Self-awareness is a familiar phrase and an important quality to possess as you delve deeper into personal growth. But what does it actually mean, and how can you learn to increase your self-awareness?

Similar to mindfulness, self-awareness requires a refinement of conscious thought. However, self-awareness differs in that it is a subjective assessment of who you are, what you enjoy, what you dislike, how you feel, and all of the intricacies of your identity.

Even if you may feel that you ‘know yourself,’ it’s possible that you are not entirely self-aware. But luckily, there are simple ways to increase self-awareness, and if you are willing to explore the depths of your psyche, you can access this trait.

Let’s explore the ways in which you can develop the knowledge of self. While self-awareness may not be a natural-born characteristic, it is certainly possible to cultivate this quality in anyone.

1. Principles Of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness requires reflection and the ability to critically evaluate your personality and emotions, even the ones that you are uncomfortable to encounter. In fact, the more difficult it is to face a particular characteristic, the more significant it may be to your growth.

There are a few key principles of self-awareness that are fundamental to increasing your consciousness. Considering the points below will help steer you away from acting on auto-pilot, especially if a particular habit is ingrained.

  • Resist defensive behavior. You may defer to acting on the defense as a way to resist against feedback. Become aware of your triggers when receiving information.

  • Think before you speak. Consider your actions before you resort to an impulsive behavior or response.

  • Be responsible. Own your faults and maintain responsibility for your actions.

  • Avoid negative self-talk. Your inner critic may be loud and intense, but this does not have to be your truth. Catch yourself the next time you resort to beating yourself up.

  • View a debate as an opportunity to learn. Maintain an open mind when discussing a potentially heated issue. Replace the need to be right with the desire to gain knowledge.

2. Tips To Improve Self-Awareness

Building self-awareness takes practice, and you may go through phases in your life where this process may be easier or more difficult. Often, stressful life changes can steer us away from our personal development, and whenever possible, you can refer to these helpful tips that assist you in staying on track.

The journey of becoming more self-aware will also involve detachment from your ego. Allowing your ego to dictate your development only serves further perpetuate a false and constructed sense of self.

  • Seek out feedback from others. Accepting both positive and constructive comments not only allows for a more objective assessment, but it also shows that you respect others’ opinions outside of yourself.

  • Learn to meditate. Meditation is a great tool that can help you to disengage from your thoughts. When you are too far in your head, it is difficult to see things as they are and not as you want them to be. Observing your thoughts as opposed to being controlled by them can be a powerful revelation.

  • Keep a journal. Keeping a written account of your thoughts, experiences, and emotions can provide the opportunity for reflection. The act of recording this information is an excellent way to process how you are feeling.

  • Educate yourself in a new skill. Learning a new skill helps to expand your mind and gets you out of a mental rut. When you challenge yourself, it can help to boost your creativity, as well as your self-esteem, increasing awareness within and also outside of yourself.

  • Take a personality quiz or an assessment. While not every test will provide you with the most accurate information, it can be a fun and enlightening way to learn more about your habits and personality. You may encounter a trait that you would like to change or quality that you can embrace with pride.

3. The Benefits Of Increased Self-Awareness

Deepening your consciousness through increased self-awareness can provide you with healing benefits. While it may be challenging to explore the darker side of your psyche, the rewards you can receive will ultimately provide you with a stronger sense of empowerment.

  • Increased self-awareness can lead to higher emotional intelligence.

  • You may be able to communicate more effectively or more appropriately, depending on the situation.

  • You can improve your ability to solve problems and to think more critically.

  • You may develop stronger relationships in both your personal and professional life.

  • Becoming more self-aware could make you a better leader.

  • An increase in your self-worth and self-confidence.

While the benefits may outweigh the initial discomfort of changing a habit, becoming more self-aware does take practice and can be an ongoing process. However, if you are willing to back down from your defenses and welcome constructive feedback, you will start to notice a positive transformation from within.

4. Self- Awareness Training

When looking to deepen your sense of self-awareness, some people may benefit from taking self-awareness classes; there are numerous online courses available. Many of these self-awareness courses tie into professional development and are offered in part of a larger leadership program.

Depending on your chosen resource, some courses offer a certificate of completion, which would be a great addition to your resume. Other classes may include subsections of stress management, critical thinking, and ways to improve mindfulness.

Online self-awareness training may offer the support you need via exercises and instructor feedback if you are someone who prefers guidance from a knowledgeable coach.

Research has shown that people who exhibit a more profound sense of self-awareness are more effective leaders, experience professional satisfaction, and are generally well-adjusted when it comes to managing their emotions. “And yet, as one study estimates, only 10-15% of people are truly self-aware.”

Regardless of where you are in your journey, it is possible to increase your self-awareness. Consider taking a proactive approach so that you can empower yourself through more meaningful forms of engagement.

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