Do you say or do things without thinking how it will affect or impact the people around you?
The dictionary definition of self-awareness is “conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires.” I also believe it’s having a clear perception of your personality, including your strengths and weaknesses and allows you to better understand other people as you interact with them; how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.
Why is self-awareness important?
If you have better understanding of how you think, feel, and react to a situation you also get to understand why people act the way they do (empathy). Self-awareness is an important skill to acquire because it will better equip you to face challenges and build good, strong connections with people.
Being self-aware also means you are more self-assured. When you have better insight and understanding of who you are and what causes you to feel, behave and react as you do, then you are confident in being in new environments with people you don’t know. It gives you the ability to be open, thoughtful and aware of how you impact others. It is one of the best and most valuable qualities you can have!
“You can't know the truth about another without first knowing it about yourself.”
So how do you get to be more self-aware?
Self-awareness is a skill. This means it is something that must be consciously learned, developed and constantly practiced if it is to grow. Unfortunately it doesn’t just land on your lap! Here are a few things I have learned when communicating with someone:
1) Listen more than you talk.
Seek first to understand exactly what they are trying to communicate and why. Help the other person to fully communicate all that they want to. Keep asking until you have the full picture. It will potentially save you from heartache, breakdown (or loss) of relationship and the painful task of having to go back later to clear up the misunderstandings that are bound take place in the heat of the moment!
2) All the time they are communicating, pay attention to what is going on inside you.
What emotions are you feeling and why? Make a mental note of them and for the sake of keeping clear communication going, don’t react to them. If it is appropriate at any time, communicate what you are feeling to the other person. Use words and work to keep your tone of voice calm and kind. In the moment, don’t allow the emotion they are expressing to impact you to the extent that you might be tempted to react. Really listen to what they are trying to communicate.
3) After the event, process it with the Lord.
Get rid of any negative attacking things that they said, but ask Him if there was anything in the midst of what they said that you do need to hear. Revisit the emotions and process any pain with Him. Ask Him to help you understand why you acted (or reacted) the way you did or why you felt a particular emotion in a given situation. He champions your growth!
The great thing is, the more you practice, the more aware you become. And it doesn’t just have to be during interactions with others, you can practice paying attention to how you feel when you are listening to others interact or watching a movie. Take advantage of the many situations you face daily and put them to good use; you'll grow a little bit more self-aware each day.
- Soo Prince (Intern)