5 Ways to Increase Your Self-Awareness
There are simple but effective ways to build and practice self-awareness, here are some of them.
- Practice visualization.
Visualization is the formation of mental visual images. Visualization through visual imagery has been an effective way to communicate both abstract and concrete ideas since the dawn of man. Visualize the best version of yourself to reflect your hopes, dreams, aspirations and speak to your skills, abilities, achievements, and accomplishments that you wish to attain. You can use this visualized self to keep moving in the right direction instead of getting distracted by setbacks and other obstacles, as you press on to becoming a better version of yourself.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.
Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on one thing, such as your breath, a mantra, or a feeling and letting your thoughts drift by instead of holding on to them.
These two practices may seem trivial, except for the fact that we often veer from the matter at hand. The mind takes flight and then we lose touch with our body and soon we are engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And this causes anxiety.
Through practicing mindfulness and meditation, you can become more aware of your internal state and your reactions to things. They can help you identify your thoughts and feelings and prevent you from getting caught up in them such that you lose hold of your “self”
- Ask The ‘What’ Question.
The ability to self-reflect is at the core of self-awareness. The problem is that a lot of people go about self-reflection the wrong way by asking themselves the wrong questions. There is a trap of self-sabotage in asking the ‘Why?’ question and it’s a tricky one. This is because in asking the ‘why’ question, you’ll need access to your subconscious to get an accurate answer, which a lot of people do not have access to. As a result, we make up inaccurate answers. These kinds of answers have the tendency to drive us down a rabbit hole of negative thoughts by focusing on our weaknesses and insecurities.
On the other hand, asking the ‘what question’ puts us in the objective and open space of considering all the factors influencing a particular outcome. This kind of introspection on the frequency of what can I do to achieve a desired outcome allows us to look at behaviors and beliefs for what they truly are. With self-awareness, we are able to examine old patterns that don’t serve us and move on from them. Asking the right questions empowers us to make different choices that bring about different results. Heightened awareness will give our bodies cues that signal specific emotions and name them correctly (fear, ego, anxiety, self-consciousness, etc.) thereby providing an effective way of tackling them.
Journaling is a great tool that allows you to dissect your feelings and thoughts. It helps you to identify, clarify and accept these thoughts and feelings and label them appropriately. You may find these prompts useful.
- What did I do well today?
- What seemed challenging for me today?
- What’s the predominant feeling I have?
- How did I respond? In retrospect, could I have responded differently?
- What strengths did I use to keep me focused on the best version of myself?
- What is my intention for tomorrow?
- Ask Close People About Their Perception Of You.
Feedback does not have to be scary, as much as you may feel like you know yourself from the inside, external feedback helps too. It can give you access to exceptional opportunities to grow, evolve, and get closer to reaching your full potential.
Get your family and very close friends to describe you and see what resonates with you and what surprises you. You should of course not take a single person’s word as truth but talk to a number of people to get a comprehensive view of yourself. At the end of this exercise, be intentional enough to know that the most important thing is your self-beliefs and your feelings about yourself.
Self-Awareness & Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions as well as the ability to understand, interpret and respond to the emotions of others. For you to be emotionally intelligent, self-awareness is crucial, it is one of the five components of measuring emotional intelligence.
The five components of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy, and motivation. Self-awareness is an essential building block of emotional intelligence, it is the foundation where all other blocks are built.
You must be self-aware to be able to self-regulate while your social skills will be unstable and of lesser effectiveness, if you are not aware enough about when and how to use them.
So to build emotional intelligence, self-awareness is the first step to take towards that goal.
A self-aware person is a powerful individual, one who is fully in control of their life and affairs, and can effectively influence others in leadership roles.