There are eight billion people worldwide, and according to a Harvard study, only 10-15% of people check all the boxes to be called self-aware. You might be surprised by this number, but the content shared on social media, the news, and movies shows you exactly where people are. A large part of the population is lost, confused, and struggling.
Self-awareness means you are in tune with who you are. You have an understanding of why certain situations trigger emotional responses and thoughts. To be self-aware means you have a deep sense of your purpose and can see yourself.
Self-awareness isn’t a one-time thing because as you age, you change, and there is always room for growth. Like you, I’m encountering new things about myself every day.
In this blog, you will learn why self-awareness is important and give some examples.
Where Self-Awareness Goes Left
Studies show that self-awareness begins to develop when you’re a kid, and I’m sure you remember the first time you saw your reflection in the mirror and wanted to pick out your clothes. When you hit your 30s, your self-awareness looks a little different. You focus less on keeping up with the Joneses and more on making decisions, how you communicate with others, and the relationships you attract.
Internal vs. External Self-Reflection
There are levels of self-awareness, and knowing the difference between internal and external self-awareness is essential. Internal self-awareness is how you see yourself, your values, passions, and aspirations. Most people view these as your convictions.
External self-awareness is how other people see you. External self-awareness can be a little screwed depending on the capacity to which the person giving feedback knows you. Are you receiving criticism from the new hire you’ve worked with for the last eight months or your best friend for the last 15 years? Either way, you should listen to the feedback and determine if it accurately reflects your identity.
What Self-Awareness Looks Like
When you are self-aware, you know who you are, are confident, empathetic, and set healthy boundaries. Awareness allows you to ask the right questions to get the desired outcome. Consistently putting this into practice, you’ll notice an improvement in your communication style and listening skills. You can go from reactive listening to active or reflective listening.
Leilany Lima of Practical Alchemy Counseling explains active listening as remaining quiet while someone is speaking and not preparing your response but trying to understand what’s being said. Reflective listening is saying I heard you say (X) and asking if that’s correct, then waiting for confirmation from the speaker. Applying these listening skills while communicating shows that the parties involved were heard and seen. Just think back to all the conversations you had and didn’t feel heard.
Lately, celebrities Blac Chyna and Alexis Skye have been making headlines for their growth and transformation. They have been candid about their personal development and are healing, falling in love with themselves, and glowing from the inside out. While some believe it’s a rebrand tactic, they are making the best choices for themselves. The young women have made personal decisions that only they can understand.
Ask What, Not Why
Everyone’s path to self-awareness is different, so don’t start comparing yourself to someone else. Start spending some time with yourself and ask “what” questions instead of “why.” You commonly hear the gurus and experts ask you for your why and they never want the first one because it’s all surface and usually a generic response.
However, studies have shown that asking what is more effective because it leads you to a solution—asking “what” will cause you to take action and push you to grow, whereas asking why can keep you stuck on the past and its associated emotions.
When you are self-aware, you are comfortable in your skin and can relate to people better. Taking the time needed to discover yourself opens you up to better communication and stronger relationships. As you reflect on your thoughts and feelings, decide which ones are internal and external. As you gain clarity, reframe the questions you ask yourself from what instead of why to find solutions that move you forward vs. replaying situations and traumas from the past.
I’m a late bloomer, and life gets greater later.Bevey Smith