You know yourself better than anyone else, right? Take a few minutes and really think about it though, you might be surprised at how little you actually know about yourself. I’ve been there. I thought I knew who I was, what I wanted, and what I was doing to get there. However, reality struck me when I fell into a depression at a job that I didn’t realize I hated. I became totally oblivious as to who I was, at a complete loss to my sense of self.
It was not until I was admitted to a recovery program for depression and anxiety, that I slowly started to truly discover who I was and who I wanted to be. A true sense of self-awareness started to emerge.
In this post I will discuss what self-awareness is about and why it is critical to our mental and physical well-being. I want this article to help you before you end up down the same road I went. The quicker you can truly unravel your personal awareness, the quicker you can focus on the life you want to live.
Understanding self-awareness, a definition
So, what is self-awareness about?
Let’s break it down. First we need to know what awareness is.
Awareness is about noticing things; understanding and knowing about a situation, an issue, or a subject. It’s really about paying attention to the things, people and circumstances around you.
Then you need to look at the word “self”, which is looking at who you, as an individual, are; what you think and what you feel.
So putting the two together, “self-awareness”, is simply: paying attention – having knowledge and understanding – as to who you are, what you think and what you feel, as an individual.
Self-awareness is taking notice of your own strengths and weaknesses, and how these impact the way you relate to other people. People who are aware of themselves use this information to better understand others, so as to adjust their behavior accordingly. Your self-awareness can be used as a step in building positive relationships, and in resolving conflict positively.
Benefits of self-awareness
Why is it important to understand self-awareness? Something to remember is that self-awareness is not solely about yourself, but rather includes you in relation to others. So in a nutshell, it helps you to better relationships with yourself as well as with others.
Benefits of self-awareness include:
- Knowledge of your strengths helps you to build up on them
- Knowledge of your weaknesses helps you to make amends so as to grow interpersonally
- It helps you appreciate positive feedback and how to constructively deal with negative feedback
- It helps you to ensure that your habits are aligned with your goals
- You can make better informed decisions
- It enriches your emotional intelligence
- It strengthens communication and relationships.
When I started rediscovering who I really was (how I saw myself and how other people saw me), I was not only able to find my passions, but I also embraced a new-found appreciation for myself. With this appreciation, I am easily able to set my goals and boundaries, I have gained confidence, self-assurance and courage to attempt new challenges and overcome fears. My self-awareness has opened many doors to becoming a better “me” and to radiate this out into the world for others to see. Knowing yourself, leads to better knowing others, which in turn produces stronger and beneficial relationships with others. It can really have a positive outcome to yourself and the world around you.
The Johari Window and self-awareness
To build more self-awareness, you can make use of the Johari Window.
The Johari Window is a useful model and tool in improving relations with yourself and other people.
Below you can see the 4 areas or quadrants of the Johari Window:
Considering the above model, you might be surprised on how much (or how little) you know about yourself, and what or how much others know about you. It might be useful to openly ask others how much they know about you so that you could learn more about yourself through their perspective. The “Open Self” quadrant is the most useful, effective and productive in interpersonal relationships – so embrace it in all your endeavors.
Get in touch with your awareness
Being aware of yourself and how others see you could really open your mind and thoughts to ideas and pathways you could take in your life that you may have never considered before. Pathways that are the right fit for you, pathways that could enlighten you to deeper discoveries and happiness. Using the Johari Window is only the first step to building your self-awareness.
I urge you to take some time to yourself and fill out the model. Not only this, but make a list of your strengths and your weaknesses. What are your top 5 strengths? What can you do to make the most of them? What are your top 5 weaknesses? What can you do to improve or diminish them in order to make your life more fulfilling? Really evaluate yourself and find a deeper meaning of what it is to be you – beautiful, amazing you!
If you have any questions about self-awareness, or if you have recently discovered the real you, please leave your comments and feedback below. I would love to hear from you.