and formulate answers based on biased data. It feels true… yet, it’s wrong. Sometimes confidence can overtake rightness. When you continuously ask why you find ways to reinforce the reasons without investigating whether they are rational.

Master Self-Awareness

There are two distinct types of self-awareness, and both are necessary to see yourself clearly. 

  • The Actor’s View

This is who you think you are. It’s what you think your values, aspirations, motives, fears, drive, and reactions are. 

  • The Observer’s View

This is the version of you other people know based on obvious behavior and actions.

The difference between the two can be significant, but they’re not related to each other. Just because you have a clear view of who you are doesn’t mean that you have a deep awareness of how others see you. 

There is usually a gap between these two things, and we communicate one thing while doing another. The gap between the actor’s view and the observer’s view is where the most hurt is caused. Your perception of the world is a reflection of your self-awareness. 

Ready to Be Self-Aware? It’s time to do the work. 

  • Ask what, not why. 
  • Confront limiting beliefs, no matter how deeply held they are. 
  • Permit yourself to be vulnerable. 
  • Don’t make assumptions about how well you know yourself. 
  • Commit to seeing things through different eyes. 
  • Pay attention to your self-talk. 
  • Get comfortable with discomfort. 

Through being self-aware, you can shape your identity and mindset. Don’t be afraid to explore yourself. 

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Self-Awareness Today

Duval and Wicklund initially theorized that self-awareness as a concept in their 1972 book entitled A Theory of Objective Self-Awareness. The book theorized that by focusing on ourselves, we can develop a deeper understanding of our strengths and weaknesses, habits, values, and motives (Surban, 2020).

 With this knowledge, we are empowered to make the necessary improvements and adjustments. There are various ways that self-awareness can be enhanced; let’s look at five of those methods. 

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of keeping attention focused on a particular sensation (i.e., breathing, sound, physical sensation, etc.). As the mind begins to wander, one simply brings their focus back to the object of their attention for the desired amount of time of meditation practice. The practice of mindfulness meditation increases self-awareness by teaching you how to focus more intently. 

If you can focus on your breathing or a physical sensation for some time, you can then learn to focus on your thoughts for a period of time. It is an awareness of one’s thoughts that can provide more in-depth insight into one’s emotions and motives, ultimately impacting behavior and choices (Wignall, 2020).

This deeper level of consciousness can provide critical information needed to change or address one’s emotions and motives, as a means of leading to more positive thoughts, and therefore more positive behavior and outcomes. 

Journal 

The act of journaling can be a reflective exercise that can significantly help increase self-awareness for personal growth. Journaling allows us to take time to write out our thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

 It is via a review of these thoughts, feelings, and experiences that we can identify patterns and understand how our thoughts, feelings, and experiences may influence our actions and behaviors. As a result of identifying those relationships, we can make the necessary changes to improve our lives (Surban, 2020). 

Ask for Feedback

It can be hard to honestly observe ourselves as ourselves. Sometimes it can be beneficial to get the input and observations of others as we attempt to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. Other people can see our blind spots and provide us with valuable information about ourselves that we can use to help improve our behavior. Thus, actively seeking out feedback from those close to us can be a useful tool in helping us learn more about ourselves and grow as a result (Wignall, 2020). 

Practice Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is the practice of setting aside time to think back on your life. This means being intentional about assessing and analyzing your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, actions, and choices. 

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Consistently reflecting upon these things will get you in the habit of regularly obtaining information about factors that influence your life and behavior. Via regular reflection, you can quickly catch things that may be negative or off and therefore negatively influencing choices. Then you can quickly and efficiently adjust accordingly instead of allowing that negative influence to remain unchecked and wreak havoc in your life (George, 2015). 

Goal Tracking 

Writing down goals and then tracking progress towards those goals is a final strong strategy for boosting self-awareness. This activity works to identify patterns or habits that might be keeping you from reaching your goals or being ineffective as you work towards those goals. 

For instance, one might spot a tendency to procrastinate via goal tracking by noticing a continuous pattern of meeting deadlines late. 

Seeing where we desire to be and how much progress we are making on that quest can help us tailor our actions to be more effective and efficient, rather than wasting time and effort (Tjan, 2015). 

Self-awareness is a critical tool in helping us grow as individuals and make progress in our lives. Without self-awareness, we can get stuck in old and negative ways of thinking and stunt our growth and prevent us from reaching our full potential. By regularly working to enhance our self-awareness, we can put ourselves on a path toward advancement that will get us closer to our goals. 

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References:

George, B. (2015, September 28). Know thyself: How to develop self-awareness. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-is-your-true-north/201509/know-thyself-how-develop-self-awareness

Surban, G. (2020, August 20). How to be more self aware: 8 tips to boost self-awareness. Develop Good Habits. https://www.developgoodhabits.com/what-is-self-awareness/

Tjan, A. (2015, February 11). 5 ways to become more self-aware. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2015/02/5-ways-to-become-more-self-aware

Wignall, N. (2020, August 21). 10 simple ways to improve your self-awareness [With examples]. Nick Wignall. https://nickwignall.com/self-awareness/

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