How to improve Your Self Awareness

How to improve Your Self Awareness
Photo by Taylor Flowe / Unsplash

I had a physics teacher at school who put in a tremendous effort to help the class grasp concepts through diagrams and various methods. This physics teacher conducted monthly tests, and unsurprisingly, everyone performed their very best to fail. When the second monthly test yielded disastrous results, the teacher was not just disappointed, but profoundly so. After distributing the results, wearing an exhausted expression, the teacher delivered a brief speech, which included a quote that has stayed with me for a long time:

"If you ever realize what you were doing wrong and worked on it, you would improve like anything."

His statement pertains to various aspects of our lives. How well do we comprehend situations? What attempts do we make to comprehend and enhance them? Even though I applied this to studies and other aspects, it took me a while to understand that the same principle could apply to our minds. How well do we know ourselves? How much room for improvement lies within our current thoughts and patterns?

Self-awareness is the capacity to observe the actions, thoughts, and patterns in your mind that either align or conflict with your current self, without being judgmental.

For instance, consider raising your voice at a friend during a disagreement, only to later realize the mistake. In this scenario, you are self-aware that you acted wrongly, which is not what you intended. Contrast this with someone who yells at you, blaming you for their wasted time. Being around such a person wouldn't be enjoyable. A deeper understanding brings numerous benefits. Having a strong awareness of your emotions and their impact on your actions is advantageous both socially and personally.

people sitting on chair
Photo by Redd F / Unsplash

Despite many claiming self-awareness, most of us realize it well after the fact, often using it to burden ourselves with guilt. Returning to the previous scenario of shouting at a friend, imagine realizing a month later, after your friend has moved away, that your response was mechanistic.

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Merely guilting yourself over past behavior doesn't contribute positively to personal growth.

This is why cultivating greater self-awareness in any situation becomes essential.

Stages of Self-Awareness

As individuals, we all navigate various facets of life, each of which often influences the others. Our reactions can arise unexpectedly and in undesirable contexts, causing us to lose our composure even with those we never intended to. This spectrum spans from quarreling with our partners and venting our frustrations by yelling at colleagues, to succumbing to road rage.

1. Addressing Chaos

Self-awareness serves as a remedy for disentangling chaos. Reflect on the regrettable actions we've undertaken, many of which have led to untidy circumstances. Much introspection revolves around this, leading to recurrent embarrassment. However, does this introspection bring resolution? Not really. The looming question remains: what if we find ourselves in similar situations again? For most, the likelihood of repeating the same mistakes is high. This phenomenon stems from the persistence of learned behavioral patterns.

2. Recognition of Patterns

Patterns typically develop through our interactions and surroundings. As you start identifying trigger points, the process of unlearning these patterns becomes less arduous. Frequently, our self-critique begins by questioning actions and situations. Unfortunately, this often solidifies our self-doubts rather than pinpointing the root causes. When we inquire about our failures, our minds swiftly respond with self-deprecating answers that reinforce negative thought cycles.
Redirecting questions to delve into the lead-up to specific actions or decisions, or the motivations behind them, can unravel the patterns. At this juncture, it's crucial to maintain a neutral perspective while questioning everything.

3. Acceptance of Patterns

Regardless of your earnest attempts to find solutions, progress remains limited if you cling to your existing belief system. Undesirable patterns persist despite our wishes, yet ignoring them won't yield progress. This stance resembles avoiding self-awareness entirely. In the words of renowned author Mark Manson, self-awareness paves the way to self-acceptance.

4. Taking Action

The third stage naturally extends from the previous one. This phase involves unlearning ingrained patterns and implementing new mental frameworks. Here, a series of questions can guide you:

  • What factors contributed to this outcome?
  • How could I have handled the situation better?
  • What changes must I initiate to make things better?

Answering these questions forms the foundation for personal development and moving toward a better version of oneself.

Increasing Self Awareness

There exist numerous avenues to enhance self-awareness; the following are a few strategies that might resonate:

1. Meditation

Meditation is available in diverse forms nowadays, ranging from deep meditation to focused breathing exercises. Any meditation technique that grounds your mind in the present and fosters mental relaxation can prove beneficial. Achieving your objectives matters most; simple or complex meditation methods can be effective. These practices offer dedicated personal time to manage emotions, identify patterns, and address them without judgment.

woman sitting on bench over viewing mountain
Photo by Sage Friedman / Unsplash

2. Journaling

Recording your thoughts and emotions using journaling yields long-term benefits. This practice aids in identifying primary triggers and the associated emotional responses. In the future, reviewing your journal entries can expedite introspection and problem-solving, as opposed to suppressing your feelings and thoughts.

3. Engaging in Conversation

Conversing with someone is a highly effective and accessible approach to enhancing self-awareness, assuming you have a suitable confidant. Sharing your thoughts with another person often brings clarity and helps dispel mental fog. However, the person with whom you choose to converse significantly influences the outcome. Seek individuals who listen without judgment and strive to untangle complexities rather than hastily arriving at conclusions.

If you find this useful, don't forget to tell a friend.

Basha Yes

Basha Yes

India