As a life coach, people often ask me what self-awareness means. Well, the simple answer is being self-aware means having clarity in how you perceive your personality – this includes your thoughts, strengths, weaknesses, emotions, beliefs, fears and motivation.
It allows you to understand other people’s perception of you, how you react and respond to them in any given moment.
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence can be used interchangeably
They both mean our ability to discern or identify our emotions. They also help us manage ours and other people’s emotions in guiding our thoughts and behavior. The thoughts and words we use have a large influence on how we feel about ourselves.
The key to becoming completely self-aware is to pay absolute attention to ourselves.
Many of us assume that we are self-aware but having a relative scale can be quite helpful.
A good example to use is someone who has been in a car accident. On impact, you’d have experienced a sense of complete awareness. As you’d have noticed your thought process, the details of the event as though everything had happened in slow motion.
The truth is, with practice, we can learn to gain these sorts of heightened awareness states which will allow us to make positive changes in our beliefs and behavior.
Having a poor sense of self can have a very negative impact on how we see and relate to others. This can in effect lead to us making poor decisions in our relationships, not having a lasting relationship or simply avoid entering into any relationship at all.
Throughout my life, I’ve had many failed relationships. However, through my journey of self-awareness,I’ve learnt a few things I’d like to share with you on how you can improve your own relationships by being self-aware.
How to improve and revive your relationship by being self-aware?
1. Work on your self-improvement
If you believe in yourself, others will believe in you too, confidence starts with self-confidence.
It is crucial that we work on developing a healthy self-esteem as this is key in maintaining and sustaining any relationship. Take the time to know yourself better. Learn about your likes and dislikes. Your core values, triggers, hopes, dreams, talents and gifts. Find out what gets you excited and what makes you fearful and nervous.
Over the years I’ve used many different techniques in boosting my self-confidence. These have worked tremendously for me and I now recommend the same to some of my clients.
Start a journal
Writing down your strength and weaknesses is a great way of looking back and seeing how far you’ve come. Also, of measuring your progress and on determining what further steps you need to take to improve even more. Because this was also a healing process for me, I highly recommend it.
Positive affirmations are a great tool to help boost your self-esteem because what you say about yourself has a direct influence on how you feel. Here are a few of some of my favorite ones :
- I’m unique, original and one of a kind
- I’m an intelligent woman and I believe in myself
- I deserve success and happiness.
Check out more powerful affirmations that can help you boost your self-confidence here.
Many years ago, I made the conscious decision that I will not let other people’s actions determine my happiness. I’m so glad I did because I’ve learnt to like myself and my own company.
I’ve come to realize that happiness is a choice and it comes from within.
I delight myself in small pleasurable moments like playing hide and seek with my sons, having a picnic just for the sake of it and so on. The happier we are in ourselves, the better our personal and professional relationships become.
2. Grow through criticism and feedback
Conflicts in relationships are inevitable. Being self-aware enables you to handle criticism and feedback in a more proactive and constructive way. Disagreements don’t have to be seen as a sign of trouble and can help strengthen a relationship if resolved in the right manner.
Personally, I learnt that all feedback is necessary for growth.
For example, I use the disagreements I have with my husband help me understand him better.
3. Show kindness and empathy
The saying,‘do unto others as you’d have done unto you’, is one I hold very dear to my heart. The truth is we are not perfect and neither are the people we deal with in our lives. It helps when we take other people’s perspective into consideration in any given situation.
By having such an insight, we get to connect deeper with them and even end up learning something about ourselves in the process.
Kindness towards others is a great confidence booster. The more we extend it, the more we feel good about ourselves. We are also very likely to have it reciprocated.
Compliment people, learn to highlight their strengths.
4. Learn to actively listen
Have you ever been in a situation where you are trying to get your point across and the other person is busy doing something else like looking at their phone or watching tv?
How very frustrating! We can avoid such situations by becoming active listeners and this happens when we become self-aware. Listening in itself is an assertive gesture. By listening, you are showing the person doing the talking that their opinion matters. That you value their feelings and emotions.
It also is a great way to drain the tension in any disagreeable conversion.
5. Practice gratitude
Being self-aware instils in us the practice of gratitude. As we become more grateful for the people in our lives, we’ll learn not to take them for granted.
When people feel appreciated they often want to be and do better in their relationships.
Make it a point to tell your partner, colleagues and friends of all the things that their do for you that you are grateful for.
While there are many other ways in which being self-aware can help improve our relationships. The 5 listed above will get you well on your way to having long, lasting and meaningful relationships.
We’d very much love to hear some of the ways through which self-awareness has helped you improve your relationship. Please drop your comments below.