Knowing yourself is essential if you want to change your life for the better. Know what you are good at, and where you need to improve on. With Self Awareness, it will be easy for you to seek a career in which you can excel in; you can enrich your life because you know in which direction you should go to; you will know what you want, and because of this awareness, you will be a happier person, living the life you want for yourself and living your values and realizing your dreams.
If you want to change your life in any way, you need to know yourself before you can act. You need to know what you need to do to head in the right direction and you can’t do that until you know yourself.
Becoming self aware does not mean being selfish though. There is a huge difference between being self aware and being selfish. Selfishness is all about thinking only of yourself and being greedy, while Self-awareness is positive because by developing and knowing yourself, you can give more of yourself to other people, which will result in establishing stronger relationships, and at the same time, building your confidence and self esteem.
Self-awareness is important because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we are empowered to make changes and to build on our areas of strength as well as identify areas where we would like to make improvements. Self-awareness is often a first step to goal setting.
Why is Increasing Your Self-awareness & Living Authentically Difficult?
Increasing your Self-awareness is about living authentically and overcoming your fears. As a child, you may have been encouraged to conform or face the consequences! Most people conform… and lose themselves in the process.
Increasing your Self-awareness is a journey full of failures and successes. Finding your identity is a process with no real end point. That is, you’ll never be “done” because you’re always growing and changing – and so are the people around you.
Authentic living and Self-awareness is about expressing honest thoughts, feelings, and opinions without condemning or judging others – and it’s difficult! Overcoming fear is key.
You may have been hurt. You may have been betrayed, terrified, and even abused. Assaults are difficult to survive when they are committed by strangers – but when people who are supposed to love you, hurt you, it’s even harder to bounce back. Living authentically and finding your identity involves dealing with your past and forgiving others.
You may have hurt others. You may have betrayed friends, partners, and family; maybe you have even terrified and abused them. Everyone has hurt other people, to different degrees. These cycles of pain and destruction make it difficult to open up and trust again. Increasing your Self-awareness is about facing your mistakes.
You watch the media and see images of perfection, which doesn’t encourage you to live authentically, with all your imperfections! The gorgeous models, rock singers and movie stars look flawless. Increasing your Self-awareness means knowing these images of perfection are impossible to live up to. Finding your identity means letting the quest for perfection go. Authentic living isn’t about being perfect.
Have you let go of expectations of your parents, family, supervisors, professors, or mentors? Most likely, you haven’t. As a child, you were encouraged to color between the lines, fit in, and be “a big boy/girl” – but you are not always encouraged to overcome your fears and live authentically. Now, as you become an adult you are expected to be politically correct, mature, and responsible. Finding your identity means letting go of others’ expectations.
Increasing your Self-awareness and living authentically is a lifelong journey of self-discovery.
Questions to Ponder When You are Increasing Your Self-Awareness:
· What makes your heart leap or your soul resonate?
· When do you feel most happy and relaxed? Finding your identity is knowing what makes you, “YOU.”
· What is the first thought or feeling that pops into your head when you encounter a song, person, memory, or experience? Finding your identity involves being Self-aware.
Living Authentically Involves Negative Feelings
· When – and with whom – do you feel depressed, sad, or drained? Finding your identity involves avoiding those situations.
· When do you feel physically ill or unhealthy? Authentic living means figuring that out, and avoiding those situations.
· What meetings, visits, or events do you find yourself dragging yourself to? Increasing your Self-awareness is about limiting or eliminating those circumstances.
Increasing your Self-awareness and living authentically takes time, practice, and patience – but the rewards are well worth it!
How do I become more Self Aware?
In order to develop Self-awareness, you have to look deep inside yourself and ask some critical questions…
“What is important to me?”
“What do I love and/or enjoy?”
“What are my strengths/weaknesses?”
“What do I want to achieve in my life?”
The answers to these questions will not come easy. To develop Self-awareness, you must reflect on and digest the real meaning behind each question. Don’t just look at the surface. When you are sincerely involved with each question, and tune into how the answers can truly shape the course of your life – as basic as they may seem – you will tap into what makes you who you really are and learn what you are capable of growing into. But these questions are just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more we can all learn and appreciate about ourselves.
Why is Self-Awareness the 1st Step in Having a Meaningful Life?
Self-awareness is critical in how you view the world and its opportunities. The quality of the life you lead is determined almost entirely by your perspective. We consciously and unconsciously judge every experience we have against our perception of what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad, etc. Even though this isn’t a bad thing, sometimes it can make us all too critical of ourselves and our lives.
Perspective is everything. It is how you analyze and judge every part of your life – past, present, and future. Your perspective helps you make sound decisions based on how you see and compare different things. For example: Some of us will never know the thrill of skydiving, because from one perspective, it is far too dangerous. For others, though, it is no more dangerous than, say, driving a vehicle. And so, the thrill makes the experience more than worth the risk for these individuals. Granted, this example is a mere difference in personal preference, but you can see my point – perspective dictates our choices!
Your perspective can also cause you to judge conditions of your life and experiences too harshly. For example: Let’s say you only define success in terms of money, houses, and cars. As such, if you don’t currently make $100,000 a year, live in a mansion, and drive a Mercedes, you will consider yourself to be unsuccessful.
“I’m just not good enough!”
“I can’t do anything right!”
“You can’t get anywhere in this world!”
