This past week I’ve been reflecting on what it means to live in your purpose and whether or not there’s a specific destiny that individuals are meant to fulfill. How God adds and removes people/things from our lives so that we can see more clearly our end goal. How we may think we’re headed one way and find ourselves stalled or completely turned around, brought into the actual path we were meant to follow. I realized however, that before looking at purpose, there needs to be a certain amount of self reflection and awareness. Before we can attempt to know what we are perhaps destined for, we must attempt to fully know ourselves. Thus, the topic for this week switched to self-awareness. (We can talk about living in purpose next week)
Self-awareness is essentially knowledge of your inner world. It is crucial for emotional intelligence and overall success. Building this knowledge gives us the ability to monitor our thoughts and emotions in the moment and does the bigger work in helping us accept ourselves for exactly who we are. The theory of self-awareness emerged in the 1970s by psychologists who believed that focusing on oneself allows us to be self-conscious and grants us more self-control. Being self-aware does not mean judging yourself or being super critical, but acknowledging your flaws/weaknesses as much as you can acknowledge your strengths. It does the work of freeing your mind from societal constraints and limitations that can trap us and cap our potential.
Self-awareness is difficult to cultivate because, for the most part, we navigate the world on auto-pilot. We do not take the time to actively observe how we move through the world every day. We also resist feedback out of fear that we won't like the conclusion. Here are some tips I've found to become more self-aware.
1. Create Space For Yourself: Leave some space for yourself during the day to connect with yourself. Take 30 minutes in the morning or right before you go to sleep to read, write or meditate. Limit distractions and unplug so that you are your own priority.
2. Practice Mindfulness: Being mindful is taking the time to pay attention in a particular way. Life is fast-paced and being mindful is slowing yourself down to take in your thoughts and emotions as they happen. You can practice mindfulness at any time you want, through mindful listening, mindful eating or walking
3. Journal: Take some time to document your inner state. Writing not only helps us process our thoughts but also makes us feel at peace with ourselves. Writing can also create more headspace as you let your thoughts flow out onto paper inside of keeping them bottled up. I can tell you from personal experience, this is a hard thing to keep up with but it is worth it.
4. Practice Being A Good Listener: For me, this is one of the most critical steps. Listening is not the same as hearing. Listening is about being present and paying attention to other people’s emotions, body movement and language. It is about showing empathy and understanding without constantly evaluating or judging. When you become a good listener, you will also be better at listening to your own inner voice.
5. Gain Different Perspectives: Ask for feedback. Sometimes we can fear what others think of us, and sometimes the feedback may be biased, but you will be able to differentiate them from real, genuine and balanced feedback as you learn more about yourself and others. Getting feedback can fill our blind spots and allow us to gain a fuller picture of ourselves.
How do you practice self-awareness? Comment below!