Imagine this. You start your day off feeling on edge. You know that you have a presentation at work that may be causing anxiety but you wonder if maybe there is something else going on.
Instead of giving the feeling of unease more thought, you go about your day, scarf down breakfast, hurriedly taking a shower, and then jump in the car to zoom to work as fast as you can. As the morning continues on, there has still not been a resolution to the feeling that something is just off. You give the presentation and notice that you feel slightly on edge that your coworker is present, but you just accept where you’re at mentally and say forget it! Instead of further examining this state of unease, you ignore it. You act as if everything is fine and go out to lunch with coworkers, stuffing those feelings deep down into the imaginary black hole where your feelings have always gone to meet their demise. And nothing bad really does happen with your day. Yet little do you know that continuing to ignore these feelings of dis-ease are often the very thing that brings about your own downfall whether that means over indulging with alcohol, drugs, and or lashing out at someone you’re closest to. Why? Because humans can only function while ignoring problems for so long until their proverbial pot boils over.
Now let’s look at scenario two.
Everything starts the exact same way. Except that the more intuitive, self-aware person takes the time to ask and examine, “What is going on with me right now?” Instead of pushing down the feelings of discomfort, the self-aware individual seeks understanding of his or her current state of mind. Let’s go ahead and play through what a highly self-aware person would do in this situation. Instead of squelching and ignoring the pangs of knowing that something was not right, the seeker of self-awareness would actively consider the events of the previous day as well as the events occurring in the here and now. The self-aware individual may be mulling these concepts over in their mind on the way to work and have the aha! moment of “I feel taken advantage of at work. I’m dreading giving this presentation because I realize that I did all of the research but my coworker is going to try to take over and I feel anxiety about what will happen.” Just by achieving understanding of the situation, the discomfort is alleviated and the anxiety dissipates. The self-aware individual may decide to discuss their feelings with their coworker or may let the presentation play out, knowing that their coworker’s lack of knowledge regarding the information will be proof enough of the unpreparedness. Through gaining this understanding of self, the result is empowerment.
What is self-awareness?
I explain self-awareness to be an intimate knowledge of who you are. And who you are is an intricate, unique collection of values, likes, dislikes, your ethical and moral compass, and your own understanding of how you may affect other people. I’ve observed how some people go through life on a seemingly superficial status quo. They may busy themselves with relationships that never go anywhere, talk of information that has no real substance, and then self-medicate with a myriad of superficial alleviators whether that’s substances, shopping, or internet distractions.
Individuals that are self-aware seek answers. They want to achieve a greater knowledge of who they are. There is always a quest to gain deeper understanding of how they affect others and examine why and what may be causing them to feel a certain way. Achieving self-awareness can absolutely be achieved through introspection and in most cases, meeting with a therapist that you trust.
In the meantime, I challenge you to become more self-aware and:
1. List your values and or moral codes. What are the laws by which you govern your life? And I’m not speaking to the laws that are put into place by our government. I’m referring simply to the personal rules that you have for yourself. The self-aware individual recognizes when a situation may be placing them in a compromising situation, one that disagrees with their values and morals. Through recognizing the dissonance occurring, you will be able to remove yourself from the situation or put in the effort to not be in the negative situation in the future…
2. Consciously take a mental note the next time you talk to someone, your friend, your partner, your coworker, etc. and observe how they regard you and likewise, how you speak to them. Observe whether there is a difference between different people. Do you look everyone in the eye? How do you feel after you get done talking with someone? Is there a sense of peace or a feeling of discomfort? Take it a step further and think to yourself about where the feelings are coming from?
Most recently, I met a new friend at work. We instantly clicked and there was a kindred connection of sorts. I liked her immediately. We discussed how we are both from the South, what our husbands do, etc. It wasn’t until a few days later that I had my own aha moment! I liked this woman because she is familiar. She represents so much of where I’ve come from-the easy Southern nature, pleasant demeanor, and just extremely down to earth with no pretenses about her-I felt like I’d known her forever and we just met. I remember telling my husband “She reminds me of home” and if I’m really being honest, she reminds me of my mom. I notice that I speak to her in a more comfortable manner than I do some of the other people at work and I realize that it’s because of the connection that I feel.
Alternately, I work with another woman that I feel like I constantly have to be on guard with. I can never predict if she will be snarky and irritable with me or if she is going to be in a good mood that day…I notice that I have to walk on eggshells with her. I also am self-aware enough to know this and realize that everyone has different issues that they are working through. And I choose to not take it personal, although I definitely mentally prepare for the possibility that she will be having an off day! Think to yourself about the interactions that you have on a daily basis. What is it about them that you like or dislike?
3. Consider your likes and dislikes. What are personality traits in yourself and others that you do not like? What are traits in yourself and others that you like or even love? Gaining a sense of knowledge about your likes and dislikes is empowering. It allows you to remain self-aware and cognizant so that you can still have a productive relationship with someone even if there are certain things about them that aren’t your favorite. I have no doubt that there are people in your life that you “have to put up with” whether it’s at work, your in-laws, the other moms at your child’s school. Consider the traits that these individuals share and take note. The unevolved person avoids these people at all costs but the self-aware person acknowledges these traits to feel empowered and confident about the next interaction that may occur and how they will handle it. Knowing how others affect you and what you like and dislike can allow you to adequately prepare [read mentally prepare] for those not so pleasant interactions.
If you’ve been bitten by the bug and are desiring to find out more information on self-awareness, please take a look at The Self-Awareness Guy who provides a comprehensive list of the benefits of self-awareness:
And of course to close this post out, I have to know-Did Captain America say that knowing yourself is power? The superhero that stated that phrase is unbeknownst to me at this point, all I remember is that I heard that phrase as a child and wasn’t sure what it meant!
I realize now how truthful that statement is and how very important self-awareness is for self-growth to occur.
Know thyself, master thyself, and become your own best expert.
Wishing you health and self-awareness,