In the last post we define self-awareness as consciousness and awareness of oneself in relation to the world around that dictates how a person lives with and responds to their environment and creates the ability to notice ones feelings, physical sensations, reactions, habits, behaviours, and thoughts. Many of us think this should be a natural competence but it really isn’t and needs to be learned and cultivated.
Here are some ideas on cultivating self-awareness:
1. Create some space for yourself. This can be defined as leaning yourself some time and space every day when you stay away from the digital distractions and spend some time with yourself, reading, writing, meditating, and connecting with yourself. It could be first thing in the morning or half an hour before sleep or even in the middle of the day.
2. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is focusing on a set way, purpose or moment without judgement. It is an opportunity to be present with oneself and fully aware of actions, thoughts, behaviours etc. It is about paying attention to our inner state and dealing with things as they rise. We can practice mindfulness at any time you want, through mindful listening, mindful eating or walking.
3. Journaling: Writing helps us process our thoughts and feel connected and at peace with ourselves. This creates headspace as our thoughts flow out onto paper and helps us track and catalogue what we are grateful for that will in turn shift our inner state. Think about your leadership, how people respond to you or view you, how you help others and how they can help you, your values, your hopes and dreams. This will help relieve the mental stress and open up space for joy and happiness.
4. Practice listening: Listening is being present and paying attention to other people’s emotions, body movement and language that allows us to be empathetic and understanding without judgement and discrimination. Listening to others helps us learn to listen to our inner self and better understand ourselves.
5. Ask for feedback: Feedback is a way or gaining insight about ourselves. It is the way to really know if we are growing or not. It is important to receive feedback from friendly sources like friends and family as well as from more formal sources like employers and colleagues. It can be nerve wracking that is why many of us don’t do it but it will help us grow and become better so it is worth it.
6. Self-honesty: It is important to see yourself in the fullness of who you are and be aware that this is the best route to growth. When we know ourselves and are able to deal with your personal issues it is very rewarding. This comes from childhood memories, reviewing accomplishments and failures, remembering hopes and dreams and charting the way forward. It gives a foundation to stand on and something to reach towards therefore hope for the future.
7. Write down your goals, plans, and priorities: A written plan helps us reach further on the path and helps identify the steps needed to get from A to B. It is useful to write the big goals then break them down to smaller goals down to daily tasks that allow tracking the growth and development.
8. Daily self-reflection: this goes hand in hand with journaling and is taking time aside to think through your day, what was good, what was challenging, what could have been done different, who to keep close, who to avoid and what you learnt. At the end of the reflection, find something to be grateful for, a new lesson and something to different the next day.
9. Take personality and psychometric tests: These tests give one a deeper understanding of oneself and provided the needed adaptation skills. There are no right or wrong answers and are not taken once in our lives. We change over time and it is advisable to take the tests every so often just to understand if we are growing or changing.
Since self-awareness is a process, it is advisable to be patient with ourselves as we move towards it. It is important to practise these steps one at a time until they are part of our daily life and we live in a space of deep self-awareness