Self awareness is the key to a better life and a brighter future….but is it that simple?
No it’s not, it can take years for you to become aware of your behavioral patterns, how you’re emotionally affected by everything around you and most importantly how your past shaped you to become the person you are today.
Personally, self awareness was a journey on it’s own and it’s importance lies in seeing yourself beyond the surface and the shallow emotions.
Seeing new sides to me that i never knew existed changed my perception of the world, my mindset also changed and i started seeing colors in different shades.
That’s why today I’ll be providing you with smart ways to improve your self awareness, using clear steps.
1) validating your emotions
You should ask yourself first if you’re actually aware of your emotions.
If you are, do you truly validate your emotions?
You have to know that to improve your self awareness your emotions should be valid, simply because you feel them.
Always Keep this quote in mind “You have the right to feel whatever it is that you feel right now”
Never judge yourself for feeling a certain way, there’s no reason to do that.
Most of us automatically do so, as a form of defense mechanism.
And why? Simply to stay strong, not appear to be weak and to move on with our lives because we have more important stuffing going on.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Because doing so will only have a negative impact on you and your performance in general, if not now then later.
Most importantly you should know that there’s a huge difference between validating your emotions and being stuck in your emotions.
In fact they are extreme opposites, when you suppress your emotions there will come a day where all of those emotions will take control over you as your brain will no longer be able to suppress the accumulated emotions.
This will cause you to have intense negative emotions (you will flood in negative emotions) and that can even cause you a mental break down.
On the other side when you Validate your emotions and let yourself feel what you’re feeling, you’ll be able to get past it gradually.
And to make things even clearer, if there’s anything you need to keep under control it’s not your emotions, it’s the reckless behavior and hasty decisions made based on the negative emotions you’re experiencing.
2) Writing down your emotions
An important step to improve self awareness is writing down how you actually feel, without filters.
For some people this might not be an easy thing to do but believe me when I say that once you take the first step, it will get much easier.
Don’t worry, there are no rules for writing down your emotions, you can begin by writing one sentence and it’s gonna be more than enough.
If you get the urge to get rid of what you wrote down, do not do it!
It’s an act of resistance against emotional validation, so try your best to fight it back.
After you write down your emotions say for 1 week, try reading what you previously wrote and try to remember the way you felt while writing them down.
The next step is taking notes, these notes are like a summary that includes: the situation, the emotional reaction and the general or personal reasons behind your emotional reaction.
(The situation can be positive or negative)
To make things easier, I’ll give you a simple Example.
For instance, when I was hanging out with my friends in a cafe, one of my friends made a rude comment on some girl’s weight (situation)
I had mixed emotions, I felt sympathy towards the girl, angry at my friend, and I no longer wanted to sit there (reaction)
What caused me to feel that way is that I believe no one should be judged by their appearance, I felt personally attacked, as I don’t have a stable self image because I personally struggled with my weight once, so I know how it feels ( the personal reason behind your reaction)
so, you’re basically going to write down every situation that affects you emotionally in some way.
This is how I was personally taught to write down my emotions, it might take time and mental effort but it really pays off.
Because every word you write means something and it will help you discover so much stuff you weren’t aware of about yourself.
3) Analyzing your behavior
This step is somehow related to the second step we just discussed, yet it’s a different technique used to improve self awareness on a much deeper level.
This technique digs much deeper into your subconscious.
We’re going to split this self awareness technique into two sections.
The first section is related to negative emotions.
It basically depends on Knowing your triggers by relating them to past situations ( be careful with this technique and choose the right timing as it might unleash some unresolved issues from your past)
In the beginning you should write down a list of some of the behavioral issues that you suffer from and that deeply affect you or those you care about.
When in the situation or shortly after, start observing yourself when these behaviors surface.
For instance, one point in your list would be the lack of affection towards people you love.
You notice that you are unable to provide your loved ones with the emotions they need, and it’s been an issue you suffered from for most of your life.
You’re going to dig into your past, your upbringing until you find the real reasons that created these patterns of behavior.
In the case I just mentioned, you might realize that your parents never gave you the emotions you needed as a child or that you were rejected before when trying to show affection in your past.
The second section is related to positive emotions.
This section might be less exhausting, and it also has positive outcomes.
It’s about paying attention to the Activities and social interactions that make you experience positive emotions.
This section is based on exposing yourself to the outside world and trying new things on your own or with others.
If you already have a busy schedule try to take some time to focus on what you actually love doing during the day and what gives you positive energy.
If you’re spending most of your day in bed, then make something useful no matter how simple.
It could be a game on your phone the makes you discover a your passion, it could be a drawing on a piece of paper, or it could be getting involved with a supportive community that works on making a difference in someone else’s life.
An important note I’d like to add is keeping in mind that completely isolating yourself from others isn’t a good thing, so try communicating with others in any way that you prefer and getting involved in activities, or meaningful conversations with people you feel comfortable around.
If confronting others is sometimes hard, self confrontation can be much harder.
Realizing you have certain issues as well as bad qualities in your personality can really be hard to accept, but after you have followed the previous techniques you should already know where those bad qualities stem from.
Always remember that by accepting your truth without judging yourself, you’ll be able to develop and flourish.
5) watching the progress
Always remind yourself that having your own issues is only part of being human and most importantly anything can be fixed if you put time and effort into it.
We all have bad and good qualities, and what we should all do is work on improving our good qualities and fixing our bad ones.
Of course it’s easier said than done, but you still have time and it’s never too late to become the best version of yourself.
Self awareness is a journey on it’s own and it’s a crucial step along your journey to self acceptance and self love.