Building and improving self-awareness is key to a healthier, happier life. At its core, self-awareness is about seeing yourself clearly and fully understanding what role you play in a situation, good or bad.
Research also suggests that self-aware people are more confident, creative, make smarter decisions, and build stronger relationships. If the concept of self-awareness is still sounding vague to you, don't worry: We have eight self-awareness examples that will help you quite a bit on your journey and help you gain a greater understanding of yourself.
Here are eight examples of self-awareness, and tips for how you can become more self-aware.
1. Embrace a growth mindset
It's natural to be set in our ways. We want to think that the way we do something — especially if we've been doing it for years — is the absolute right way to go about it. But when you embrace a growth mindset, you understand that even your most basic abilities have the capacity to grow and change, if only you stay open to the possibility.
2. Set boundaries
When we don't set boundaries, it's hard to think clearly and take a long, hard look at ourselves. This is because working long hours, spending time with people who deplete us, or spending too much time scrolling on our phones makes it almost impossible to stop, reflect, and become aware of our thoughts and actions.
3. Recognize destructive habits
Some habits are very obviously destructive: Think staying up too late binge-watching a show when you should be sleeping, or drinking a glass of wine every day after work instead of exercising.
Then there are habits that are sneakier in just how destructive they are, and those are the ones you have to watch out for. For example, scrolling on our phones when we have a few minutes of downtime can block important thinking and self-reflection time. Always assuming a person is wrong when they give us any form of criticism can be destructive, too — because sometimes, other people's feedback is really important.
4. Understand your blind spots
We can't all be good at every single thing. If we were, the world would be less interesting — so understanding and working to improve your blind spots is an important element of self-awareness. Some examples of blind spots might be never wanting to ask for help, always thinking you're right, or avoiding tough conversations. If you understand these patterns in yourself, you can work to improve on them, or at the very least admit to them when you're in a tough situation.
5. Get better at anticipating things so you can come up with an action plan
Knowing our weaknesses is an important part of self-awareness, and when we know something is coming up that may tempt us to give in to that weakness, we can make a plan. Maybe you deal with the "Sunday Scaries" most Sunday nights, and you tend to cope with it by numbing out with a TV show that ends up making you feel worse. Self-awareness means making a plan to do something better for yourself. Hey, why not make Sunday night date night, or take yourself out to the movies?
6. Pay attention
It seems like a simple concept, but in our distraction-filled world, paying attention isn't always easy. Increase your awareness of the world around you by putting your phone away, practicing active listening, and allowing for as few distractions as possible in your day-to-day life.
7. Ask the right questions
Sometimes, asking a question at all takes courage. But asking the right questions requires, courage, thought, and self-awareness. For example, imagine your boss gives you negative feedback at work. Take a moment to breathe and ask yourself if you feel it's legitimate. If somewhere deep down within yourself you feel it is, follow it up by asking what you can do differently next time. None of us are perfect, so the most important thing you can do is understand when you're wrong and then question yourself — and others — to figure out how you can do things differently next time.
8. Help others become more self-aware
Self-awareness isn't just about ourselves. Self-awareness benefits the community at large, so if you can help other people become more self-aware, that's great. Saying something like "Why do you think you feel that way?" — in a caring and open tone, of course — is a great question to ask a friend who complains to you about something in their lives to help them become more self-aware.
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