While on your journey toward a stronger and healthier you that loves who and what you see in the mirror every single day, you must also work on self-awareness. Self-awareness can be defined as the “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires,” and it’s critically important to seek out opportunities to increase self-awareness.
Why is self-awareness important? Seeing yourself as you truly are is a requirement for personal growth. Once you can see the truth, you can more fully develop your natural talents and use your natural passions to find greater success and fulfillment.
As Lao Tzu says, “Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”
Why Self Awareness can be Difficult
It’s easy to find fault with others and put your finger on exactly what they’re doing wrong, but finding fault with yourself can be extremely challenging.
Instead of admitting your mistakes, it’s tempting to try and escape by making excuses and justifying your actions. Or you may just ignore these errors by distracting yourself with pleasurable activities or doing something good for someone to feel better about yourself.
Alternately, you might depend on recognition and admiration from others in order to mask your faults. By doing do, your mind learns to motivate you by external praise rather than by the greater rewards inherent in living a lifestyle in congruence with your values and natural abilities.
Even though it might be challenging to find out the truth, discovering yourself can help you determine self-defeating behaviors like these so you can move toward behaviors that help you.
Be Aware of Your Motivations
Knowing your motives may not always be easy, but it’s essential if you want to become self-aware. When you say something to someone, ask yourself why you said it. Even better, ask this question before you say it.
For instance, if a couple of your friends are discussing their fear of flying, you might be tempted to barge in and tell them how you adore flying. But before you speak, ask yourself why you want to say it. Is it because you feel superior to them?
If you go ahead and blurt it out, you’ll likely find that it creates some amount of tension in your friends. Maybe they resent you for being better off than them. They just might play the game of win and lose with you and bring up something you’re afraid of.
Without self-reflexivity, all sorts of vicious cycles can be perpetuated. This is just one example. You can surely think of others.
Be Aware of Your Intentions
On a slightly different note than knowing your motivations, it’s also important to know your intentions. Your objectives can set off a chain of events, negative or positive, depending on what your aim is.
For example, let’s look at Sarah. Sarah’s secret intention is to hook a wealthy boyfriend. She doesn’t really care about his personality or what he looks like. But because the intention goes against her essential self, she is likely to invite disastrous results.
Maybe the man she attracts is also looking for some way to gain from the relationship, regardless of the cost to Sarah. In the end, there can only be a parting of ways because neither intention took the other person into account or what they truly needed for happiness to thrive.
In becoming self aware, you can delve into your intentions and modify them as you wish.
Recognize Your Patterns
We all operate on certain patterns, which we have created from our past experiences. We keep acting in the same ways, often without realizing it. With self-awareness, you can recognize your patterns, keep the ones that help you, and then form new patterns that better contribute to your goals.
For instance, a lonely individual might try and overcome his loneliness by attracting attention. He could be arrogant and flamboyant and bossy. But his behavior will create the opposite effect: instead of being recognized and loved, he may be shunned and scorned.
When you recognize these internal templates, though, you can see which ones no longer serve you. Then you can take steps toward changing them.
When you use these guidelines, you’ll have started on a path of self-awareness that can bring you great fulfillment throughout your life. As you uncover new behaviors and patterns, you’ll be able to ask yourself if they’re what you really want. Through self-awareness, you can have the life you always wanted.