One of the most striking features of our minds is how little we really understand them. Although we inhabit ourselves, we rarely manage to make sense of more than a fraction of who we are. It can be easier to master the dynamics of another person than to grasp what is at play in our own minds.
On certain days, we can be irritable or sad without any idea why. So vague it leaves us feeling so vulnerable. Self-awareness is about knowing our internal norms, preferences, resources, intuitions, and having the ability to accurately monitor our inner world. As we pay attention to what’s happening inside of us, we can acknowledge and accept our thoughts, emotions, and reactions as an inevitable part of being human. If you have ever said to yourself “I should have known better” or “I shouldn’t have said that”, then you know what internal dialogue that I am referring to. An increase in self-awareness might lead us to focus less on what we should do and rather focus more on what we could do.
Our mind is extremely good at storing information about how we react to a certain event to form a blueprint of our emotional life. This blueprint conditions our minds to react in a certain way when we encounter a similar event in the future. Self-awareness allows us to become aware of these blueprints and patterns that we unconsciously created. Self-awareness sets the foundation for building confidence, because when we truly know who we are, how we feel about things and what behaviors we might have, then we can confidently be authentic in ourselves.
Self-awareness goes beyond collecting information about ourselves. It is also about paying attention to our inner state with a beginner’s mind and an open heart. Emotional intelligence is probably the most powerful yet undervalued trait in society. Emotional intelligence might be described as the ability to feel, express, and interpret your feelings productively while self-awareness allows you to identify your emotions, understand why you react the way you do, and recognize the impact you have on others. One of the most useful tools in emotional intelligence is creating space in our thinking.
Being aware is not an easy thing. In the process of becoming aware, one must first remove egoic traits that are in the way of seeing the truth. The power of self-knowledge will bring you to your honest self to become the true version of yourself. Essentially, self-knowledge will allow you to easily come closer to what you really are searching for.
Understanding different aspects of the self can increase self-awareness and emotional intelligence. This helps you understand what your boundaries are and how to use your relationships with others to support you. Your relationship with yourself gives you insight into what your needs are. Your relationship with others helps you support and create boundaries for those needs.
I’ve learned so much about myself in the last three years and it feels so liberating to become more true to myself. Through knowing myself, I can finally cultivate self-love, independence, and better decisions. Acting out of self-knowledge has both given me and saved me so much energy. Finally, I feel comfortable asking for what I need, I know my boundaries and how to communicate them. In order to be me, it’s started with getting to know myself.