If you want to feel like you have control of your life more, you have to become more self-aware.
And of course, discover how it will improve your self-confidence!
Let’s dive right in!
PART I: The Importance of Self-Awareness
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PART II: The Stories You’re Telling Yourself
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What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is having a great perception of yourself: your thoughts, your reactions, and behaviors, your emotions too, your weaknesses and strengths.
It’s really about knowing yourself and understanding what’s going on in your head.
Something very important that needs to be said here: being self-aware is like the word says it, being more aware of ourselves!
But we tend to judge what we are discovering. I really want to point at that distinction that it’s not about judging what we find.
It’s about discovering and understanding what’s going on.
Then, depending on what you find, you can try to do/think/feel something different. But at first, simply judging what you will find while becoming more self-aware isn’t going to help you.
You will only feel sad, mad, or even depressed. 🙁
So keep this in mind, become more self-aware, understand more, be a friend to your mind, but do not judge what you will see, you want this self-awareness to be beneficial, right? 🙂
The next question which is essential of course is…
Why is it important to be self-aware?
Again, we should learn how to be more self-aware at school, because it’s essential!
Let me tell you something.
Isn’t very frustrating when you feel overwhelmed or when you don’t understand why you’re reacting this way and not another?
It may be confusing and uncomfortable!
This is when being more self-aware can really help. Because you know yourself, you’re questioning yourself and you’re trying to understand what’s going on.
For example, your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t having the reaction that you wanted them to. You’re getting super mad on the inside and it’s driving you crazy! Not only the fact that you’re mad at him/her, but even more because you don’t understand really WHY it’s driving you crazy!
As you can see, being more self-aware can improve your relationship with yourself… And with others! 🙂
What do you need help with?
(Choose between the 2 options)
Self awareness examples
An example in our everyday life
I really like this example from Hugo, the founder of Tracking Happiness.
He’s using this image to say that something can happen to us (like being stuck in traffic) and being self-aware can help us have control of it (and not letting IT have control over us!).
He says that “Having the ability to change your own perception of the outside world can make a significant difference”.
As you can see, the reality is the same for these 3 people. But the last one is self-aware of
I also liked this Awareness Wheel from Sarah from study.com.
She’s basically saying that when we are facing a situation in which we are saying to ourselves “it’s an issue”, you can become more self-aware of what’s going on inside of you by looking at different areas of self-awareness.
For example, you arrived on time for an appointment and someone is late. You’re getting super mad!
Start by the middle of this chart and try to understand what are the exact facts (sensory data) and what thoughts you may have and what feelings you can feel in your body.
In the example that I gave, you can recognize all of what’s going on inside of you by thinking like this:
This person is late.
I have the belief that you need to be on time to respect me.
I’m feeling very mad and unrespected because I think that my time is precious.
This is all that’s going on inside of our head! 🙂
It may be different to others, depending on our experiences, our values and beliefs.
Other examples of self-awareness
When people hear “be more self-aware”, we may not even know what exactly we mean by that!
You can be more self-aware of:
- Your thoughts
- Your feelings and emotions
- Your actions
- The results that you have
- Your behaviors
- Your reactions
- The words you use
- The way you express yourself
Last example of self-awareness: understanding better others
Something very important and essential when it comes to self-awareness is… The fact that you are more self-aware of others!
Since you understand how your mind words (your thoughts, your beliefs…), you then understand that it’s the same for anyone else! 🙂
As I always say, we should never take things personally, because everyone is quite self-centered when you think about it.
People just try to have their own needs met! 🙂
So, by being more self-aware for YOURSELF, you’re also becoming more self-aware that OTHERS are also trying their best! 🙂
It’s an extra awareness step inside of the self-aware world! 😉
How do you become self aware?
I really love how Steve from Develop Good Habits is sharing how to develop and increase self-awareness:
I would add another way:
When you observe others, you can also imagine how you would yourself react and feel in that same moment.
And this is great because looking at yourself from the outside is helping in having a better perspective, a more objective one.
I always say “imagine that you are talking to a friend”. Sometimes we can be quite hard with ourselves and having an “outside perspective” is a great way to be more self-aware!
Is self awareness a skill?
Self-awareness is definitely a skill that you can develop.
No one was born with it!
Actually, I remember reading on the website SkillsYouNeed that “Self-awareness is one of the key components of emotional intelligence (EI).”
Like self-confidence, it’s skills that the more you work on them, the better you’ll be at them! 🙂
If you see people that are very self-aware, it’s probably because they have been interested in that topic and built their self-awareness overtime.
The 3 levels of self-awareness
I also wanted to share with you the 3 levels of self-awareness from Mike Manson.
LEVEL 1 – WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?
He wants us to ask ourselves this question because he says that we actually have a lot of distractions in our everyday life and that we need to be aware of them.
It’s the way we are spending our time: do we really want to hang out with that person? Do we really want to spend this time on social media?
We need to choose what we do every day of our lives and decide if it’s what we want or not.
It’s not about “not having distractions” but more about “do you really want these distractions or not?”
LEVEL 2 – WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU FEELING?
With that question, he wants us to really discover how we are feeling and what we really want to feel.
LEVEL 3 – WHAT THE HELL ARE YOUR BLIND SPOTS?
By asking these questions, he wants us to understand our weaknesses and to understand that we are sometimes taking ourselves waaaaay too seriously!
