Few dimensions are more important than knowing ourselves, understanding ourselves and being aware of everything that happens in the complex but fascinating room of our mind. Being self-aware is a guarantee of well-being. We explain how to achieve it.
Self-awareness is an essential life tool to achieve better psychological well-being. It is making contact with what we are, with what we feel, with what surrounds us and with each thought that arises in our mind. This element is also an essential component of our personality, it sustains the self-concept, it energizes it and it is also key in emotional regulation.
This dimension is almost like the cornerstone of internal balance and personal development . To understand its significance, let's think for a moment about something very illustrative. What would become of us without that internal voice capable of telling us that of “don't rush; you are losing control of the situation; stand up and think about the next step ” ?
It is true that we do not always use her hand. Self-awareness is, effectively, that inner self that analyzes everything we do, that connects with feelings, needs, experiences of yesterday and future desires. However, even though it is there for us, we do not always remember it. Most of the time we operate on autopilot and overlook the good art of reflection and introspection.
What is self-awareness?
Imagine yourself in front of the mirror . What you see is what you are, it's true. There are your physical features, your body as a whole, your smile or your sadness and the clothes you have chosen to wear today. Now, self-awareness goes beyond the physical aspect, integrates what you are, what you think, what you feel and do, the way you think others see you, the sense of your intention and assumption of your defects and potentials.
As we can see, it is a multidimensional competition, a kaleidoscope of processes that mediate our human potential. Likewise, the theory of self-awareness reminds us that people are not our thoughts. In reality, each of us is the "entity" that observes those thoughts and values them (Duval & Wicklund, 1972). We are the creators and that gives us great power, the opportunity at least to stop acting on automatic pilot.
Types of self-awareness
As we grow and mature we develop different types of self-awareness. We even know that this competence begins to develop in children between 4 and 6 years old. Let's see what those typologies are:
- Private self-awareness : this area includes all the processes mentioned above. Knowing that we are nervous, that what they have told us has bothered us, becoming aware that this stomach pain is due to the anxiety of the last few days ... All of this defines the most intimate experience of self-awareness.
- Public self-awareness . Sometimes, to adhere to social norms, we adjust many of our behaviors. Realizing it is something that also orchestrates this dimension. As well as the fact of being aware that certain situations or people make us uncomfortable or motivate us.
- Cultural self-awareness. This factor develops in older ages. It has to do with that process by which we realize how the social and cultural environment conditions us.
Benefits of self-awareness
Put aside what we feel or need to end up doing what is expected of us. Falling into the same mistakes. Not realizing that certain situations affect us excessively. Acting against our principles in an emotional relationship or at work ... We could give a thousand examples of how people do not use self-awareness adequately.
It is time to make changes, because what this area can do for us is very beneficial:
- It will help us to be more proactive, to boost our acceptance to act in tune with goals, capabilities and needs.
- It will help us to see things from the perspective of others without losing our own self.
- We will improve self-control and enhance our creativity to feel proud of ourselves. All of this reverts to general self-esteem (Silvia and O'Brien, 2004).
- We will better regulate states such as stress and anxiety.
How can I develop self-awareness?
We all come into the world with the ability to be self-aware. However, factors such as stress, external pressures and, above all, acting on automatic pilot in our day-to-day life completely blur this competition for life and well-being. Let's know some keys to develop self-awareness.
Moments of calm for yourself
Give yourself time for yourself, time for calm and quality. A couple of hours are enough. During that moment, the most decisive thing is to let the mind acclimate to silence, to the absence of external and internal noise. It is time to let her acclimatize, find her balance so that you can make full contact with her and know what is inside her.
Practices such as going for a walk, doing some creative activity or mindfulness can help us.
The importance of "what" instead of "why"
When we experience stress, when we have a problem or feel bad, it is common to ask ourselves "why is this happening to me?" Actually, self-awareness doesn't care about that. The most decisive thing is to know “what happens to us in the present moment, in the here and now”. These would be some examples:
- I feel like I am afraid of failing.
- What happens to me is that I can't stop thinking about the past.
- What I see in me is that I am getting more and more tired.
Knowing how to listen to what surrounds us
What happens within us is decisive and we must make contact with it. However, developing self-awareness is also knowing how to listen, interpret and feel everything that surrounds us. Achieving it requires intention and sensitivity.
Anyone who knows how to attend the world with all his senses will also be able to understand its internal melody.
Self-esteem and self-awareness
As we pointed out at the beginning, self-awareness is one more tile of self-concept . It is the bridge that helps us to know ourselves, to feel and understand ourselves. However, there is an indispensable link that goes hand in hand: self-esteem. If we are more aware of the thoughts and beliefs that we carry within, we will take care of this dimension.
When we examine everything that navigates the mind and put a filter on it, we gain in well-being and psychological resistance . In essence, few rudders are more critical to personal growth. Developing self-awareness, putting it in our favor and making it our daily guide is our responsibility. Let's put it into practice.