I was watching a funny video of Louis C.K. that touched on self-love vs self-awareness and it inspired me to write this blog post.
“Self-love is a good thing but self-awareness is more important.” – Louis C.K.
I covered the importance of self-love in an earlier blog post, and I will have to agree with Louis C.K. that self-awareness is even more important.
I believe self-awareness is the prerequisite to practicing self-love, and allowing you to stay true to yourself. It’s not easy to be authentic and to appreciate yourself if you don’t know who you are.
The more you know about yourself, the better you are at adapting life changes that suit your needs, and the better you can understand how you communicate with others. The more you pay attention to your emotions and how you work, the better you’ll understand why you do the things you do.
Self-awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment, and improve your communication with others.
It is important because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we are able to experience ourselves as unique and separate individuals. We are then empowered to make changes and to build on our areas of strength as well as identify areas where we would like to make improvements. Self-improvement is impossible without self-awareness.
How do you practice self awareness? Here are some steps that you can take, and let’s start with four small steps.
Set Your Goals
Goal setting can be an overwhelming process and you may not know where to begin. Start by asking yourself the question of where and what do you want to be in 5 years time? What are some of the things that you’d like to achieve? You can use the list of questions in my previous blog post to help you understand what makes you happy.
Write down a list of actions that you will take to help you achieve your top 3 goals and keep a journal to track your progress. Referring to my previous post on Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues, and how he documented and tracked his progress along the way, and also wisely decided not to try to tackle all the 13 virtues at once.
Know Your Personality and Communication Style
Self-awareness can help you understand your personality and communication style, and adjust how you interact with others that you interact or work with. If you can apply this well at work, it will help you recognize your potential and accelerate your career journey.
There are some tools and online psychometrics tests that can help you find out more about yourself. They include the Myers Briggs, Strengths Finder, or Disc.
These are free versions online that you can have easy access to. Of course, they are not as comprehensive as working with a certified practitioner, but it is a good start. The idea is to start the self awareness process by taking small steps.
Slow down to smell the roses. Most of us lead a very busy life and are constantly rushing from one thing or one place to another. We find it hard to find time to slow down to think with clarity. Everyone should try to make meditation a priority. It helps to improve your moment-by-moment awareness. If you bring meditation into your daily life, you will not only become more self-aware, it will also improve your overall health and well-being.
Ask Trusted Friends
We can never be truly aware of how we come across to others. It will be beneficial to find a trusted friend who can provide their honest feedback when you are seeking their objective perspective about you. Encourage this friend to call you out when you are exhibiting a behavior that you already know you want to change so that you can learn to stop. In order to facilitate this, you need to keep an open mind, and provide a safe environment without being defensive.