Self-Awareness Can Change Your Reality
Men and women are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. Roosevelt
What one skill helps us understand our emotions, gives us space to change our thinking and leads to stronger relationships?
The Ancient Greek maxim, ‘Know thyself’ has been used for millennia to highlight the importance of self-awareness – the ability to recognise our own emotions and know our own strengths and weaknesses.
It may sound like something you’d read in an introspective self-help book, but research has shown that self-awareness can have several tangible benefits:
- It helps us understand our emotions
Seeing yourself clearly allows you to have better control over your reactions and emotions in different situations. Recognising and understanding your emotions is a crucial step towards mastering them.
- It gives us space to change our thinking
Before you can change anything you need to know and understand yourself. Once you’re self-aware, you can make any necessary changes in your own life and as a result, become a more effective agent for change in the world around you.
- It leads to stronger relationships
A good understanding of yourself involves understanding how you relate to others. You can then adjust your behaviour – whether that’s improving self-control, being more open with people or choosing to listen more – and see your relationships flourish as a result.
So, how can we develop self-awareness? Here are a few tips to help:
- Test yourself
Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses – or try an in-depth personality test such as the Myers-Briggs, Predictive Index, StrengthsFinder or Strengthscope. They’re not perfect, but they do encourage self-reflection.
- Listen to your own feedback
Influential writer Peter Drucker suggested this simple process: whenever you make an important decision, write down what you think will happen as a result – in the next few weeks, months or years. After the situation has played itself out, go back to your prediction and compare it with the reality. Reflect on any differences and what that suggests about your rationale and the motivations behind the decision. It’s important to know not just what we do, but why we do it.
- Listen to other people’s feedback
Seeing yourself through other’s eyes may help you identify things about yourself that you weren’t able to spot before. This doesn’t mean accepting other people’s perceptions of you as the definition of your identity or letting it affect your sense of self, but it is helpful to listen and analyse their feedback. You can discover more about yourself in the dynamics of your relationships too – certain people may bring out different aspects of your personality that you weren’t even aware of.
The better you know yourself, the more effective you can be in your day-to-day life and the more capable you become of achieving goals and transforming the world around you.
The bible mentions the importance of knowing yourself – not just for your own benefit but also for the other people in your world.
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by doing so you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16
Being self-aware is much more than a self-centred pursuit. It is ultimately about taking responsibility for the gifts and talents that God has given us and understanding the purpose that we have in our life. When we take ownership of how our own personality, emotions and behaviours can affect us and those around us, we become better equipped to live out the unique purpose we have on earth.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.
Words by Ana Loback
Photograph by Lois Vega