If you’ve asked yourself, why is self-awareness important, then good news, you’re onto a deeper understanding of the answer. Self-awareness is important because it enables you to be your authentic self no matter what circumstance or challenge you face. The benefits of being self-aware are significant. Self-awareness empowers you to be true to yourself, as well as self-reliant. Most of this comes down to living in the present moment.
What is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness is a state of consciousness. In simplified terms, it is knowing your own purpose, character, emotions, and intentions. Yet, the ability to be continually aware of your state of mind is not very simple to do. Actually, self-awareness can not only be elusive, at times it is not very a pleasant process. We are all human, which makes us all complicated. However, it’s important to know that self-awareness is critical to living an emotionally balanced life. A person cannot be truly authentic if he or she is not intimately in touch with himself.
Everything is affected when self-awareness is practiced consistently. The ability to succeed professionally, maintain healthy relationships and live an authentically happy life are all monumentally linked to someone with heightened self-awareness.
Psychologists Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund, who first developed the concept of self-awareness, described the notion as:
…when we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. We become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves.
The key factor in their theory of self-awareness is based on objectivity. When you are self-aware, you are essentially able to keep your emotions and behavior in check. This is because you have the ability to monitor and understand your state of mind from a neutral standpoint in a non-judgmental way.
Why is Self-Awareness Important
Based on the above theory, the ability to respond to, well, everything while remaining objective is tremendously empowering. Self-awareness is important because it keeps you grounded and in control enabling you to live an authentic life. To take conscious ownership of your thoughts and intentions allows you to focus on your contribution to a situation as opposed to transferring fault or emotional weight onto someone else.
Here are some specific examples to elaborate on the importance of self-awareness.
- Helps you to avoid engaging in drama
- Supports conflict resolution
- Keeps you honest with yourself maintaining integrity
- Promotes self-acceptance and inner peace
Benefits of Self-Awareness
When we talk about why self-awareness is important, the benefits organically present themselves as well. The many benefits of self-awareness not only create a more meaningful life for you but it also enables healthier personal and professional relationships. Practicing self-awareness is a way to create inner peace and self-content. As mentioned above, a powerful benefit of self-awareness will give you ultimate emotional control over your own life.
People who are self-aware, are able to not only control being emotionally reactive under pressure, but make better, smarter choices. How often do you lie to yourself in order to protect your own feelings or image. Self-deception usually are made up of lies we not only tell ourselves but we actually believe. Sometimes even when those lies are spun in a positive way, they do not truly reflect who you are, so it’s critical to keep to dig deep and practice self-acceptance for the long-term benefits.
No one fully knows you the way you do. Self-awareness frees up precious time you. It allows for opportunities otherwise wasted from holding back because of insecurity or the need to seek validation. The critical benefit of practicing self-awareness is time to immediately focus on and take advantage of each moment of your life without juggling drama or facades.
The benefits of self-awareness do not only improve your life. While it’s empowering to not be pre-occupied with self-doubt or behave in ways you later regret, self-awareness brings you closer to connecting with others. Being self-deprecating or owning up to your mistakes does more than show humility. Taking responsibility for your actions reminds you that to avoid judging others. This mindset and behavior sends a message of authenticity and improves your ability to empathize with other people.
So the 7 of the advantages of self-awareness are:
- Inner Peace
- Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
- Relationship Building
Let Self-Awareness Unpack Your Baggage
Becoming more self-aware and true to yourself monumentally frees you from carrying unnecessary burdens. We hold on emotionally to so many things that are beyond our control. Either we worry about the future or have difficulty letting go of the past. The frightening part is that most of the time, we are unaware of this internal struggle. Practicing self-awareness is bring to the surface what is going on within the subconscious mind – and this step is critical to living a happy, abundant life.
While it’s easier said than done, releasing the need to emotionally attach yourself to a situation, assumptions, perceptions, etc. can be one of life’s greatest challenges. But in order to improve your quality of life, it’s time to lighten the mental load.
Here are three meaningful qualities you can work to focus on to improve your capacity for self-awareness:
- Be teachable and curious – there is so much to life that we do not know and it is a joy, and quite empowering, to be a continual learner. I believe this will also help you to be more open-minded and appreciative to life’s big and so-called small moments.
- Try not to be offended by judgmental people – for many of us it’s really (r-e-a-l-l-y) difficult not to take criticism (whether warranted or not) personally. Often even the judgement of a stranger or something as random as getting cut off in traffic could make another’s blood boil. Know that the majority of the time, a harsh word is more about the giver than the receiver. With that being said, rest in the knowing of your own intentions and love yourself enough to pick your battles.
- Practicing mindfulness is practicing self-awareness – it’s critical to get and stay in touch with your core being and what you are putting out to the world on a daily basis. While often your intentions can face you in one direction, your presentation or behavior can takes you in another. Or sometimes we simply live on auto pilot not fully recognizing the impact of our words and actions. Be mindful as much as possible and take ownership of what external triggers bring out certain emotions and behavior.