Perspectives such as these cause us to be overly critical of ourselves. As a result we begin to live our lives in comparison to everyone and everything else. With this frame of mind, we often tell ourselves, “I should have done this… I could have done that… If only I had this… If only I did that… ” This is where life loses its meaning- we live each day of our lives trying to “catch up” to where we think we should be. And consequently, we are never happy with where we are.
So how do we correct this? The answer is to look at our lives from the perspective of progress and potential. Recognize the progress you have already made in your life, and recognize the potential you have to be and do even more.
Congratulations! Now, excel at it and teach others.
Wonderful! Excel at it and enlighten others.
Awesome! Excel at it and help others.
These are the things we need to recognize in ourselves and use to enhance our lives and the lives of others. This comes with Self-awareness.
How do I change my perspective?
To change your perspective, you have to know and understand where your perspective comes from. How did you develop the opinions you have about yourself and about the world? What makes you feel the way you do about this and that? Who or what do you often compare yourself to? Is there another way you can look at your situation? What could you be missing? Are you keeping an open mind? Are you looking for the positive or just focusing on the negative? What are the pros and cons of the life you lead, right now?
Realize you can’t be happy with life if you’re not happy with yourself. How can you know where you truly need to be, when you don’t even know who you really are? Know who YOU are, and know what YOU are capable of, and dedicate your life to doing THAT. Don’t put yourself down because you’re not like someone else. You were never meant to be someone else – ONLY YOU! An incredible, confident, unique and powerful YOU!
What skills have you learned?
What talents/abilities do you have?
What could you teach others?
What would you enjoy doing for others?
We can no longer live our lives by comparison. We must be willing to look at ourselves individually, to develop the best of who WE are. That is the secret. It’s okay to look around you and be motivated to do and achieve greater things. That’s part of how we learn what we, as humans, are capable of and subsequently gain the courage to expect more of ourselves.
At some point, however, you have to stop working to be like everyone else you admire and begin to admire YOURSELF. That is GROWTH. That is PROGRESS. That is the root of happiness. That is what we call Self Actualization.
This “knowledge of self” gives you the POWER TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE! With it, you can choose to harness the traits you value most in yourself, and gain a greater sense of self-acceptance, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction in what you do. You can also choose to recognize those traits within yourself that are contrary to what you value, and make a conscious choice to improve on them.
The goal of Self-awareness is to help you recognize the person you are, so you can lead yourself in the direction of positive change. Help yourself become the best you can be, and find joy in each and every step you take in that direction. Your perception of yourself will begin to change, as will your perception of your life and life as a whole. This is the beginning of finding true meaning in life.
Now, I know how this may sound initially, but once you begin to understand why it is that the majority experience continual stress, anxiety, fears, and limited outcomes in their lives, perhaps it will give you the initiative to try something different than what you have been.
It’s not difficult but it will transform your entire life IF you’ll allow it to. Developing Self-awareness will enable and empower you to become a conscious and purposeful creator of the events, conditions and circumstances that make up your life unlike the majority who believe themselves to be victims or creatures of circumstance.
Whether or not you realize it at this point, the results that you experience in your life every minute of each and every day are based totally on your predominant thought processes, the pre-established beliefs you hold, as well as the emotions experienced as a result of them and what you have come to understand and “perceive” as truth. It is absolute that your life can only become as fulfilled or produce effects consciously and purposefully based on the level of Self-awareness or the lack of, that you possess.
While in many cases this can prove to be a very positive and rewarding truth, it can also, depending on what you have been previously taught to be true with regard to who and what you are, severely limit your abilities to enjoy and experience all of the limitless blessings, an “Infinite Supply” in fact, that life has to offer.
The depth of Self-awareness that we are discussing goes far beyond what most perceive themselves to be which is a physical body existing in a physical world. We are digging deeper than just the physical you and discovering the “true” essence of you that is the ultimate cause for what shows up in the way of events, conditions and circumstances in your life.
While the physical aspects of you are obviously an important and necessary part of the “Real You” that is only a very small part. Whether you currently realize it or not there is another aspect of you that will enable the physical you to experience far greater outcomes in the physical world once you acquire the Self-awareness that will enable you to recognize and utilize it.
You’ll soon discover that the you that you “perceive”, which is strictly physical in nature is very limited and subject to external events, conditions and circumstances in life limited by physical capability without recognizing and becoming aware of your “True” essence. A “True” sense and understanding of Self-awareness will reveal that you are in reality an “Infinite Being” with Infinite Potential existing in an Infinite Universe.
Self-awareness isn’t always easy to achieve–it takes some real commitment to look at parts of yourself that you may not want to see–but the effort is well worth it in terms of opportunities for personal growth and happiness.
These capabilities are difficult to develop and even more difficult to optimize. We all know of people who have difficulty recognizing their emotions, the triggers that cause them to respond emotionally, or who are handicapped by their emotions. Likewise, we know people who are misinformed or even “oblivious” about their abilities and limitations. They seem to avoid or ignore feedback and have little interest in improving. We also know people who are delusional in regard to a lack or over abundance of confidence.
Having understood the meaning and the importance of Self-awareness, we will start discussing in the next few weeks, how we can utilize these concepts in balancing our Life Wheel.
In the meantime, I welcome you to share your Self-awareness story on this blog and I promise to read your story.
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.