Self-awareness. It’s become a more familiar word, a more popular term in an age where self-discovery and personal development is more common place than was in the past.
Think of self-awareness as being at the centre of everything. It’s at the true hub, the nucleus of self. Outside of self-awareness exists self-concept which is how you perceive yourself, self-regulation which is taking responsibility for your choices, self-development which is the gradual process of character evolution, self-identity which is recognizing what makes you who you are, and personal values which reflects what you value most.
Self-awareness is being aware of your authentic self and of the self you portray to others. Here’s a couple examples: Have you ever been out with a group of friends and you present yourself as happy and successful and when you get home by yourself you feel anything but that? You actually feel sad and depressed and now you maybe even feel like a fraud. And you realize you weren’t presenting the real you. Why is that the opposite can be true? When you get a promotion at work or are excited about an upcoming trip, or are proud of your child and you meet a friend for coffee and you keep all that news to yourself. Is that about your friend or more about you?
Being self-aware means checking in with yourself, being reflective, listening to your own cues, listening to the language that you use with an open mind and open heart, aware of your own past, your own triggers...... and having forgiveness free-flowing like champagne at a wedding.
“Self-awareness is our capacity to stand apart from ourselves and examine our thinking, our motives, our history, our scripts, our actions, and our habits and tendencies”. Stephen Covey
It could be said that being self-aware is the opposite of living life on auto pilot, being unconscious, living with your head in the sand, simply putting one foot in front of the other. But autopilot living is becoming an epidemic. In contrast, being self-aware has direct personal and professional benefits as researchers identify self-awareness as a predictor of success. And as we notice what’s happening inside us, we need to acknowledge and accept all parts of ourselves, and reserve judgement. Throw that word ‘should’ or ‘should’ve’ out the window. Please don’t should all over yourself.
Being self-aware is just the first step of many steps to living your best life.