Why is it So Important to be Self-Aware?
We all want to be the best we can be. Whether that’s a leader of a team, the team member everyone loves to collaborate with, or the friend who everyone calls for advice, we all want to shine for the people we care about.
Part of growing into the best versions of ourselves is to become self-aware. When you understand how the thoughts you have, the things you do, and the words you say affect those around you, you start to put more thought and effort into your words and actions.
When you become more aware of how you’re impacting others, you’re able to better interpret their responses to you and their actions and words more objectively. By becoming aware of those around you, it makes you a better decision-maker and more influential as a leader.
Two Types of Self-Awareness
The first step to developing self-awareness is to understand that there are two different types: Public self-awareness and private self-awareness.
Public self-awareness is how others see us. When you’re aware of how others perceive you, you’re more likely to adapt to your surroundings and behave in ways that are socially acceptable.
Private self-awareness occurs when you notice your own actions and take the time to reflect on them. People who are highly privately self-aware are very introspective. Their attitudes change depending on the situation around them and they feel different emotions in their body.
While self-awareness is a good thing, it can also be a slippery slope. Make sure not to be so self-aware that you slip into self-consciousness.* The goal is to be aware of your words and actions but not to be afraid of them - or afraid to make mistakes. We’re all human, after all!
*If you struggle with self-consciousness, please check out my free guide on overcoming limiting beliefs: Overcoming Limiting Beliefs Free Guide
Tips to Become More Self-Aware
Becoming more self-aware can make you happier, because it enables you to build better relationships. Because you’re more aware of how your actions affect others, it gives you the power of influence and self-confidence. People will trust you and your judgment, often coming to you in times of need. Thanks to your confidence, you’re also able to better articulate yourself and communicate with others.
Visualize Your Best Self
To become more self-aware, start by envisioning yourself. When you think of the best version of you, what do you see? When you have a clear picture of this in your head, you can use it to motivate you to keep moving forward and to ignore other setbacks or obstacles.
Ask “What” Questions
Next, ask questions. Rather than focus on the “why”, which can send you down a spiral of negative thoughts, instead focus on the “what”. Focusing on “what” will reframe your situation objectively, leaving space for all particular outcomes.
Here’s an example: Instead of asking yourself “why can’t I speak up in this meeting?”, ask yourself “what will this meeting gain from my input?” This reframes the thought in a more positive way, which will help you communicate more clearly.
You can also do this with your relationships. For example, say you got into a fight with a good friend. Instead of asking “why is she so angry?”, ask yourself “what happened that day to make her feel this way?” This will help you frame the situation in a more objective manner so you don’t immediately go on the defensive.
Ask Others for Their Input
When you aren’t sure how your words and actions are affecting those around you, you can bite the bullet and do a hard thing: Ask for feedback.
Asking for feedback can be a scary step, especially when the feedback you’re asking for is so personal, but it is often the best way to evaluate situations. Use the feedback as a tool to learn, grow, and improve. Look at how others perceive you and how you perceive yourself to see where any disconnects may be happening. These disconnects will show you the areas of your life where you need to pay more attention to what is going on around you.
Become Self-Aware to Become a Better Leader & Build Better Relationships
When you take the time to look at how you affect others, it benefits more than just the people around you. It benefits you! It takes you on a journey of growth and gratitude, where you will learn how to be a better leader, friend, communicator, and person.