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Are You Actually Self Aware? 11 Reasons Why You May Need to Take a Closer Look in the Mirror

Do you sometimes question where you’re at in life and get flooded with feelings of inadequacy?

We all have moments of doubt. It’s basic human nature, really. No matter where you are in life, you can find yourself questioning whether there’s more you could do or accomplish. We tend to be our own harshest critics, which is why having a greater sense of self-awareness is so important to overcoming these feelings that weigh us down.

If you’ve ever found yourself asking any of these questions in your mind, you need to build a better sense of self-awareness:

  • What do I want?
  • Why do I feel empty?
  • Why do I feel trapped?
  • What is the point of life?

These questions can all prompt an existential crisis for you if you have a lack of self-awareness. You’re only human, after all, and doubt can take over if you start feeling overwhelmed by the state of your place in the world.

If you find yourself struggling with positively answering the above questions or questioning your life, please seek help. There are therapists available to assist you online with no insurance required. You never have to struggle alone, as there are people willing to help you navigate your feelings and get you to a better place.

Even if you’re not in a position where you need a professional, there’s good news! By working on strengthening your sense of self-awareness, you can build better emotional balance and not only combat feeling overwhelmed but also enhance your sense of self and overcome your doubts. 

What Does Self-Awareness Mean?

If you’re familiar with the term emotional intelligence, you already have a pretty basic idea of what self-awareness is. Self-awareness has many aspects, and one of the primary ones is recognizing your emotional state at any given time. It is also the ability to look at yourself objectively and reconcile who you are as a person, where you want to be, and how to get there.

Viewing yourself objectively is the key to building self-awareness. Every person has doubts about themselves and criticizes themselves more harshly than others might, so being objective about yourself is difficult. By being able to look at yourself as another would, you can better assess the person you truly are and determine what adjustments you might need to make to become the person you want to be.

There are several benefits to having good self-awareness, and it can help you become more proactive and a better decision-maker. Good self-awareness can help you at work, as you can have more confidence and be a better communicator.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why you might not be as self-aware as you think you are and learn more about how you can develop better self-awareness in your life!

#1: You’re Not Honest with Yourself

You have to be able to be honest with yourself to achieve greater self-awareness. Being honest doesn’t mean picking yourself apart, as that will only tear your self-esteem down. You need to assess the good and bad aspects of who you are to know your value as a person and where you can improve.

If you can’t be honest with yourself, you won’t be able to grow as a person. Downplaying or rationalizing where you come up short prevents you from making adjustments. Likewise, if you don’t give yourself enough credit for your good traits, you can try to improve on the wrong things. 

#2: You Struggle with Stress

Everyone feels stress, whether it be from work pressure or the demands of your home life. But if you’re not dealing with the stress you’re under effectively, it will affect your self-awareness. You can’t stay in control of your emotions if you’re not managing your stress properly. Being stressed can keep you on edge, leading to inevitable blow-ups where you wind up lashing out at those around you.

Meditation can go a long way toward helping alleviate the stress you’re enduring. Meditating helps clear your mind, and as you focus on the rhythm of your breathing, your body relaxes. This can help you not only curb your stress levels but also focus on what you’re feeling and build a better sense of self-awareness.

#3: You Need to Have a Plan

Not having a good plan for what you want and expect of yourself can minimize your self-awareness. Think of it like being stranded on an island. Your survival would depend on familiarizing yourself with your surroundings and knowing what assets they provide. Without exploring and mapping the island, you wouldn’t know where you could find clean drinking water or fruit to eat.

The same thing applies to developing self-awareness. If you don’t have an idea of what type of person you want to be, you can’t map a course to get there. Taking time to figure out how you want to develop as a person will allow you to plot a path to get there. Setting personal development goals will give you benchmarks to track your progress and ensure you don’t get discouraged on your way to your ultimate goals.

#4: You’re Not Sure What You Value

Understanding why you do what you do is one of the most important elements of self-awareness. Understanding the root of your behaviors and actions requires knowing your personal values. If the choices you make don’t align with your values, you may have a lack of self-awareness.

Think about your values and then narrow them down to the ones most important to you. Take a look at what you focus your energy on and where you should be using more or less energy. Try to find things that inspire you, like quotes or philosophical views that resonate with you, and use them as guideposts in your development.

#5: You Don’t Know Yourself as Well as You Need To

Knowing where you want to be in your personal development ultimately requires you to see where you’re at currently. Without a baseline sense of yourself, you can’t effectively develop and improve to your end goal. It would be like trying to set out on a road trip with no map or even a steering wheel!

