It would seem that there is no better time than now for greater self-awareness and a better understanding of oneself including one's traits, feelings and behaviours. Having that kind of orientation, and the understanding of why we behave in a particular way, we are better able to appreciate, love and accept others for who they are. Too often we can become judgemental of other persons without realizing that they too have their own individual struggles with the knowingness of their true self and an authentic flow of their thoughts in a constructive and meaningful way.
What may surprise many, is that each one of us, we are wired differently. It's the one Creator, yet we each have gifts and talents of varying proportion. We are pre-packaged with a set of mechanism and emotional intelligence to ask the what if and the why not. Some may be more in-depth than others, but the truth is, the degree to which we develop and use that God given capacity, will determine to a large extent the kind of success that one would have in life.
It is therefore essential. No longer can we think of self-awareness as just a thought of something that is an abstract, a cliche', a philosophical view or just an idea suited for the development of just some specific group of persons.
Wikipedia's definition suggests that self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.
Warren Bennis wrote, "It is one of the paradoxes of life that good leaders rise to the top in spite of their weakness, while bad leaders rise because of their weakness...We are our own raw material. Only when we know what we are made of and what we want to make of it can we begin our lives - and we must do it despite an unwitting conspiracy of people and events against us."
It is paramount therefore of a cognitive process requiring integration of information both from the external reality and inner experience and also one's capacity to perceive the self in relatively objective terms while maintaining a sense of subjectivity.
So how does one become more self-aware? Is there a specific and or prescribed process?
Here are some keys for greater self-awareness and empowerment:
- Let it be that you stop blaming others for your choices, whether bad or good. It is you that made them in the first place and not someone else.
- Stop for a moment and do a self assessment test also known as introspection which would help you to gain some perspective
- This can be uncomfortable to begin with but get feedback from trusted and significant persons in your life. This will redound to your benefit by giving you the fastest means for gaining a better picture of yourself.
- This may take a little while to kick into action but get a coach or a mentor. The person do not have to know more than you do, they just have to see you in action and help you to be a better you.
- Often times what you think is your biggest irritation is the very thing that mirrors you or looks a lot like you.
- Look beneath your behaviour to reveal your assumptions and filters. They dictate how you see yourself and others and impact how you relate to them.
- Look at the things that are considered your roadblocks then learn to separate facts from your interpretations of them.
- A lot of negative interactions is highly suggestive of a selfish approach to life by an individual and therefore it is key to analyze yours and nip them in the bud early. Positive interactions is a sign of maturity.
- Set aside time each day, preferably at the end of each day to reflect on your own behaviour. Some questions you can routinely ask yourself are: How adaptive am I? Do I judge other people and create conflict? How do others relate to me? How do I handle difficulties? What do I do when I don't get my own way?
- Keep a journal and document your daily thoughts. This is one of the best ways to get a clear picture of what is going on around you and inside of you. Make a note of the casual remarks people make about you.
- Get in the habit of reading books that help you rethink your assumptions and address your blind spots and the problem areas you discovered. Given the resources, go to seminars and conferences that would also be of benefit to you in this regard.
- Be careful what you allow to come out of your mouth. Words mean a lot, for therein lies the power to either bring forth death or life. Your language is a reflection of your thinking and attitudes.
We do not always like to admit to things about ourselves, but self-awareness I believe is empowerment. It means that you are the one in the drivers seat again and that you are in control of developing the thinking and behaviour that will take you where you want to go. By your thoughts and and behaviour that flowed in the past, you were brought to where you are today. But I also believe that in order to grow and develop into who God has created us to be, one must admit to whatever the past or present unwanted behaviour is. There is no time for greater self-awareness like the time of now. It could be a journey at times, but one certainly worth the while taking.
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What are your thoughts? What stood out the most for you?