Let’s play the blame game. A lot of times when things go wrong in our lives, we like to hold others accountable for our mishaps. We never really take a look at what we contribute to our wrongdoings because it’s easier for it to be someone else’s fault rather than our own. This is the start of a toxic behavior. See, when we don’t take time to re-evaluate ourselves, we are leaving less room for teachable moments, growth, and healthy relationships.
Self-awareness not only helps us to grow and learn ourselves, but we also understand other people. We develop a sense of empathy for people we interact with on a daily basis such as family, friends, and coworkers.
Here are seven ways to kickstart your journey to self-awareness. These practices have been proven to increase awareness and empathy in people. Your journey to growth starts here.
1. Keep a journal
First things first, my personal favorite, grab yourself a journal. Journals are the best way to record everything from your emotions, your thoughts, your goals, and your successes and failures. Allowing yourself to see your emotions, whether positive or negative, helps you recognize why you felt that emotion, what caused your initial reaction, and who played a part in your reaction. Keeping this journal handy, you are able to go back and reflect on a certain amount of time. Reflecting on past emotions and other notes you’ve written allows you to see how much progress you have made and review familiar aspects that you might end up dealing with down the road.
2. Meditate daily
Practice meditation. This may sound cliche but meditation has been proven to not only help with breathing, but also increases your focus and alertness. Meditation is supposed to give you a sense of serenity, usually therapeutic so you don’t have to do the old technique of sitting cross-legged with your fingertips touching. Whatever gives you a therapeutic feel such as; reading, exercising, maybe even washing your hair! During your time of meditation think about these three things: who or what do I want to be? What is hindering me from achieving this goal? Who or what is currently making me happy?
3. Take an online personality test
This one is simple but studies have shown that personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs test, help increase self-awareness. Taking a personality test. After this test, you will discover which of the 16 personality types you are. You can see what traits and characteristics you might possess.
4. Ask someone you trust for their outlook on you
Ask five to eight people to describe you. Close friends, family members, coworkers, etc. and have them describe what kind of person you are on a daily basis or in the workplace. It would be wise to get people whose judgment you trust before asking them to examine your behaviors. This technique helps you to see how others perceive you. Since others can see behaviors you might not see in yourself in different settings, allows you to take that information and change the negative behaviors.
5. Constantly ask for feedback
After every project or task, ask for feedback. Receiving feedback or constructive criticism is a great way for your work to be evaluated and your work ethic during the task timeline. This technique allows you to reflect on your work self. Your work self is who you are as a leader, worker, and student.
6. Label your feelings. Say their name!
When you are in an argument, debate, disagreement, use the sentence “I feel___ because___”. Labeling your feelings and expressing why you feel a certain way helps you and the other person/people understand one another’s reactions to the situation. Once you are able to label your emotions, it’s easier to resolve difficult issues.
7. Pay attention to others
Last but not least, pay attention to other people’s emotions when you interact with them. How someone’s mood, demeanor, and body language changes during interactions with you is a huge indicator of how you’re coming off to them.
Now, it’s important to understand that despite your level of awareness, there will always be people who just won’t ever be satisfied with how open you are. To be honest, not everyone even deserves to experience that level of transparency from you and that’s because they simply haven’t met themselves that deeply yet. Give them time but in the meantime continue to focus on your growth, your awareness, and your evaluations.