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It’s one of those terms that we hear about a lot, but are commonly guilty or turning a blind eye to. So, what makes up self-awareness and why is it so important?
Essentially, self-awareness is all about taking a step back and being able to explore how you’re feeling and the thoughts that you tend to experience. Usually, that means doing this at the present time, reflecting on the moment – rather than the past. Sometimes, it can even be more complex than this, such as observing how your thoughts are creating certain emotions or physical sensations. Perhaps they even influence your behaviour.
Think about kick-starting the morning feeling unmotivated about all the tasks on your list. Maybe you feel low in energy, or even heavy. You might even notice that you’re laying in bed longer than you should be – the day may seem like it’s a little bit hard to get started on. If you choose to apply self-awareness to this example, you’d be likely to step back and consider why you’re feeling this lack of energy or excitement about getting stuck into your daily antics. And sometimes, that means exploring deep down – right where the emotions are that often go unnoticed.
Influence growth and change
Self-awareness is all about sparking positive change, allowing you to grow as a person. Ultimately, you can’t change things you don’t know about – or in this case, are aware of. Sitting back and reflecting on why you’re experiencing the thoughts and emotions you are, equips you with the ability to consider how you can create healthy shifts in your lifestyle.
It’s important to note that it does take courage to bring about this sense of awareness. You’ll have to question why something potentially wasn’t the best idea after all, or dive into uncomfortable and confronting observations. In the end, it means shifting your attention away from what’s going on around you and onto you as an individual. Instead of focusing on what everyone in your vicinity is saying or doing, the focus becomes how you think and feel in that moment. The shift moves from being what’s going on around your space, into what’s happening inside you.
It’s okay to not like what you discover
Part of this change will mean facing things that will be tough to reflect on. Nothing good comes easy, and the same goes with creating positive changes through self-awareness. However, once you give yourself the chance to do this, you’ll grow mentally, personally and even professionally. It’s likely you’ll discover plenty of nifty things about yourself too, but you’ll also pinpoint those you don’t necessarily like as much.
Fears, failures, weaknesses and flaws are just as important to highlight as all the good things about ourselves. But they require a healthy outlook, in order to create positive change. Self-awareness allows you to consider why you act or think the way you do towards inflicting these more ‘negative’ emotions and behaviours, giving you the opportunity to find ways to make positive shifts.
No matter what stage of this journey you’re in though, taking care of yourself is always the key step. Shining a light on your internal thinking is tough, and will feel uncomfortable in some ways. Remember to love yourself and show compassion – this balance will give you a far better shot at happiness than if you’re too harsh on yourself all the time.
If you’re experiencing negative thoughts or emotions, we highly encourage you to get in touch with the MHM Psychology team on 1300 848 072.