Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection.
In this day and age, it is easier than ever to feel defeated, overwhelmed, and lost. The competitiveness of society and comparative culture of today can destroy your self-confidence and leave you searching for an identity.
It’s hard to avoid caring about what other people think of you and measuring yourself against that which you are exposed to. But worry not – there is a superpower that can help you become resilient to the challenges of today. And it’s a little thing called self-awareness.
While it may not be possible to attain total objectivity about oneself (that’s a debate that has continued to rage throughout the history of philosophy), there are certainly degrees of self-awareness. It exists on a spectrum. Although everyone has a fundamental idea of what self-awareness is, we don’t know exactly where it comes from, what its precursors are, or why some of us seem to have more or less than others. This is where the self-awareness theory comes in, offering some potential answers to questions like these.
Researchers have proposed that an area of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex located in the frontal lobe region plays an important role in developing self-awareness. Studies have also used brain imaging to show that this region becomes activated in adults who are self-aware.
The Lewis and Brooks-Gunn experiment suggests that self-awareness begins to emerge in children around the age of 18 months, an age that coincides with the rapid growth of spindle cells in the anterior cingulate cortex. However, one study found that a patient retained self-awareness even with extensive damage to areas of the brain including the insula and the anterior cingulate cortex.
At its core, self-awareness is about understanding the things that make you function in your everyday life. Your thoughts, feelings, belief systems, responses, and ways of relating all go under this big umbrella. And it’s no secret that the more you know about yourself, the better you will be at reacting to the different situations that life throws at you. Here is a brief overview of some of the benefits of improving self-awareness.
Better at decision making. Arguably the most important aspect of self-awareness is how it can benefit your decision-making process. Every day, we are faced with hundreds of decisions, micro-choices that we make with hardly any awareness and bigger ones that are more conscious. Improving your self- awareness will help you increase your emotional intelligence and understand the internal factors that drive your decision-making process. How you make choices, why you make the choices you do, and what you’re driven to in certain contexts are all pieces of the larger puzzle that make up who you are.
Activities that increase your self-awareness also give you an understanding of how different moods impact your decision- making process and how you can regroup in a stressful situation to make the best possible decision. And here’s the thing – you don’t need to move mountains to change the way you behave and respond. Even slight improvements in your decision-making skills can lead to drastic changes in the results that you wish to achieve in your life. And who doesn’t want that?
Improves Confidence. It is easy to scroll through social media and idolize the influencers that are attempting to help us lead better lives. However, too much noise from outside sources is actually harmful in developing your own sense of self. Taking a step back, getting curious and reflecting on your own past, personality, and desires can lead to much better results. You should be spending less time listening to how other people think you should live your life and instead work on building confidence from your core values and the different strengths and weaknesses that you possess.
In addition, we are beings who thrive on healthy relationships. Our brain’s default position is one of social nature. People who are highly self-aware are great at creating and maintaining relationships because they have a clear understanding of what they bring to the table, know how to relate to the feelings of other people, and are more competent in setting their own boundaries. This naturally improves the confidence that a person exudes in social situations and leads to many further benefits.
Improves leadership skills. Knowing more about yourself aids in removing internal fears and insecurities that you could be feeling and helps you to focus on solving outward issues. Leaders are great at making swift decisions and carrying themselves with confidence. If you are looking to be promoted to a position of leadership in your workplace or simply want to become a better natural leader in your community, self-awareness activities are a great place to start.
Saves you Time. There are thousands of books out there that are all tailored to helping you find the best version of yourself. However, many people will tell you that after reading these types of books, they felt as if they were in the same place as when they started. How many friends do you have that claim to be changed after reading a book only to find they are still looking for that change? That is because many of these books are too broad and offer an overwhelming amount of knowledge that is not tailored to your personality and life.
They can leave you feeling directionless as far as what steps to take and often have 300 pages of fluff that can be edited down to one single truth: IT STARTS WITH YOU! If you spend more time reflecting on your own life, and your own tendencies, and meditate on your biological temperament and how you interact in your environments, it can lead to much better results than reading what other people say has worked for them.
Connects you back to yourself. An easy way to lose touch with ourselves is to spend too much time attempting to be someone we are not. This can involve trying overly hard to fit into social groups, working to maintain a reputation in the workplace, or behaving more like your idealized self than our real one. Self-awareness activities are one of the first steps in connecting us back to our inner being and avoiding the triggers that leave us feeling disconnected. Living an authentic life leaves you more emotionally at ease and comfortable in your own skin.
Makes you healthier. When we know more about ourselves, we do better for ourselves. A research study once took two groups of smokers and asked one group to just pay attention to what it felt like while they were smoking. This group had a higher rate of success when they were later asked to quit smoking. Why? Because they tuned into what it felt like – they became more self-aware. When we tune into the choices, we make for both our mind and our body, we tend to make better ones. It’s no surprise that individuals who meditate have been found to eat better, sleep more, and make overall healthier lifestyle choices. Meditation and awareness techniques can help you achieve the healthy lifestyle that you are looking for without over-pursuing it.
Having self-awareness in everyday life is really important specially to cope and to survive in the society. You have to understand yourself first before understanding the other human being. Sometimes we feel lost not because we are really losing ourself but it just the matter of we are not understanding ourself enough to find who we are. Stay positive and keep practicing the self-awareness.