How to Develop Self Awareness and Live a More Fulfilling Life

Who Am I? words made from cloud

Happiness is not a destination we can reach by trying to get there. In the words of Dr. Spock, happiness "is only a precious by-product of other worthwhile activities."

Happiness is often confused with the pursuit of selfish pleasures. Research shows that this does not lead to lasting happiness. Instead, a fulfilling life is one that has meaning and purpose.

One of the fundamental ways we create a fulfilling life is by learning how to develop self-awareness.

Read on to learn how to improve self awareness and why it matters so much.

What is Self Awareness?

The theory of self awareness has been around since 1972. That year, two scientists named Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund publishes a book called "A Theory of Objective Self-Awareness."

In it, the authors argued that focusing internally allows us to compare our actions to our morals. The result is self awareness.

A new definition by a psychologist named Daniel Goleman is widely accepted today. He defines self awareness as knowing your own internal states, preference, resources, and intuitions.

Importance of Self Awareness

So why is self-awareness important you ask? The same psychologist, Daniel Goleman has an answer to that.

His research shows that self awareness is vital for success of any kind. Emotional intelligence (including self awareness) is the number 1 predictor of successful leaders in the corporate world.

Besides success at work, self awareness allows people to develop healthier relationships and develop themselves into the type of person they wish they could be.

Once you understand what self-awareness is, it's not a surprise that it correlates so strongly with success.

Self awareness allows a person to understand the thoughts and emotions that guide their actions. Being aware of these driving factors allows a person to make changes to get the results he or she wants to see.

Next, let's explore how to improve self awareness.

Developing Self Awareness Through Meditation

Meditation is a practice that enables participants to improve their awareness of each moment. It's one of the foundational ways of being mindful.

Meditation at the basis of it all is about noticing and appreciating our breathing. It's something we do thousands of times a day but rarely pay attention to.

Meditation doesn't have to be long or strict. Even focusing on a daily basis on your breath without trying to change it can help you live in the moment and become more self-aware.

There are hundreds of books, videos and free apps out there to help you learn how to meditate. People are scared off by it fearing that it is difficult and complicated.

The truth is that it's like any skill. You get better with practice. Try a guided meditation each day at the start of your day. Use an alarm on your device to remind you to make a few minutes for your meditation practice.

Participate in Self-Awareness Activities Daily

Besides meditation, there are many activities you can do each day that help you with developing self awareness.

You can keep a journal to record your thoughts and reactions. As you jot down both important and mundane events you will start to see a pattern to your behavior.

You will start to notice what things get you into a bad mood. As you continue journaling you can start to unravel why that might be.

This is the first step to taking control of your life. You will learn to act instead of react to situations.

Set aside 20 minutes at a convenient time in your day for self-reflection. This will help you harness calm and wellbeing.

Research shows that there is a direct link between mindfulness and changes in the brain. Mindfulness moves us away from anger towards peace and tranquility.

Self-reflection takes many forms. It could be praying, going for a walk by yourself without music or sitting and looking out the window.

During this time, think about your goals and how you are doing. Evaluate yourself and make concrete plans on how you will reach your goals.

Think you don't have time to invest in these type of activities? Learn how to develop time management skills so that you can make time for things that matter.

Examine Yourself Objectively

One of the hardest parts of becoming self-aware is learning how to examine yourself objectively.

We tend to either be too hard on ourselves or let ourselves off the hook too easily. However, learning to know who you are can help you see clearly what areas or aspects you need to work on.

Seek Honest Feedback

It can be difficult to receive criticism. Many people dread when their manager at work asks to speak to them about something negative. Part of developing self-awareness is learning how to seek and appreciate this feedback.

We can't possibly see ourselves as others do. We live too much inside our own heads for that. But we can start to understand how others perceive our actions as we seek feedback.

So next time your supervisor sits you down to say why something you did didn't hit the mark. Listen carefully. Yes, you may need to explain your reasoning, but before you do, seek to understand.

If you feel defensive when someone gives you feedback, try to unravel why that is. Often it is caused by a defensive trigger. Identify the trigger to help you take the truth in the feedback better.

Check out this site for some ideas on learning how to develop self-awareness.

Ask Trusted Friends for Help

Once you know what you are working on, ask your close friends to help you. If you have identified a behavior you want to change, tell your friends about it and ask for their help.

Let's say you have a bad habit of interrupting people when they talk. Maybe you don't even know you are doing it sometimes. Tell your friends your goal is to quit that habit.

Ask them to let you know (discreetly) when you do it in a conversation. A simple tap on the arm is all you would need to identify the behavior.

This extra help can go a long way in kicking the bad habit. Especially when it is something so natural that we hardly notice we are doing it.

How to Develop Self-Awareness

Remember, self-awareness doesn't happen overnight. It can take years of working at it to improve.

And chances are you will only see your progress as you reflect back on who you were in the past compared to the present.

We hope these tips will help you learn how to develop self-awareness. Next, read how to succeed in business and life.


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