Developing self-awareness is the first step to changing your life.
Feedback from teachers, supervisors, and coaches about your performance and how and where to adjust it can help you advance in school or in the workplace.
Feedback from family, friends, and people who care about you can help you protect your reputation or your health, even your life, if you trust their motives.
And feedback from yourself can help you design a new future for yourself.
Self-awareness gives you that feedback.
Self-awareness is the ability to observe what is going on within you.
It enables you to observe your thoughts, your feelings, your moods and most importantly, the way you “see” yourself.
The way you see yourself influences how you feel about yourself and how you behave. It also influences the way you perceive other people and how you interact with them. And how you get along with others has a lot to do with how happy and successful you are.
If you're not satisfied with how your life is going, and you would like to change it, the best place to start is with the way you look at things - your perspective.
Self-awareness and perspective
Perspectives are neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong. They are different ways of understanding and interpreting events that develop from within the time and place in which you are born and raised.
Changing your perspective is difficult if you lack self-awareness. If you can’t “see” it, you can’t change it.
Sometimes life experiences change your perspective without your wanting to change it. A sudden near death experience makes you aware you are mortal. A divorce shatters your self-confidence. A winning lottery ticket catapults you into the life of a millionaire.
Suddenly you no longer “see” yourself or life itself in the same way. You now “see” what you didn’t see earlier, even though it was there all the time: the possibility that you could be killed, divorced, or wealthy.
You also feel differently about yourself and about your life, so you behave differently. Your life is different because your perspective is different.
Self-awareness and Personal Change
You don’t have to wait for unplanned events to change your perspective. You can choose to change it yourself.
A good place to start is by becoming aware of your feelings, moods, and the way you use language.
First, identify your feelings and the beliefs or assumptions that trigger them. For example, do you become angry or resentful when others break your rules? Is your anger justified because you always tell them what the rules are and work towards getting their agreement on both the rules and the penalties for breaking them?
Or, do you assume that, since you are in charge, it doesn't matter if they understand the rules, agree with them, or accept the penalties for breaking them.
Second, challenge the assumptions you hold that influence your feelings and behavior. Many of them are fictions you invented that have no objective support. Like the assumption that you are in charge.
You are not in charge of your marriage. You have no more than half of the votes. You are not in charge of your family. You are one of several members. You are not in charge of your employees or co-workers.
You are responsible in your marriage, in your family, and in your business for motivating others to work with you so you can keep your commitments and they can keep theirs.
Third, replace fiction with facts. If you assume people are children, you treat them like children, and they remain children.
But if you assume people have the potential to become more than they are, and you relate to that potential, they do become more. That's a fact.
Would your life be different if you tried more to communicate with family members or co-workers and tried less to control them?
Take a look at the power of language to make differences in your life.
Or, discover communication skills you could develop that might help you interact better with others.