Having self-awareness means that you have a sharp realization of your personality, your thoughts, beliefs, your strengths and weaknesses, and your motivations. The better our metacognition is the better we are at adaptively processing information. Most people believe they have an adequate sense of self-awareness, however recent studies have proven that we are not as self-aware as we think. Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich found in her studies that only 10-15% of people are actually self-aware!
Cultivating self-awareness is a task but can be done if you dedicate yourself to it. Below we will review what needs to be done in order to become self-aware.
Look at Yourself Objectively. Even if seeing ourselves objectively is the best option, all our natural instincts point in the other direction. We love good news and tend to exaggerate it and we abhor bad news. Imagine you and a friend make plans to hang out and your friend calls you to cancel the night of. You will only see this from your perspective and you may label your friend a “bad friend”–but won’t you won’t do is blame yourself for cancelling. When we screw up it isn’t our fault but when someone else does it’s their fault.
Embrace your failings. Take a few minutes to look at areas that you struggle in. We’re all a little selfish sometimes, cruel, and ignorant. The more we’re willing to embrace this the better we will be at modifying our behaviors.
Reverse your projections. Every time you see yourself complaining about other groups or other people, stop yourself and think: “is it possible that someone out there might be making the same complaints about me?”
Journal your thoughts. Writing out your thoughts, feelings, successes of the day, failures of the day, and anything else you can think of is the first step in becoming more self-aware. If we examine our thoughts and get in tune with our feelings we become better at identifying them more automatically. Here are some great journal topics for self-reflection and self-discovery.
Ask trusted friends. Most of us are not completely aware of how we are so asking trusted friends to become our honest mirror is helpful in learning more about how ‘others’ see us. A simple question like “I am asking you as a friend, please just be straight with me on this matter. Okay?” Asking a friend can provide us better insight.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation. Meditation is the practice of improving your mindful awareness. Most types of meditation focus on the breath but you can also focus on specific questions. This helps to bring greater clarity and helps us to reflect more effectively.
In addition to the tips I have provided here I have several exercises that I provide to patients that help to increase self-awareness. If you’re interested in seeing me for an appointment please contact me through my site.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that I have provided you with the tools needed to increase your self-awareness.