Personal Development starts with Self Awareness
If you are looking to make changes and improvements in your life, a good place to start is with self-awareness.
Self-awareness is understanding who we are, our strengths and weaknesses, our drives and personalities, our habits and values.
Through understanding y our own strengths, weaknesses, habits, and values, you become aware of the areas that you may wish to focus on or develop to ensure that you maximize your existing skills.
Overall, it is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection.
You need to know where you are now in order to know what work needs to be done.
- What are your subconscious habits, that are impacting your life?
- What do you eat that is impacting your life?
- What makes you weak, where are you spending your time?
- What are your subconscious thoughts?
We need to answer some of these questions to be self-conscious. But the reality is that we often fail to clearly see and understand the motivations behind our actions or the real cause behind certain emotions.
Most people spend the majority of their lives reacting, letting their emotions and instinct guide them without much critical thought.
We always have the choice in how we react to different situations. When we have a level of self-awareness that allows us to clearly observe and identify our emotional and instinctive responses, we have the ability to control them. And, in this way, we move from constantly reacting to life, to action planning and molding our lives.
- Our strengths and weaknesses — what comes easily to us and the things that others might find simple, but we find challenging;
- Our values — what we consider to be right and wrong;
- Our drivers the things which motivate us;
- Our habits — the things that we do instinctively without thinking;
- Our emotional triggers — the things that cause us to feel strong emotions.
Why does Self-Awareness matter to Personal Development?
First, let's understand clearly what’s Personal Development.
Put simply, personal development refers to any activity you do to improve yourself, in areas that apply to your brain, mind, and heart.
For many people, activities such as reading, listening to audiobooks, journaling, exercise, or mindfulness. Anything that’s impacting your life positively or improving your health, wealth, or career.
In short, it is a process that’s involved in getting you closer to anything you want to achieve in life.
Imagine you are head of XYZ product, you are assigned to improve the product. On a quick note, what are the aspects you need to improve the product?
Obviously, first, you need to understand the working principle of that existing product. You need to point out what’s not working and what’s needs to be improved but first, you need to understand how it works.
Becoming conscious of yourself will give you clear insights into what’s working for you and what’s not. If you want to make changes and develop yourself personally, you need to start with a clear vision of who you are.
- What are the weaknesses that are holding you back?
- What are the strengths that you could be making more of?
- What are the habits that are blocking you from bad decision cycles?
- What is it that truly motivates and drives you?
Only when you have a clear vision of yourself can you identify the true underlying causes of issues and start to solve them.4
How to Boost your Self-Awareness
The best way to boost your self-awareness is to spend quality time with yourself. Again, you may be saying “but don’t I do that 24 hours a day”, but the answer is generally no. We are so distracted by what we are doing and our surface thoughts that we don’t often get to the real you. Developing self-awareness requires self-reflection and introspection.
So, what can you do?
Create Distraction Free Time
Self-reflection requires time and space. You won’t really have time to think about yourself if you are distracted by family members needing things, work deadlines that are still unmet, or how many likes your latest Instagram post received.
You need to find time and space where you aren’t distracted by people and your cell phone, and during which you give yourself permission to forget about those important emails or family crises. They will still be there later, but you may be better equipped to deal with them.
It can be enough to be in a distraction-free zone to start to engage in self-awareness, but you can supercharge that experience by meditating.
What you actually want to do when meditating is let those thoughts bubble up, but recognize them for the relatively insignificant, reactionary biological functions that they are, and put them to one side.
In this way, during meditation, you cease to become your reactionary self and inhabit your self-aware self. The more you do this during meditation, the easier it can be to do this at other times.
An alternative to meditation can be journaling, which is basically a way of talking to yourself. It lets you record what has happened to you and how you reacted, and then analyze why that was in a calmer “after-the-fact” way.
The act of writing it down also helps us to be more critical in our thinking, as we are taught to think before we write much more than we are taught to think before we speak. So the act of writing itself can help us shift towards a more self-aware mindset.
Ask for Feedback
If you are really struggling to identify your motivations, drivers, and pressure points, or you feel like your vision of yourself is very different from how other people see you, another thing that you can do is ask others for feedback. Ask people that you know and trust what they think your strengths and weaknesses are, and why they think that you behave the way that you do.
While you should always ask someone who is close to you and knows you well, of course, they will never have as much information about you as you do to make complete judgments. But, they have more distance from your problems and motivations, so can sometimes see them more clearly.
You should not always take other people’s opinions of you as accurate. But, they can provide you with an alternative perspective that lets you see yourself in a different way. This will allow you to engage in more accurate self-reflection.
I hope it was helpful for you.
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- Importance of Self-Awareness
- Boost your Self-Awareness
- By Meditation
- By Creating Time for yourself.
- By Journaling.
- By asking for feedback.