Awareness is a consciousness of one’s location, surrounding and general state of being. It is a perception and interpretation of what is around you, how you interact with it and how you change or adjust to it. With this in mind, we can say that self-awareness is the consciousness and awareness of oneself in relation to the world around. It dictates how a person lives with and responds to their environment. It is an awareness and ability to notice ones feelings, physical sensations, reactions, habits, behaviours, and thoughts. It is a deliberate effort to know oneself and be watchful over that knowledge as if it is an outsider looking in.
Self-awareness is important because it helps us be more present in our daily lives and allows us to respond to life soberly rather than reactively. According to Daniel Goleman, Self-awareness is the key cornerstone to emotional intelligence and is the capacity to monitor emotions and thoughts moment by moment to understand oneself, be at peace and manage thoughts, ambition, emotion and behaviour. It helps individuals respond carefully and consciously to life, maintain their mental health and a positive outlook to life which opens up the opportunity to really enjoy life and embrace others because the understanding of self makes one more compassionate to themselves and others.
A big benefit of self-awareness is the ability to keep track of emotions and thoughts. This is important because it is the measure of how well we interact with life and how well we can respond to the many challenges life sends our way. This ability also enables us to be non-judgmental because we notice what we are capable of and realize that others may be vulnerable to the same things so it is easier to cut them some slack.
It gives the inner ability to monitor our internal world, our thoughts and emotions as they arise, notice the rises and changes in ourselves so that we can monitor ourselves. It is a conscious knowledge or your character, feelings and attributes. It is all about knowing who we are, what tips our scale, what pushes our buttons, who we need around, how we interact with the world. It is therefore one of the strongest basis one can live their life off but it is rarely the focus of our lives. Self-awareness allows us to better understand ourselves and help us make changes that build us into better individuals.
The last few years have taught me the importance of a journey of self-awareness and a very personal pursuit to figure out life. The need to understand was intensified by questions raised by a group of young people I walk with.
We have built a community that is safe and no topic of too bad to discuss. This means that i have to be honest about the answers I give and honesty is drawn from my life experience. It is not enough for them to give general answers and they are able to sniff out falsehood. They are like lie detectors and sniffer dogs. These conversations have made life easier and more difficult at the same time because there are things I don’t know or understand based on my experience and I can try to hide the truth or be honest with them.
My conversations with the young people taught me that I cannot give answers just because they are the usual answers because if I don’t agree with the answer I am giving my sniffer dogs will know and they will call me out. The pursuit of honest relationships and conversations has made me more aware of the need to know myself but also of the need to grow in that knowledge and to help others become more self-aware.
We will share how to grow in self-awareness in the next post.