Developing self-awareness takes time and patience, but it is an essential trait to have. Self-awareness is the key to success, mindfulness, and mental wellness. Knowing yourself and your impact on the world around you will help you make better decisions, have better self-control, and boost confidence. If you have no idea where to begin, you’re in the right place! Check out these strategies to help you build your self-awareness.
Keep a Journal
Journals are a fantastic tool to help you develop self-awareness. They allow you to dive into your emotions and reflect on your reactions to certain events in your life. Sometimes it can be hard to think of things to write, and that’s where most people stop. Find prompts to help get you writing, and once you’re done, go back and read it a few times to soak in the information you put down. Even go back to days past and watch the fluctuations of your emotions and responses. You can learn a lot about yourself from yourself.
Take a Look at Your Mood
If you choose to journal, this would be a great area to reflect on. Mood journaling is another great tool that helps you focus on your emotions. When you feel big emotions start to overcome you, take a minute to understand where these emotions are coming from and the appropriate ways to deal with them. Understanding what causes us to have these big emotions is an essential step for self-awareness. It is also a tall order and why SEL (Social Emotional Learning) is so important. Whether or not you decide to journal these feelings, it is essential to reflect so you know how to deal with and make decisions regarding similar situations in the future.
Go Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you always stick to what you know, you’ll never learn anything new. However, stepping outside of your comfort zone is difficult when you have low self-awareness and because it’s uncomfortable. That’s why I suggest taking this one a little slow. By just trying new things, you’re exposing yourself to new ideas and experiences. The key to stepping out of your comfort zone is to analyze the situation, recognize your discomfort level, and find alternatives if the situation becomes too much. Hey, it’s ok to say “no” to things you determine that you do not like. You develop self-awareness by deciding which things you like and dislike and how to react in new situations.
Listen to Feedback
This may be a more significant step out of the comfort zone for many people. We seem to be always bracing ourselves for the worst when we ask for feedback on the things we do. While receiving negative reviews may sting a bit, feedback is feedback, and we can learn from it all. If we only consider our own perspective, we are only getting a fraction of the information about ourselves. Take a moment and talk to those you are around you. We need to hear honest and objective criticism to improve areas where we are struggling and maintain our strengths. The more feedback you receive, the better.
Once you’ve found a strategy that works for you, step away from all the chaos, take a deep breath and just stop. Get rid of all the distractions and focus on yourself and your feelings for a few minutes each day. How did that feedback make you feel? What was it like to experience that new thing? Reflect on what is, not just what could have been. Develop strategies for the future on dealing with strong emotions and how to respond to certain behaviors. Remember, not all meditation looks the same. Find a style that works best for you; just remember to breathe.
Developing self-awareness may be a long journey, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Take small steps. We are always moving forward, and every day is a new opportunity to learn something new, even about ourselves.