To figure out where you are as a person, it helps to start by taking some psychometric tests to get a clearer picture. You may have  heard of a Myers-Briggs test or Predictive Index — they are two of the prominent psychometric tests many businesses use to assess their people. Unlike traditional tests, psychometric tests don’t have right or wrong answers as they elicit responses to understand the individual’s traits and characteristics better. 

#6: You Need an Outsider’s View

Gaining a better idea of yourself is great, but in order to truly build self-awareness, you need to be able to view yourself as others do. But how can a person accomplish this type of independent evaluation? Ask your trusted friends for their honest opinion of you! Your friends can be the most honest mirrors you can use to look at yourself, given the right circumstances.

First, you need to let them know that you’re seeking their feedback to improve yourself, so they feel safe sharing without hurting feelings. Second, you have to set aside your ego and be receptive to what they say without getting defensive — you asked for their honesty, after all. Third, you can ask your friends to call you out when you exhibit behaviors you’ve told them you want to change.

#7: You Need to Organize Your Thoughts and Feelings

Many of us have a running internal monologue where we talk ourselves through things that happen in our lives. Who hasn’t replayed an awkward interaction with another person over and over in their mind trying to figure out what you could’ve said better? You can do the same thing in trying to build self-awareness, looking back on scenarios to find ways to improve.

Using a personal journal to write these thoughts and feelings down can go a long way to help you. Instead of relying on your memories of a situation or interaction that you could’ve handled differently, writing it down can help organize your thoughts more effectively. It will also give you a clear reference point to assist in tracking your development progress and help you avoid backsliding into old behaviors.

#8: You Need to Expand Your Entertainment Choices 

It might sound nuts, but the types of entertainment you choose can affect your self-awareness! A study conducted in 2006 found that people who read more fictional works displayed greater empathy and scored higher on social acumen tests. 

Fictional books and similar types of entertainment media help people gain a better sense of being in someone else’s shoes. Since these works tend to be from a third-person perspective, your experience is observing them from an outsider’s point of view. How the main character acts in situations causes you to think about how you would act or deal with those same events, which is at the root of self-awareness.

#9: You’re Not Practicing Enough Gratitude

As we all move through life, the day-to-day of our existence can dull us as people. When the alarm goes off and you get up to start getting ready for the day, your first thought usually isn’t that you’re happy to have woken up. You probably don’t notice how beautiful the sunrise might look when commuting to work in the morning. 

It’s tough to feel appreciative when you’ve been woken up by a blaring alarm and you’re facing the start of your work day, but taking a small moment each morning to think about something or someone you’re thankful for can be great for your self-awareness. These brief moments of gratitude can help you feel more connected to the world around you and the people and things you hold dear.

#10: You Act or Feel Before Thinking

Everyone will have the occasional outburst or knee-jerk reaction, but if you behave this way more often than not, you’re not as self-aware as you should be. These reactions are emotionally-based and reflect a lack of emotional intelligence and control.

When faced with something that prompts these kinds of reactions, you should take a moment to consider what is causing the reaction. Taking a breath and answering that question can allow you to determine how you can deal with the situation better and more calmly. It can also help you later reflect on things since you’ll have a clearer recollection due to being more emotionally controlled.

#11: Are You Really Listening?

Communicating with others seems so easy, but there would be fewer therapists and counselors in the world if it were. It’s one thing to tell someone what you need or what you’re feeling, but we don’t always give the same consideration to them. We all want to be heard, but we don’t always want to hear.

In order to build emotional intelligence, you need to be not just a good communicator but a good listener. Take care to pay attention to the person speaking to you as well as what they’re saying to you. Notice their body language and emotions without judging their reactions or words. Doing these things will give you a deeper understanding of what the person is trying to tell you beyond just what is being said.

Be the Best Possible Version of Yourself

Being better aware and in control of your emotions can help in so many areas of your life. It can help you communicate more effectively with your partner and understand them more deeply. Emotional intelligence can improve your working life, as you’ll be able to adjust to changes easier and discuss issues with co-workers and supervisors more effectively. Most of all, you’ll feel more in tune with your own emotions, giving you a stronger sense of self.
Here at Greatness, we want everyone to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Check out our article, The 7 Best Ways to Cultivate Self-Care & Self-Love, to help you appreciate yourself a little more. Also, our friends at Self-Care Is For Everyone joined us for an interview that you can read here. Self-care and being self-aware all begin with you!

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Greatness Authors is a collection of writers, thinkers, curiosity experts, and students of the world who are committed to bringing you the most up-to-date, impactful, and inspiring information surrounding Greatness topics.

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