Featured Category, Mental Health

Do You Have Self-Awareness?

September 12, 2019
Black woman leaning against a street mural

Do you think you have self-awareness?

Developing self-awareness should be an important skill in our lives. The simple fact is you cannot change what you don’t know about.  If we have no self-awareness, we have no control over ourselves; we have no control over our thoughts, behaviors, habits, relationships. In essence, we have no control over our lives.

 

What is self-awareness?

Self-awareness is a skill that allows us to monitor ourselves, and in turn, monitor our lives.

Self-awareness allows us to explore and learn about who we are, what we care about. This skill helps us to learn about what makes us, us. Self-awareness helps us to identify the thoughts we have, and over time, it helps us identify our thought patterns.

Therefore, taking control of our thoughts and behaviors should be an integral part of everyone’s life. Self-awareness helps to identify the behaviors that are considered normal in our lives; and by extension, we begin to notice how we behave with our selves and how we behave in our relationships with others.

 

Barriers to self-awareness?

  • In my opinion, self-awareness requires a humbling approach. It requires us to lay down our attitudes and defenses and take up an attitude of humility.

Why?

Because we must be willing to receive the results and observations that we get. If we are prideful or egotistical and believe that we are always right or that we always knows best, we will not be willing to receive the observations that our awareness has brought to us.

And if we cannot receive the information, then we will never change. And if there is no change, we will remain stagnant in our lives, while fooling ourselves to believe that we are moving forward.

 

Take a look at this example:

Example:

An example is Monica who gets into a disagreement with her friend and her friend tells her that she does not respect boundaries. Monica disagrees with her friend and is upset that her friend told her that.

Instead of taking the time to explore herself and her behaviors to see if there is any truth in her friend’s statement, Monica brushes it off and blames her friend for being too sensitive.

Monica demonstrates a lack of trust in her friend and friendship. She immediately brushes off her friend’s feelings without taking the time to acknowledge how her friend felt, and also demonstrates a lack of care or empathy for her friend. She, instead, takes the approach that her friend is in the wrong, and does not consider her own actions in anyway.

If Monica is violating her friendship by not respecting boundaries, one may wonder if this is the only relationship that Monica has an issue respecting boundaries in.

 

  • Most people believe that they are too busy for anything that requires effort. We all have busy lives and are trying to manage our days, families, and schedules. But the truth is, if we are too busy to engage in self-awareness, then we are not in control of our lives. Would you agree?

We are probably just existing in our own lives. If we spend no time on self-awareness, then we are just coasting through lives in a daze with no real understanding of what’s happening in our lives.

 

  • An extension of the point 2 is that many people are living their lives on autopilot. They are living lives based on their parent’s and other’s beliefs and expectations, their own old beliefs that were never updated, and lives of comfort that they may feel requires too much time to change or they may feel it’s too late to change.

 

  • Pride and ego are powerful constructs. The ego defends itself against feelings of discomfort or unpleasantness. Our pride protects us from feelings of inferiority by focusing on statuses and titles. These two defenses help us to reinforce our own beliefs about ourselves. They keep us insulated and walled off, not allowing us to receive criticisms from others. When we are unable to receive feedback from others, we are unable to make changes to move forward.

How can we develop self-awareness? 

  1. The first step, as mentioned above, is to humble ourselves enough that we can receive feedback from our loved ones. We must understand that feedback given in love is needed because no one knows everything. Everyone must be willing to develop relationships that allow us to grow because if we are not growing, we are moving backwards. Humans were not made to standstill.

 

  1. Second, journaling is one of the best tools ever invented. Many people refuse to do this because they feel they aren’t good at it or that they aren’t writers. But journaling is not about being good at it.

So, what is journaling about? Journaling is  a habit that helps you take control of your life. It is about chronicling your journey through life.  Journaling is a great way to learn about your thoughts and behavior patterns and create correlations between your   relationships by discovering common themes and attitudes. It is a great way to discover more about yourself.

 

  1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. When we embrace self-awareness, we may discover things about ourselves that we do not like, and this is OK. We must learn to be uncomfortable because that’s the only way that we grow. Social media has fostered a culture that believes that flaws and failure make us messed up.

The fact is, we are ALL flawed because we are human beings. The only perfect being is God and we are not God. Discovering our flaws and working through failure is all a part of the process. We are all a work in progress and that is OK.

 

Are you ready to get started on developing your self-awareness? If so, then check out the various available worksheets that we offer.

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