The Need of Self-Awareness
So many youths walk around this planet unaware of the impact they have on their environment as well as the people around them.
In every one of us, there is an enormous ability to effect change. Unfortunately, too many youths only react to the change others bring.
Being aware of self and engaging in regular reflection allows us the opportunity to discover what we want out of our precious lives.
We all are likely to be affected by external influence and personal bias but, without self-awareness, even more, susceptible we become.
True freedom can be achieved through the attainment of self-awareness and, we can accomplish this through the understanding of the relationship between our internal and public self.
Self-Awareness and Self-Reflection
Self-awareness is a state of the mind and, being aware of feelings, behaviours, traits, character, and motives leads to this psychological state of self-awareness. On the other hand, self-reflection is your ability to willingly get to know more about your fundamental purpose. It is not a new concept for one to try “to know oneself”. As far back as 3,000 years ago, within the temple of Apollo, this was already achieved.
Some say that there are two main types of self-reflection and they are taken to be:
Problem or Solution-focused approach: Constructive reflection about how best to achieve goals.
Self-focused approach: Understanding, Containment, or dissipation of negative emotional, behavioural, and cognitive reactions.
These two types of approaches towards self-awareness in self-reflection are both widely used but, some will show some sort of personal preference towards one. Theoretically, it is believed that people who practice the self-focused approach in the stead of the problem/solution-focused approach have lesser success rates in goal attainment. Also, a solution-focused self-reflection approach helps to eliminate rumination and moves an individual toward future-focused behaviour.
Benefits of Self-Awareness and Self-Reflection
If self-reflection and self-awareness are properly utilised, they can greatly affect individual psychology for better productivity and success. Growth in various areas of life is seen to be more in those who practice self-awareness together with interaction with their environment. Let us now see some very important benefits of self-awareness and self-reflection.
- Self-Control: We both have some understanding of what is expected of us by society. This is a typically internalised thought and, we feel ashamed when we don’t meet social standards. Self-awareness helps to restrain anti-social impulses while increasing personal responsibility to adhere to social standards.
- Perspective-taking: A benefit of self-awareness for effective social interaction. We must understand that we are not all alike and that others have different opinions, needs, and thoughts. An increase in self-awareness builds emphatic response to the plight of others, helps one understand the needs of another. This improves relationships and connections with those within our environment.
- Increased Creativity: This may be shocking but, highly creative people often go through a long process in the creation of their projects. For a product to be birthed at its best, a highly creative person deeply reflects on their work to make adjustments and improvements.
- Great Self-Esteem: While seeing yourself as falling short of social standards will present a negative effect, the opposite is true if you see yourself as the cause of success. Youths who develop the understanding that success mainly, is internally accomplished, will result in higher self-esteem. This reflects the balancing act between understanding one’s responsibility to work toward success and understanding the role of circumstance on results.
Self-awareness implications are far-reaching. For example, the managerial self-awareness creates better relationships with staff and promotes a more productive work area, resulting in higher results in the achievement of goals.
We often avoid situations that require us to be self-aware because of its very internal self-criticism based on previous experience or no experience at all. It has been found that mild self-awareness is greatly transformational when applied within a trusted and safe condition. For example, self-awareness can be easily practiced among the Youth Up community due to its trustworthy and encouraging environment.
Remember, for direct change to take place, self-awareness must be somewhere around the corner.
Why Invest in Self-Awareness?
Without self-awareness, you will most likely see yourself as an object and not the subject in charge of your change. This is great trouble because, it can result in depression and unhealthy anxiety. We see strong depression and unhealthy anxiety amongst a vast population of youths in these times and this can be traced a long way back to the lack of self-awareness.
Ways to Achieve Self-Awareness
- Take time daily to look at yourself as objectively as possible. It allows for weakness to be recognized and improved upon. All humans need improvement, and reflecting on our performance allows us to learn from mistakes and missteps.
- Cultivate a mindfulness practice. The ability to bring oneself into the present leads to further ability in introspection.
- Ask deep questions. Getting away from reactionary behavior and paying attention to our deeper, inner drive involves work. A question like, “What would I do if I could not fail?” will reveal a deeper self-understanding, meaning, and purpose.
- Make time for practice. Most of us go throughout our daily lives without thought of why we are consuming what we are or behaving in a particular way. When you set aside the time to think about your thinking, you give yourself space to pursue this internal insight.
- Start small and tune in. When starting to practice building self-awareness, one must decide which information to tune into. We get the choice of deciphering which information is useful, and which is not. This is because, our minds work like the 24-hour news ticker at the bottom of our favourite feed.
- Ask someone you trust to describe to you. This will enlighten you on perspectives.
- Make sure to not get bogged down in emotions. Name them. Label them. Then take the time to evaluate if they serve you or not. If they do not, replace them with actions that will bring you the emotions you would like to be feeling.
- Take personality self-assessments tests like Meyers-Briggs. Becoming aware of one’s strengths gives the capability to intentionally make them grow.
- Read books and contents on self-awareness continually.
To think about our internal and public self is a skill and all skills are acquired through learning. Many of us are not used to the idea of working to develop our self-awareness. Yet, its benefits outweigh the energy and time spent learning this skill.
Being self-aware does not only benefit you, it also affects your environment. A clear and conscious mind presents a smooth path to the opportunity of continuous learning. Lack of clarity deter our progress as it combats our judgement and cognitive bias. Be aware, then you can be happily successful.