During this (extended) time of “sheltering-in-place” in response to the Corona Virus Pandemic, lots of folks are going “stir-crazy”. Like globally. Divorce rates are up. Depression is setting in. Everyone apparently is baking. In the fallout, self-awareness has emerged as the skill of the decade. I am glad and can acknowledge that it was something I had to work to develop. Thankfully, there are some actions that one can take to get started on this journey now.
Self-awareness is the ability to objectively reflect and compare one’s actions to the internal standards and values. There is no blame or shame. Just the opportunity to live in alignment with the values you decide are important to you. The ability to remain objective is important as it is where you are able to provide your own approval and dismiss the judgments of others about how you look, love, or live your life. Your superpower as a sovereign being begins with self-awareness!
Some people are better at this than others. For years as a young adult, this was a struggle in that my self-awareness lacked objectivity. I would argue that pure objectivity is impossible, but what I was doing was really blaming others for when things did not turn out how I wanted them to. Feedback analysis was a useful tool for me and it forced me to acknowledge when I had lived in a way consistent with my internal beliefs. Eventually, I went on to do value alignments and really got to what was important to me–not what others had told me was or should be important. Nothing boosts your self-esteem like self-approval! And nothing helps you build that foundation like being self-aware.
The Man in the Mirror
Becoming self-aware connects you with your truest self. It is important because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we are able to experience ourselves as unique and separate individuals. We are then empowered to make changes and to build on our areas of strength as well as identify areas where we would like to make improvements (University of Warwick). In experiencing ourselves as unique, we can build a positive self-image where our individuality is valued and appreciated for its uniqueness.
We are all multi-faceted and complex, layered, like onions, with experiences, feedback, patterns, and learned behaviors. According to Positive Psychology, self-awareness can be integral in learning about your desires and values, strengths and weaknesses, help you reach goals, learn or relearn behavior or thought patterns. It is in this intentional reflective process that you learn who you really are and can also work to overcome any challenges or limiting behaviors and beliefs.
3 Quick Action Steps
Here are three easy activities that you can do to start learning about yourself on a deeper level.
- Completing a Triggers worksheet that can help identity situations that may triggering for you. this can be really useful in uncovering past experiences or discovering hidden biases or beliefs. You can try one here.
- Completing a Life Goals worksheet. This can help a person who feels like they “spinning their wheels” or living a life void of purpose get motivated and visualize what working towards their goals looks like. Try this one!
- Try Feedback Analysis. This is an approach where when one undertakes a project or makes a decision, they record how the made the decision and their expectations. At the end of the implementation, they review their results with the expected results in order to evaluate whether or not they were successful and why or why not. This objective analysis is particularly useful for those who lack emotional intelligence and have an inability to see their role in successes or failures. This was method I started to employ when I became a teacher and it spilled over to how I look at personal decisions as well.
I hope that these resources can help you or someone you know develop self-awareness. It truly amazing how self-awareness can potentially enhance every experience in your life as it a tool to reflect, ground, evaluate, and make good decisions.
Bonus: Read Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Jean Greaves and Travis Bradbury. It comes with a code for an assessment which can be really helpful!