My favorite positive mind and present moment influencer is Eckhart Tolle. Eckhart is one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of moderns times. He teaches that whether during difficult situations or simply in everyday life, practicing self-awareness and being in the present moment empowers you to navigate into the best possible direction.
If you scroll on the right side bar of this or any of our pages here at Own Your Best, you can enjoy a brief video with Eckhart eloquently describing how to practice staying in the now and become more self-aware. Enjoy!
Self-Awareness – There’s No Time Like the Present
You won’t have forever to tap in to your potential. It’s never to late to learn new skills or hone in on talents that may be collecting some dust. Being upfront with your weaknesses or shortcomings allows you the freedom to then build upon your strengths. Your heightened (and broadened) self-awareness will enable you to pursue goals sooner and build healthy relationships without wasting time perception.
Here’s a wise and relatable analogy about staying in the present moment and not squandering time. It basically is telling you that life is short and when you lack self-awareness you can ultimately miss out on opportunities and so, time. We all know but sometimes forget that time is irreversible. So it’s your responsibility to maximize every moment.
Well, you have such a bank, and its name is time. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of these you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries no balance; it allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the record of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposit, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the morrow. You must live in the present – on today’s deposit. Invest it so as to get the utmost in health and happiness and success.”Anonymous
Well, you have such a bank, and its name is time. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of these you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries no balance; it allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the record of the day.
If you fail to use the day’s deposit, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the morrow. You must live in the present – on today’s deposit. Invest it so as to get the utmost in health and happiness and success.”Anonymous
The benefit of self-awareness is the inner peace and control. It is maximizing time and ability. It’s Being and Living.
Someone upsets you and you dwell on it – you lose time. Insecurity prevents you from taking risks or moving in a forward direction – you lose time.
Making excuses and fear of failure talk you out of being true to yourself – you lose time.
Squandering time is like pouring precious water out of a bottle when you’re parched in a desert.Every nuance of your life calls for you to be present to it. It's not a call to react or to judge. Life calls you to be aware of what is happening so that you are empowered with the control to let it go. Let the past stay in the past. Click To Tweet Allow your future to roll out as you live it, not sit and dwell in your insecurity soaked assumptions. Own It. Do your Best to Own It. Own Your Best! Click To Tweet
Make the most of the gift of the present. Below are more articles to support you on your wellness journey.
How To Become More Self-Aware
Practicing self-awareness is easier than you may think. The important thing to note is that like any goal in life, becoming more self-aware takes consistency and self-discipline. The more you practice self-awareness, the easier it will come, I promise. Keep in mind, not only does becoming more self-aware require patience, it may call on you to step a little outside of yourself and have a thick skin (in other words, be open to some criticism).
Another benefit of self-awareness is that you will find yourself much more self-confident, emotionally intelligent and socially inclusive.
Here are 5 Highly Effective Ways to Practice and Become More Self-Aware:
- Maintain Objectivity – simply asking yourself difficult questions can open your mind to increase your self-assessment abilities and give you more insight in to your own thoughts and behaviors
- Self-Reflection – there are many ways to practice inner reflection (Ie. journal writing, meditation, personality quizzes, prayer, spending time alone) – find which one (or more!) that resonates with you
- Create a Path to Accountability – Write down your goals, plans, and priorities or bring in the help of people you trust to call you on when you are being reactive or complacent
- Practice Listening – an important component to presenting your best, authentic self to others is to learn the perspectives of others by openly receiving what they have to share
- Practice Mindfulness – become more and more aware of your emotional triggers that pull you from your authentic self. Self-reflection strategies above are also effective in nurturing your ability to be more mindfulness
Self-Awareness is a Journey
Self-awareness is important because it’s often a first step to professional and personal goal setting. It empowers you to make positive changes where improvement is needed and to build on areas of strength. Self-awareness is being conscious of what you’re good at while acknowledging what you still have yet to learn. Essentially this means embracing a growth mindset. So admitting when you don’t have the answers, navigating through difficult emotions, being humble with success and owning up to mistakes are all apart of living a balanced, mindful life.
Practicing self-awareness doesn’t mean that you will go though life spared from drama or not having to face uncomfortable emotions. On the contrary, it is often when we find ourselves in the most challenging of circumstances that we have the opportunity to bring about a greater sense of awareness.
People closest to you and those who may not even know you well usually will see through any facade. The only one being hurt by hiding faults or living inauthentically is you. So use your strengths with integrity and acknowledge your weaknesses with an openness to self-growth.
The goal is to recognize when you are separate from yourself, to acknowledge the disconnect, and do your best to navigate back to an empowered place within yourself.