Are we born self-aware? That’s a question I keep asking myself. Wouldn’t it be nice to be born with the capacity to interpret our thoughts, actions and emotions?
Self-awareness is a rare skill, one that is associated with success and growth. The capacity for introspection takes time to build, but if you do you will be amazed at your confidence, self-control and ability to work effortlessly towards your goals.
Follow this, as we get to learn more about self-awareness
What is self-awareness?
Simply put, this is the ability to understand our thoughts, actions and emotions
Research has shown that self-awareness begins at 18 months of age. At this age, children become aware of themselves. This is also the age when the brain part is activated in self-aware people. The brain part is known as the anterior cingulate cortex.
Studies that assess self-awareness in children use mirrors to examine whether children can identify their mirror reflections and respond to them accurately.
There are two types of self-awareness as listed below
- Public self-awareness. This is the awareness that people have of themselves in public spaces. In such spaces, one tries to adhere to social norms and expectations. Public self-awareness is the reason why people struggle with anxiety and worry, especially when they are concerned about how others perceive them
- Private awareness. This is also known as introspection. Private self-awareness may result in self-consciousness. People who are too self-conscious tend to act up because they fear sharing aspects of themselves with others. Such people lack authenticity.
Importance of Self Awareness
Here is a list of some of the benefits of self-awareness
- You gain a greater understanding of yourself, your values, strengths, weaknesses, behaviors, feelings and patterns.
- You get to know the influence you have on other people
- You develop a sense of control both in personal and social situations
- You develop empathy for other people
- You develop the capacity to build better relationships
- You have less distress because of the ability to regulate your emotions
- You are happier
How to Develop Self Awareness Skills
Now that you know the importance of self-awareness, wouldn’t it be great also to know how to become more self-aware?
Here are some steps you can take to develop this crucial skill
Meditations allow you to connect with yourself, it removes external distractions and allows you to see your inner self.
People who meditate daily have higher levels of self-awareness. Meditate daily for 10-15 minutes and see your self-awareness grow
Mindfulness is the capacity to be aware of one’s feelings without attempting to interpret them.
Mindfulness can be attained in a meditative state but with enough practice, it can easily become a state of being.
If you develop mindfulness you will easily realize emotions such as joy, stress, anxiety, depression and sadness. When you do this, you will learn to live in the moment and also learn to accept yourself.
Journaling is an important step in improving mindfulness and also developing self-awareness
Journaling entails writing down your emotions and also processing them through writing. When you do this, you will be surprised at how easy it is to solve some issues that cause emotional distress. You will also be able to read your journal and reflect on different moments you were sad, tense, or even happy.
Asking People for Feedback
This is one of the scariest things to do. But getting honest feedback and having the ability to accept both positive and negative feedback is a sign of personal growth.
So ask for feedback, but be careful who to ask for feedback. It is wiser to ask for feedback from people who love and care for you.
The Four Archetypes of Self Awareness
There are four archetypes of self-awareness as shown in the 2X2 map presented below based on both internal and external self-awareness.
The four archetypes were developed by Dr. Tasha Eurich after conducting ten studies that included more than 5000 participants.
The study revealed two categories of self-awareness
- Internal self-awareness. This is self-perception and it includes both private and public self-awareness
- External awareness. How other people perceive you, this is obtained from seeking feedback from others.
The ultimate goal is to attain high internal and external self-awareness. Attaining this is the goal of every individual and success comes easy for individuals that attain it.
Be kind to yourself! attaining the highest level of self-awareness is a process, one that takes time, energy and effort. You will make so many mistakes along the way, but you get closer every day.
Always remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
Self-awareness will help you to understand yourself, it will also help you to understand how you relate to other people. Self-awareness is the ability to accurately introspect.
While this is a skill that can be learned, taking the time and effort to develop the skill is a great step to success and happiness