What does it mean to be Self-Aware?

They say that Self-awareness is having a high degree of knowledge about yourself. It is the really the ability to navigate your inner landscape. It is having a healthy relationship with your higher self and tending to your own needs on a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual level.

It’s awareness of your motivations, habits, emotional tendencies, needs, desires, strengths, and weaknesses. Having a high level of self-awareness is a powerful tool. It allows you to change your life more effectively, since you know how you tick. Those that lack self-awareness find life to be frustrating.

I believe that written over the entrance at the ancient oracle at Delphi is the phrase “know thyself.” A second phrase is also written: “everything in moderation.” To me this is essential. I think it is best to strive for self awareness and keep an a light and moderate approach to doing so. Remember that old joke? “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” Keep this in mind and do not become self obsessed or narcissistic in your attitude but live by the golden rule. The only person you are competing with is yourself.

reach your shore

How to Develop your self-awareness:

  1. Notice your feelings. You need to get real with yourself. Take an honest look at how you are living. What are you feeling throughout the day? What do you feel while you’re eating? Driving to work? Lying in bed? Taking a shower? Waiting in line?
    • Once you’ve notice your emotional climate, examine it. What am I feeling? Why? What do I need right now? What do I want? How do I normally react in this situation? Is that the best strategy to get what I want?
  2. Notice your thoughts. Unless you’ve been meditating for years, and believe me, sometime even then your mind is constantly producing  ideas and endlessly providing a running commentary on everything that is happening in your world. You can’t just look at a tree and admire it, your mind has to comment, “That’s a beautiful tree.” Then it’s off to the races. “I wonder if that tree is home to a lot of squirrels?”
    • Notice your thinking patterns. Notice how you react to your external world. What are you thinking when you’re feeling stressed? Bored? Interested? Walking down the street? Notice that similar situations result in similar thought patterns. Do you usually occupy a positive or negative state of mind? Try to distinguish your own thought process.
    • Do you judge people and situations? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the past or the future? Do you expect the worst to happen or the best? Or do you adopt an attitude of, “Let’s just see what happens”? How In the flow would you rate yourself?
  3. Understand how you deal with frustration or emotional discomfort. A huge chunk of your time is spent trying to make yourself feel better. If you feel slightly frustrated or uncomfortable, then you may spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to change the situation or the others around you to resolve those negative feelings. Notice how you deal with stressors in your life.
    • Do you try to control others? Do you attempt to distract yourself? Is your first instinct to leave the situation? Do you surf the internet or eat a big bowl of ice cream?
  4. Examine your friendships. Where do you find your friends? What kind of social or community service groups do you belong to? Are most of your friendships long-term or short? When your friendships end, what is the common cause? What types of people do you prefer to be friends with? What types of people do you avoid?
  5. Examine your intimate relationships. Do you see a pattern in the type of people that you’ve been involved with? What are the negative characteristics they all share? Are you dating the same person with a different face? Why do you think those people appealed to you?
    • What were your shortcomings in your relationships? Are you clingy? Jealous? Too focused on work? Failed to communicate your needs? Think about how you contributed to the failure of your relationships.
    • Have you changed your approach from relationship to relationship, or do you continue to repeat your mistakes?
  6. Keep a journal. There’s no better way to learn about yourself than to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences each day. Studies have shown that we don’t remember our past very accurately, so record it while it’s still fresh in your mind. Be sure to include your high and low points for the day.
    • Note how well you ate and slept, too. You might find some useful information. Your diet and sleep patterns play a very important part in your physical, emotional and mental well being. Self care is a primary need so make sure you are tracking to see patterns and how they effect your overall well being.
    • Create a habit of writing in your journal for at least 15 minutes each day. You’ll start to notice patterns and learn a lot about yourself. When I really pay attention to my journalling I start to notice how my tone or handwriting takes on different characteristics depending on my mood. What do you notice?

Understanding yourself might be the most important piece of your self-development puzzle. If you don’t understand yourself, it’s difficult to apply all the great information available today. Maintain an awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Examine and question them. You’ll be surprised by what you find. Here is a video affirmation meditation I created to help deal with any necessary change.

Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you on your journey!