The Definitive Guide to Self AwarenessA lack of self-awareness results in living an inauthentic and chaotic life. Take a moment to learn the ultimate solution to your shitty toxic behaviours.
First it's important to state this. Self-awareness does not have one particular expression. That where the self comes in.
This is why not matter how many examples I give, no matter how well I explain it or what methods I provide, you will ultimately have to face yourself.
And not just your socially acceptable self — the persona — but the parts of yourself that you least want to face. Your shadow.
Self awareness is about peering in to yourself, seeing the inner world and it's depths. Uncovering what magnicifent and dark creatures lie in waiting beneath the surface.
Self reflection starts off fun, but can become dark and confronting quick quickly.
We all have to face parts of ourselves that we did not know existed, and that have the ability to annihilate who we think we are.
Examples of Self-Awareness
As we saw earlier, the discoveries made through self-awareness are, by their nature, personal.
But it can nonetheless be helpful to explore what these discoveries may look like.
So what does self-awareness look like? Tangibly.
Sam has achieved a great deal of success in life. But nothing has ever really satisfied him, he takes a moment to think about why this is. He realises he has a fear of unworthiness that drives his actions but cannot be resolved by this. This is his first step down the path of self awareness.
Maddi has always struggled with procrastination, in avoiding writing an article she needs to complete she notices that really she is afraid that people won't like it. That she does not want to fail. Afraid of how that would change others (and her own) perspective of her. In this moment, there is self-awareness.
John is at a restaurant, he is struggling to decide what he wants to eat. His partner is hassling him to choose something. John momentarily notices that this issue of indecisiveness and ambivalence have caused a significant amount of the issues in his life. He has uncovered a deep part of his unconscious.
- Sarah has never had a strong conscious desire to get into a relationship, despite numerous opportunities arising. After reading a new perspective on relationships and love she looks back at her own life and sees that she never really made the decision at all. Her first relationship ended in a feeling of betrayal and heartbreak which has influenced her feelings on the matter to this day. She has begun to address the root cause of the turmoil.
The unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates
Other examples of self-awareness:
- Being aware of what beliefs you hold and how they influence you
- Understanding your goals and desires
- Contemplating who you really are
- Knowing your life purpose
- Seeing how your past influences you
- Feeling your body and tension (i.e in your face and shoulders)
- Meta awareness
- Recognising and understanding your emotions
- Noticing that you project yourself onto others
- Becoming aware of how unconscious you really are
Why is Self-Awareness Important?
The average person is not highly self-aware. This is why from an outside perspective you can see patterns playing out over and over in a persons life.
Many people are playing out these same negative and conditioned behaviours from childhood to the day they die.
A lack of self-awareness results in living an inauthentic and chaotic life. Driven by impulses, unconscious habits, and unquestioned beliefs.
What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. – Abraham Maslow
What Stands in Your Way
Fundamentally, your ego is what holds you back from true self-awareness and self-realisation.
It does everything in it's power (and it can be quite powerful) to maintain it's existence and weasel it's way out of feeling bad.
You can observe the sheer amount of resistance that can come up in your body.
Next time you are confronted by something. Be it someone calling you out on your shit, having a moment of awareness, fighting about something in a relationship, whatever. Consider that they are 100% right and you are wrong.
Now watch as you body and ego panic.
Your identity is just some construct you've made up. It's delusion. Learn to see through it.
Benefits of Self-Awareness
Developing self-awareness is one of the best paths you can ever take in this life.
Here are some benefits:
- You become authentic
- You develop a stronger connection inner wisdom
- Your relationships become more whole
- You can discover your life purpose (this alone creates resistance because you may see your entire life's choices up until now were not your own)
- You’re able to overcome addictions more easily
- You can embody contra-directional growth
- You will live a healthier lifestyle
- You feel more connected with being
- And 1,000+ more unique to you
How to Improve Self-Awareness
Developing self-awareness is the foundation of all important life changes and deep inner work.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle
First, understand that this process will take many years to truly get somewhere. I'm not here to sell you on quick fixes here.
But, that being said, you have to start somewhere. Pick one aspect below and try it out for one week.
1. Tune into your body
Right now, watch the body. Are your shoulders relaxed? What about your jaw, or throat. Is your belly soft or tense.
Your physical body carries emotions and trauma. Different muscles tend to carry different traumatic experiences.
By becoming aware of this and releasing the tension there, by letting go, we also let go of the negative emotion.
If you're interested in this more. There is an outstanding video on this here
2. Ask someone to roast you
Freaky right. That's the resistance to self honesty I've been talking about.
If takes serious courage to have the internet roast you. But it is just as hard to have your parents, friends, family, partners be brutally honest with you.
The trick here is to be open minded. Prepare yourself for this. Understand that everything they say is true, from their perspective.
And if you seriously disagree with it, it's definitely true.
It's a double bind.
Remember you asked for it, you wanted the truth. So take it as it comes.
Write down what comes out of these "sessions" and see how you can embody it.
3. Gaze into your reflection
That's right. Stand in front of a mirror.
Watch, and listen. What do you notice about your image. What insecurities are there.
Observe all the negative self judgments and don't just write them off. That would be far too easy. Go fully into them.
Maybe your eyes are too close. Maybe you sound funny. Maybe people are really disgusted by your skin.
4. Uncover your strengths and values
Determine your strengths and values. Once you know your strengths and your values you can make informed decisions.
Or, discover it for yourself. Just find a way.
5. What are your distractions?
What are you putting off?
Really ask yourself that. Don't just look at the words. Think about it. Like really!
Is it work, love, self-insight, responsibility, commitment, manual labour, cleaning up your diet.
It could be anything, but where we most are avoiding and escaping, tend to point us to what we most need to do.
What are you escaping into?
The next part of this, is watching what it is that you are running towards. TV, movies, drugs, food, music, solitude, social activity.
We all have our own draws and pulls, by watching what these we can begin to understand what it is that we need to embody more or less of.
There is no clear cut way to get the insight into what the escapism means for you. That's where the real work comes in.
Sit and meditate.
Watch as thoughts arise, then watch as they disappear. Do nothing.
Meditation has been talked about a lot, I'm not going to repeat it all hear. If you want to learn more, go learn more.
7. Keep a journal
Anytime you have an insights. Anytime you have a strong negative or positive thought. At the beginning and and of the day. Journal.
Writing and journalling are powerful tools for forcing us to reflect on situations and our selves from a more objective perspective.
If you struggle to remain objective when in the grips of your anger or self-pity. Then come back to it and write about the experience.
8. See your projections?
This is a great way to uncover your darker shadow side and your greatest weaknesses.
We've got an entire article on projection coming soon. So stay tuned for a detailed guide.
But in essence, watch the judgments you make about others. They have nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.
9. Understand your personality
By understanding your personality makeup you can make informed choices and orient your behaviours in a conscious and deliberate way.
Take a look through our Tracks section to see which resonates most with you. Then, uncover yourself.