By Tanya Glover
As complex human beings, we all can benefit from self refection and self awareness. They are both important parts of who we are and who we aim to become.
Being self aware means having the ability look within ourselves to get a clear snapshot of our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, motivations and our personality in general. Becoming self aware is harder than one may think. It is not just simply being aware, but experiencing a heightened sense of awareness. Though this heightened awareness you can more easily interpret your thoughts and emotions and figure out what your true feelings and motivations are. Self awareness if important because once you are able to figure out these things about yourself, you can make the changes you need to make your life better. Emotional intelligence (being able to identify and control your emotions) is directly connected to becoming self aware and plays an important role in becoming a successful human being.
Why Be Self Aware?
By becoming self aware, you are creating the things you need to become in control of your emotions and behaviors. When you reach a high level of self awareness it is almost as if your thoughts are speaking to you directly, helping you to figure out what paths to take in your life. You will be able to control how you react to things and how to focus your attentions to the most beneficial areas. These things are what help you to make positive changes in your life. Without self awareness, it can be very difficult to steer your thoughts and emotions in a healthy direction and you may find it hard to make good decisions in your life. In essence, becoming self aware is the first step on the journey to finding the best you are and how to direct that energy into positive directions.
Self awareness is also a vital part in having good and healthy relationships. This goes for romantic relationships, friendships, family relationships and relationships with co-workers. By changing the way your mind interprets what you think you are able to also change your emotions which in turn helps to enhance the quality of the relationships in your life. Being self aware also allows you to understand others better and be able to empathize with them which also helps build better relationships.
How to Become Self Aware
The most basic way to begin your development of self awareness is to practice putting your focus on all the details of your personality and behaviors, even the smallest details as they can prove to be the most important things that effect who we are. You cannot learn how to become self aware by reading a book. A book can indeed teach you things and but you on the right path to self awareness, but you have to remember that when reading a book, what you are focusing your attention on is the concepts it is teaching you. What you must focus on to become self aware in the concepts in your own mind that deal with you, your emotions and your behaviors. In a way, learning how to become self aware is like learning a new dance step. You are conscious of each step you are making and to the beat of the music. Think of yourself as the dancer who has to pay attention to the beat of the music. The dance is you and the beat is your mind and the consciousness of what it contains. When you are a dancer and you make a misstep, you have to rethink what caused it. It is the same way when you are becoming self aware. When you experience a stressful or emotional situation or moment we must stop and take it all. By doing this you are looking for the triggers of your emotion or behavior. If you can figure this out, you can avoid the triggers or find a way to confront them, changing how your react to them. According to many mental health professionals, there are five specific ways for a person to become happier in their lives through self awareness.
ØChange your core beliefs
ØHush the voices in your head telling you to react
ØPut a stop to having purely emotional reactions
ØPut communication and respect at the top of your relationship priority list
ØDo whatever you can to create a life filled with happiness and love (self love especially) in your life.
Self reflection is not much different than self awareness and they are very much connected to each other. The definition of self reflection is the exercising of introspection, coupled with the willingness to learn about yourself, in order to help achieve self awareness.
Self reflection is something that has been practiced from the early days of man and is deeply rooted in philosophy. Self reflection in the world of philosophy refers to the understanding of your mentality, beliefs, and life desires. According to philosophical beliefs on self reflection, all of our thoughts and sensations come with beliefs that have an effect the fact that we are having those thoughts and beliefs (Locke, 1689). That may sound complicated but honestly, it is a very simple concept. Simply put, our thoughts and beliefs are directly impacted by the emotions and sensations that come with those beliefs. This is why it is important to self reflect and become self aware.
Again, a book cannot teach you how to do these things. However, a book can help you to figure out how to get there yourself. There are also many self help programs to guide you on your journey. Your journey can also be aided by talking with a professional counselor. The importance of learning self awareness and self refection cannot be stressed enough as they will help you to be a better person for yourself and those whom you love.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.