Improving your self awareness can increase your confidence, strengthen relationships at work and home, and allow you to have more empathy for others. In this article I’ll take you through what self awareness is and give you some tips for improving it.
Self awareness is about having an understanding of your behaviours, traits and personality, and how that affects the way you interact with others. By learning about yourself you can better understand your needs, your triggers and your strengths. Interested to know more? Check out my 3 ways to be more self aware….
1. Be reflective
Try to get into the habit of reflecting on your day. Maybe start a journal as a way to get your thoughts and feeling down on paper. If something niggles you from your day, take a minute to write or draw what you feel. Think about how you reacted to the situation, and consider possible other roads you could have taken. You may be surprised what you can find out about yourself when you give yourself time to reflect.
2. Get to know your triggers
Triggers are anything that sparks an intense emotional response. It could be a person, an object, a place, a smell. Often sensory, a trigger can be like an echo of the past. Say for example you had a bad experience with a viscous dog once. Now every time you see a dog you start getting fearful. The dog is your trigger. But say the incident with the dog happened in an apple orchard, it could be that every time you pass an orchard your heart starts beating fast. Or even the smell of apples may do it. Our body remembers the trauma and often we won’t be consciously aware of it. This can lead to anxiety or even panic attacks.
So, if you want to improve your self awareness, get to know what your triggers are. If you start to have an intense reaction to something, have a think about why that might be. Maybe write about it, or talk to a friend about it. Get to know what triggers you and you’ll start to become more self aware.
For ideas on how to calm yourself when you get anxious, check out my 3 Mindful Moments.
3. Look at others
Carl Jung once wrote:
Have you ever come across someone who you’ve taken an instant dislike to? Someone who really gets under your skin? You’re not alone. But if you can stand to think about them for more than a minute, you may find they help you understand yourself.
Have a think who they remind you of? Maybe a relative, or an ex partner? Someone from your childhood? Chances are, if your reaction to them is very strong, they may remind you of a difficult past relationship. So, what feelings did that person from your past bring out for you?
Our brains make links with the past and, unconsciously, we can end up reacting to the past instead of seeing the person in front of them.
So what to do? Firstly, make a list of all the similarities between this person and the one they remind you of. Perhaps it’s their looks. a mannerism, the sound of their voice.
Next write down all the differences between them, everything you can think of even down to the smallest thing. Study the list and reflect on how different they are. Hopefully you can start to see them as two separate people , allowing you the perspective to react differently to them next time.
Being reflective, being aware of your triggers and reaction to others is a good start to understanding yourself better and being more self aware.
Amy is a qualified counsellor working in Kent and online with adults and adolescents. Amy works with a range of issues and specialises in working with neurodivergent individuals and their families.
For more information, contact Amy here.