According to the textbook definition, Self-awareness is “an awareness of one’s nature or character”. While mindfulness is awareness of one’s environment and body and lifestyle, self-awareness is the recognition of that awareness.
Self-awareness is about recognizing our own feelings and emotions and their consequences, understanding our energies and growth areas, and making the nexus between our beliefs and habits. Being open to feedback – indeed, asking for it. Self- awareness is the base on which we strengthen our emotional intelligence.
When I first started writing about leadership six years ago, I had to spend a lot of time to fix my self-awareness. What I understood spending time with myself is, self-awareness leads to consciousness.
However, I was puzzled with numerous questions (and sleepless nights), and gradually found answers. One of the exciting questions I always asked myself was, “What are you aware of at this very moment?”
Most of us are so occupied that we rarely stop to get in touch with what we are imagining or thinking or seeing, but when we do it, we can give us exceptional new knowledge and insight.
If you think ‘that’s just the way I am and can’t change’ or ‘you can’t explain an old dog new tricks,’ then you may skip the article. Before we can improve anything, we need to be aware of what we need to correct. And self -awareness in itself doesn’t lead to progress. It’s just the beginning! The key is to be curious about yourself, what makes you excited, why you might do the stuff you do/avoid the things you duck, and so on.
Here are a few points that can help you start:
- Start recognising circumstances that bring out a physical response in you. You may need to pay attention to these reactions as we often ignore them rather than listen to what they might be telling us. Ask yourself that question, ‘what am I aware of right now’? And enjoy silence for some time.
- Ask yourself what triggers these physical responses in you. It could be one picky person, or it could be with a blend of several people or complex situations.
- Notice the connections between those visible signs, how you react to them, and how you feel afterward.
Once we are well-known with our triggers, we have a ‘flash of choice’. Do we react the way we always have, with no recognition, or do we have another option?
Remember, – our feelings are ours. It is easy to criticize others and say, ‘you make me feel… ‘ But no one can make you feel a certain way without your permission!
- Ask for feedback from others you trust to be fair with you. Ask them to distinguish times when they have seen your feelings influencing your behavior. Ask for reaction on your energies and weaknesses and analyze their insights with your own. Don’t quarrel, dispute, back, or counter. Thank the person for their response.
What have you become conscious of? What might you want to transform?