Self-awareness is not simply the ability to gaze into the mirror and recognise yourself. For the longest time, it was seen as a sign of intelligence and awareness to be able to identify ourselves. After all, most animals cannot see themselves and think: That’s me!
Self-awareness goes beyond that. It is the ability to recognise yourself and realise that you identify yourself. Sounds confusing, right? Think of the last time you had a conversation with someone, and afterwards, as we all do, you thought I shouldn’t have said that. Our ability to not just think about our actions and words but to examine the reason behind them gives us that evolutionary edge over other creatures. Our own self-awareness also allows us to grow and get better at this crazy thing we call our lives. So, let’s have a look at some questions we can ask ourselves about our self-awareness.
Who am I?
When last have you asked yourself this question? And I don’t mean whether you are a wife, business owner, mother, firefighter, or astronaut. Those are the things that you do, not who you are. That’s not to say they do not shape you, but there was a person there before you were married and had kids or began a career. I would love to be able to give you some answers to this question, but the reality is that the solution will be unique to you–because you are exquisitely unique.
How did I become this person?
This is a tricky question to ask yourself. If you have a prestigious career, it could be that you studied and worked hard to get there. But this is only part of it. To reach your potential, you have to adapt and grow the YOU inside you. Look inside yourself and recognise the strength, resilience, and commitment it took. Those things came from within you and were never part of your university curriculum. It really does not matter what you do for a living, as the inner traits are the same.
Using our previous examples, think of this: An astronaut who finally gets to space must sacrifice, endure, focus, and commit to reaching her goals. It takes the same endurance, strength, and commitment to be a full-time mother! They DO different jobs, but that inner person is the same. Recognise her and realise how far you have come in life.
Do I like who I am?
Here we have an actual test of self-awareness! Can you see your flaws? Do you recognise the aspects of yourself that you are not happy with?
Once again, we aren’t talking about the little extra weight around your hips, the sound of your voice, or even that the shape of your eyes is not to your own liking. Instead, you must look at the aspects of yourself that can be changed, which is only possible if you begin to recognise them. Maybe you allow people around you to get inside your head and make you view yourself differently. Perhaps you’re stuck in comparing yourself to others that you don’t give yourself a chance to love yourself for who you are.
Your answer to this question can be good or evil, but it doesn’t matter. The moment you recognise a flaw inside yourself is when you have already begun fixing it. And if you genuinely see something positive, build on it!
Self-awareness is not only seeing what you do and why you do it, but it fosters a wanting to do something about it!
Just know that we all have flaws, and you always will have. But, it doesn’t mean you cannot work on them. And give yourself some credit. There is perfection inside us all, so see, celebrate those things too!
So, you’ve looked inside yourself and seen the good and the bad. You want to build on the good and work on the bad, right? Start by asking yourself why? Why do you feel the need to give too much of yourself to an abusive relationship? Why do you feel the need to help someone in trouble? Why don’t you love this life of yours?
The answers are often much more complex than we could ever hope to discuss here, but it helps to analyse the origin of your behaviour. Most times, you can track it all the way back to childhood, which may open another can of worms.
I would suggest that everyone should unpack the chest of drawers that is their inner-self at one time or another. Then, rummage around and see what has shaped you into the person you are. It may be scary, and it could be hard at times. But when your car breaks down, you must open the bonnet and scratch around in the engine to find (and fix!) the issue.
Self-awareness is not the solution to the problems in your life, but it allows you to be honest with yourself and begin the road toward who you want to be. It is something that promotes growth and a deeper understanding of your existence. In addition, it will help improve your relationships with those around you and give you a sense of peace with your own mind. But be patient with yourself as you explore self-awareness; it’s a never-ending journey, but one well worth the distance!
Until next time,