Self-Awareness is a way of looking into our own consciousness and seeing how we are responding to the world around us. Its a personal progress report that can tell us how we are functioning mentally, physically, and emotionally. Being aware of oneself is the ultimate freedom, giving us control over our values, beliefs, and destinations. Being self-aware is the key to unlocking a better you, and the discovery of a life fully lived. Finally making peace with who you are, where you are, and where your going will set you up to be truly happy and give you the boldness you need to conquer many of life's obstacles.
The benefits of being self-aware are numerous, in which the most important are: acting on facts and not feelings, the capability to love yourself, developing real and better relationships, accomplishing goals, avoid repeat mistakes, and obtaining the proper knowledge to change your bad habits and behaviors.
When you really think about it, self-awareness is a necessity for creating any positive change in your life, and developing good habits that will last. How can we change a behavior or fix a problem if we do not know what is wrong? The journey to being in tune with you is not easy, but will be very rewarding, and the hard work you put in will reap many benefits. Let's take a look at the 5 steps to discovering the real you.
The first stop on the journey to self-reflection and awareness is removing obstacles, distractions, and temptations that cloud our minds on a daily basis. We find many excuses to not confront ourselves, and reasons not take a closer look at how the events of our world and actions of people make us feel. Taking a deep look into the mirror is hard, and the number one reason is fear. We are afraid that what we see will not be something we like, or that it will be disappointing, ugly, etc. Because this is so hard, we need to take the proper steps in making reflection as easy as possible, and this means removing anything in the way.
Why must we keep busy 24/7, especially in this paced-paced we are living in today? Its almost as if we view slowing down as a negative thing that is a sign of laziness, but I would say being to busy to check in with one's self is very damaging and can lead to discontentment. If you are like me, you are over-committing yourself, and need tools to help remove things to give you time to reflect. Here are ways to help you remove the clutter of the mind body, and soul.
1. Unplug: Technology has taken control of our lives, and unless you take very focused action, you will be distracted by calls, texts, emails, tweets, pins, etc. Set yourself limits on how long you will be on the computer, how many times you will check your email on your phone, and make strict TV rules. Set a designated time each night to turn off your phone and not take calls or check email.
2. Just Say No: Saying yes has become a disease most of us are infected with. We want to please our friends, family, co-workers, and show everyone how awesome we are. Over committing is a sure fire way to burn out, and will leave you with hardly anytime to work on yourself. Saying no feels bad in the moment, but will lead to a better healthier you who is able to accomplish the things you do with quality.
3. Meditate: Meditation is a concentrated effort that focuses on clearing your mind completely; it's like pushing the reset button for your thoughts. Meditation focuses on breathe and the complete removal of all mind matters, the goal being able to obtain inner peace and allow to start with a clean slate. Think of it as wiping the mind's canvass so you can start with a fresh and clean one to paint with. When we remove negative thoughts, thoughts of fear and doubt, we can begin to shift our thinking into something more positive and productive.
After we have cleaned the "room" of our mind, and eliminated distractions and unhealthy emotions, it's time to actually take a look inside to see what is really there; its time to reflect. Reflection is the dirty business; it exposes the dirty laundry and areas we would like to improve in. Reflection can also surprise us, there are things we may be proud of or areas we have made tremendous progress and personal growth. Self-reflection is taking the time to just think about your life and the journey you are on, and how you feel about the current state. Are you happy, are you engaged in activities that reflect your values, and are you living a life that you are proud of? These are just a few of the questions we should ask ourselves along the reflective process.
The 8 Questions To Ask While Engaging in Self-Reflection
1. Am I Staying True To My Core Values?
2. Am I Someone Others Respect?
3. Do I respect myself?
4. Am I Living Up To My Potential?
5. Am I Engaging In The Activates and Hobbies I Like?
6. Am I Giving My Best To Those That Matter?
7. What Is My Impact In The World?
8. Where Does My Current Path Lead?
After we have cleared the mind of distractions, and reflected on what is happening inside the heart and soul, the next step is to react. What I mean by reaction is sitting with the way your mind Processes the questions you have just asked yourself. In essence, the classic therapist line, "how does that make you feel". This brings us to something called the "Emotional Response", and is crucial, but only part of the reactive response of self-reflection. Reactions are your indicators that some changes may need to take place down the road, or perhaps that you are on the right track, and it merely re-centered your efforts. It would be a good idea to write down the answers to the questions you just went through so that you remember the way you felt, and can remember for the next time you sit down to reflect.
The mental reaction to reflecting can be very emotional, and prepare yourself to feel things you have not felt in a while, maybe anger towards an ex-boss or spouse, or sadness over a tragedy you never quite healed from. These are things of the past that need healing, and confronting them is the first step. You may also feel you need to change things that you can control in the present, and this will lead us to the next step in the self-awareness journey.
After you sit with the mental reaction to the discovery of well. Yourself, the next step is responding with action, implementing steps for healing, change, or closing unfinished business. Responding to things is another way of saying dealing with them. Dealing with issues that come up during self-reflection is a step towards inner peace and moving on, and becoming the person you desire to be. There are several core responses that will bring healing and positive change, lets discuss the 3 things you will need to start the change process.
1. Forgive Others: Odds are you have realized you hold bitterness, sadness, or aggression against something or someone that came up during your self-aware process. Humans hurt people, and everyone gets let down, and sometimes we are hurt very badly. Pain and bitterness shape the way we respond to daily activities and can even shape the way we view life. Because of this it is important to let things go, and let the past be the past. Do not let others control you, choose to free yourself and move on.
2. Forgive Yourself: One of the hardest parts of being us, is the fact that we let ourselves down, and make mistakes. Welcome to humanity, you are not alone. Mistakes are important teachers, they are guides of sorts, to steer us closer to the direction we want to go. Learn your lessons and move on, give up the act of trying to be perfect, instead work on becoming the best you. The best you is not having a standard of perfection, this only leads to disappointment.
3. List Changes: Make a list of the changes you want to make after the self-evaluation you have just completed. These changes become goals to keep track of. Make benchmarks for your goals, and keep yourself accountable so you can re-adjust every time you start falling into old patterns.
Practice makes perfect, and becoming self-aware takes many hours of concentrated effort. Write down the steps, questions, and techniques that have worked for you, and form a system of going through the reflection process. Repeating the process means adjusting to goals you have met, or new goals you discover to work on. After a while you will want to evaluate the list you wrote down, and see how you feel about each item. As you grow, feelings can change so do not forget to reflect on the same items regularly. If you have completely conquered the item at hand, happily cross it off and move to other items down the list. Also evaluate if the issue is still relevant to your overall goals, or if you have made some self-discoveries that do not make it necessary to work on. As we experience healing our perspectives change and we may find we feel completely different about something, causing an entirely different emotional reaction. For example, that college girl friend that broke your heart might become a point of happy nostalgia, representing the simpler days of love and not the bitter memory it once was. This will give you a point blank shot of the power changing our own perspective through self-reflection holds.
That was easy right, just remember becoming self-aware takes time and a lot of hard work, and will eventually pay off in a rewarding way. The end goal is becoming the person you want and were meant to be, achieving happiness and peace of mind. There is an enormous joy and freedom that comes with knowing whom you really are, and letting others see the truth will bring relief and comfort. So get to work, master self-awareness, and discover the better you!