This is something that I strongly agree with. It’s true that even if we want to make the best out of this life that we are living, we are also sometimes making such a big deal out of nothing! 🙂
Easier said than done but for this, I really agree! 🙂
We will feel better on some things remembering that we won’t get out of this life alive and we better start taking ourselves a bit less seriously! 🙂
Benefits of self awareness
The greatest benefit of being more self-aware is the bridge that it’s building to anything you want to do with your life and any skill you want to build.
Let’s take the example of self-confidence.
Building this skill starts by being self-aware that you want to be more self-confident. It’s by asking yourself questions such as “what will your life look like the moment you will be more self-confident?”
Another example: you want to improve your relationships. By being more self-aware for what reasons you want this to happen, what is the “why” behind having better relationships, you are already going in the direction of it!
- You know what your strengths are and you can use them as resources
- You are more comfortable being who you truly are
- You are getting to know yourself better
- You are less taking things personally
- You are less stressed and anxious (because you know you’ll be okay no matter what)
- So many more! 🙂
Self-awareness and self-confidence
Of course, I need to talk about this! 🙂
The moment you become more self-aware, you are getting to know yourself better.
As I always say, if you want to build life-lasting self-confidence, you NEED to be more self-aware of who you are and what are your strengths and talents.
Building the skill of self-confidence starts with being more self-aware.
Ask yourself again: what would you do, the moment that you will be more self-confident? What like are you going to be able to live? How will that make you feel?
All of these questions are self-awareness questions and they will help you build your self-confidence right away! 🙂
The stories you’re telling yourself!
What are they?
Without being aware of them, we all have stories about ourselves.
They can be about:
- Our personality: “I’m always late, so I’m going to be always late, it’s part of my personality.”
- Our capabilities: “I’ve never succeeded at losing weight, I just cannot do it.”
- Our past: “My parents were like this, so I will always…”
You got the idea!
We all have these stories!
It’s totally normal: our brain has kept us alive for many years and it wants to make sure that it will keep us alive, so it continues to create thoughts that are “keeping” us from danger…
Become aware of those stories without doing anything about them yet!
So, the very first thing to do is simply discover what are those stories you’re telling yourself about yourself.
Look for thoughts that start with:
- I should…
- I never…
- I always…
- It’s in my personality that…
- I’m just not good at…
Without paying attention, there are thoughts that you may have been thinking again and again (and believing!) without knowing that you are actually thinking them!
Most of my coaching clients may start judging themselves when they realize what stories they are telling themselves…
And it’s totally normal!
But at that point, really, have your own back!
Look at what you are finding with compassion and curiosity.
Nothing is wrong with you having those stories!
It’s an amazing find you’re going to see!
Understand that they are STORIES, they aren’t reflecting the truth!
The fascinating part is the following: do not forget that it’s not because you’re thinking something that it’s necessarily true.
So, here’s the good news!
It’s not because you’ve been thinking, it’s not because you’ve always had stories that they are necessarily true!
This can be mindblowing to just even consider!
Do not overwhelm yourself with this process, simply take one story that you’re telling yourself about yourself and consider the fact that they aren’t maybe true!
Ask yourself: Does this story serve you?
The moment that you discovered what your stories are and that you questioned if they are true or not, ask yourself: Does this story serve me somehow?
Is it a helpful story to keep thinking (and telling myself)?
Or should I be more aware of this story and of its effects?
As you probably know by now, I’m a firm believer in the fact that our thoughts create our feelings.
So, if you think and believe a story about yourself that isn’t serving you, you’re going to feel a certain way and act a certain way!
Maybe you want different results in your life?
So, you need a different story! 🙂
The example of “I’m a lazy person.”
I used to think that I was a lazy person.
I considered it as a fact even!
I found proof everywhere that I was lazy and I was surely convinced of this, I truly believed it.
By becoming aware that it was a thought that I had, a story I was telling myself, I asked if it was serving me.
You probably guess that it was not!
Thinking this, I was feeling hopeless and therefore, I wasn’t taking action towards something that I wanted.
The thought did not disappear at all!
It’s just that when it appears in my brain, I was more aware of it and I could look at it and say: “I see you thought, I see that story coming up! It makes sense, I’ve been believing it so much! But I choose now to believe something else. Sometimes, I’m lazy and that’s okay, but not always!”
I liked not to move straight to thoughts such as “I’m never lazy” because that was just not believable to me.
But the story of “Sometimes I’m a bit lazy and sometimes not at all” is a story that is serving me because it’s making me feel motivated and then, I wanted to take action!
So, really ask yourself: is this story serving me or not?
Use it for other stories in your life (not only about yourself)
When you become more aware of the stories you’re telling yourself, you can start by paying attention to stories you have about other people around you, the world, the economy, politics…
- People are not reliable
- Men cheat
- My brother is always agressive
And ask yourself… Is it really true? Are there exceptions maybe?
And does it serve me to believe it?
Or should I just be more aware of that thought and choose not to believe it when it shows up in my brain?
Fascinating work, no? 🙂
To sum up!
As you can see, being more self-aware is really a skill that you can develop.
It’s about understanding your feelings, your thoughts, your reactions.
It’s NOT about judging what you will find! But more trying to get to know yourself better and to be able to bring a change to your life, if it’s what you want.
And I like how Mark Manson says that…
“THE RESULT OF SELF-AWARENESS HAS TO BE SELF-ACCEPTANCE.”
I agree 100% with this!
When you are discovering what’s going on inside of you, you really become more tolerant towards yourself.
And you accept yourself because you discover that you’re a human being, trying to do what sounds to be the best for its time here! 🙂
To your self-awarded and self-accepted YOU! 🙂