On a scale of one to ten, how self-aware are you? Whether the number is high or low, why is it so? Let’s find out.
Why do humans often feel they’re reacting to each situation they face in isolation? As if there’s no bigger picture? Usually, it’s because we don’t have perspective. Our current reactions, especially emotionally, are tied to our past. Our emotional patterns directly correlate to our childhood experiences, and on its surface, even coming to understand that is frequently overwhelming. But why?
For starters, let’s face it, humans have an almost natural propensity to make things more complicated than they are. For better or worse, it’s what makes humans, humans. But this mindset, unmanaged, can quickly become a cesspool of negativity.
“Live in the moment, but don’t let one moment determine the rest of them.”
Moments often define our lives. Meaning at the end of our lives, the only things we truly carry are memories. Memories of moments we spent with family, times we played our favorite sport, and the people who held significance in our lives. Yet, achieving this mindset is challenging for many people. Unfortunately, many of us become prisoners to our minds.
How many times have you felt annoyed or enraged but couldn’t quite pinpoint why you did? This war is waged in the mind of our world’s population every day. Upon further inspection, there’s one common denominator, a lack of self-awareness.
Much of us rely on our parents to instill the characteristics needed, like building self-awareness, not simply to get through life but thoroughly enjoy it. I am fortunate and blessed enough to say my parents taught me many of life’s most indispensable qualities, compassion, resilience, grace, determination, kindness, the list goes on. However, many people aren’t afforded that.
Sure, not having people of high character and morals in your life makes the quest to reach a higher level of emotional intelligence more demanding, but it should never cease. Because you have what it takes within you to develop self-awareness, and only you can determine that. After all, this is your awareness we’re talking about, not anyone else’s.
Yet, having support from parents or friends can sometimes lead people astray, with many becoming underdeveloped regarding self-awareness. In fact, people who don’t have a great support system typically gain self-awareness faster than their counterparts out of necessity. So, what is self-awareness? Well, simply put, it’s your conscious knowledge of your character, values, feelings, and aspirations.
How do you view yourself? Is it without bias or reflection? Of course, there’s always some bias. But part of developing self-awareness is attempting to view yourself outside of yourself. What does that mean? Self-awareness is a mixture of how you see yourself and how aware you are of how others see you.
Ingrained in self-awareness are our actions and reactions, which consist of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. The more in tune you are with yourself, the more productive you are in addressing your own and others, feelings and emotions. Emotional maturity involves examining our past experiences. It’s less difficult to delve into nostalgia with a happy mindset rather than a critical one. But to better understand our faults, it’s necessary to do the latter.
Believe it or not, sifting through the details of your childhood traumas often holds the key to your future success. By exploring them, you come to understand why you are the way you are. You discover your emotional triggers, which aid you in navigating how to cope with anger and other emotions. You recognize you’re not bound to them. The more self-awareness you gain, the easier it becomes to find methods to manage your emotions, such as therapy or meditation.
Perhaps the most fundamental part of developing self-awareness is realizing you never stop developing it. Throughout life, we evolve. As we open and close new chapters in our lives, we grow. With that growth comes an understanding of life’s never-ending variables and how quickly things can change in an instant. This enlightenment ultimately makes you more self-aware, as you gain a greater appreciation for all life offers. Stages of life come and go, and new opportunities to enhance your self-awareness will present themselves.
Take advantage of them by thoroughly assessing your actions and reactions in specific scenarios—question yourself and why you chose to act the way you did or didn’t. Be cognizant of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions throughout that process. In doing so, you’ll develop a keen sense of self-awareness, which will fuel you to make better decisions and live your best life possible.