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What’s Self-awareness? And How Can You Cultivate It?

what's self awareness
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Today, I want to talk about an essential topic, which is: what’s self awareness and how can you cultivate it.

what's self awareness

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So let’s start off with what’s self awareness.

I would describe self awareness as the practice of getting to know yourself on a deep level and becoming familiar with your common thoughts, feelings, patterns and behavior.

As Melyssa Griffin says “Your success is never greater than your self awareness.” And what she means by that is basically that success happens from the inside out and requires healing, introspection, and deep personal development work. And I couldn’t agree more.

I am convinced that working on your self awareness is the single most important work that you can do.

Why? A couple of reasons:

  • You start understanding why certain things are affecting and triggering you on an emotional level.

  • You start noticing certain patterns in your behavior and that’s powerful, because cultivating this awareness, is the first step to actually breaking those patterns and changing behavior that no longer serves you.

  • You become more grounded and are able to see things that happen to you from another perspective. This allows you to be in control of how you react and cope so much better with everything that happens to you.

So now we know what’s self awareness, let’s continue with discussing how we can cultivate it.

1. Saying your thoughts out loud

The first thing that you can do to cultivate more self awareness is to become aware of your thoughts.

A powerful way to do is, is just saying thoughts out loud. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or irrational they sound. Don’t label or judge them, just say them out loud.

I do this a lot with my boyfriend when I’m feeling resistant.

For example, a few days ago, I had some unexpected changes of plans, and I needed to cancel a doctor’s appointment last minute. I was feeling so nervous and felt so much resistance.

And so, I told my boyfriend “ok, so my mind is thinking right now that I shouldn’t cancel this appointment because the doctor will get angry and frustrated with me and then I won’t be able to go there again in the future.”

Just by saying these thoughts out loud, it made me realize that these thoughts were just created by my fear of conflict. Knowing that, allowed me to put things into perspective. Because a doctor is used to canceled appointments, it probably happens to them on a daily basis. So, he would understand that I have a last-minute emergency that just couldn’t wait.

Doing this doesn’t only help me to understand myself better, but it also helps my boyfriend to understand me better, and be able to be there for me.

2. Journaling

Another way to become more aware of your thoughts is to start the practice of journaling regularly. It allows you to free write whatever comes up in your head in an unfiltered way and allows you to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

I think that the key here is to never show your journal to anyone. Why? Because when you know that somebody might read your journal, it’s very tempting to write differently. You start writing what you want other people to think about you, and it loses its authenticity and unfilteredness.

So, write with the intention of never showing your journal to anybody. It’s solely for your eyes only.

And what is cool about journaling as well is that you can read back older journal entries and notice how you have evolved and grown as a person.

This also helps with discovering patterns by seeing yourself react the same exact way every time something similar happens to you. And when you notice such behavioral patterns, it’s definitely a sign that this isn’t a coincidence, it’s a sign that you should probably dig deeper and reflect on which limiting beliefs, childhood traumas, or triggers are behind these patterns.

what's self awareness

3. Yoga and Meditation

Another way to cultivate self awareness is to get out of our heads and into our bodies.

And I think the most effective way to do this, is to either practice yoga or meditation.

In our day-to-day lives, we don’t really have the habit of being present, tuning in with our bodies, and checking in with how we are feeling.

These will help you to just sit down and gain more awareness about the different sensations you feel, whether you feel some kind of heaviness or a certain pressure somewhere in your body.

You will notice how certain thoughts and emotions that you have been feeling might have been manifesting themselves physically.

4. Seeing thoughts for what they are

In addition to the first point I touched upon, it’s important to become aware of our thoughts (especially the unconscious and repetitive ones), but what we don’t want to do is giving them too much power over us.

You are having millions and millions of thoughts on a daily basis, many of these are unconscious, and only a tiny part of these we are actually aware of.

Your thoughts are mixed with lots of imagination and often make you convinced that the worst-case scenario will happen to you.

Try seeing thoughts for what they are: they are just thoughts. They don’t necessarily hold any truth, they don’t necessarily say anything about you, and they certainly shouldn’t have any power over you.

What people tend to do is obsess over thoughts they are having. They judge themselves for having disturbing thoughts.

But, as the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung said “what you resist not only persists but will grow in size.’’

So when you find yourself judging these thoughts, the only thing that you are doing is putting fuel to the fire, and creating a problem that wasn’t even there to begin with.

So instead of resisting these thoughts that don’t serve you, just surrender and embrace them and you will notice that they will dissolve quickly.

Understanding this will cultivate so much self awareness.

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what's self awareness

Let’s Chat!

Let me know in the comments down below: what do you do to cultivate more self awareness?

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  1. Dori says:

    I have recently embraced journaling and would love to get back to yoga now lockdown has ended.

  2. Evie says:

    So eye opening. I love the just seeing thoughts for what they are. You do not need to act on these thoughts. Self awareness is so important for growing as a person and becoming the best you can be.

  3. Kelly says:

    Cultivating self-awareness is something I’m always working on! I love the idea of saying your thoughts out loud. I’m going to try doing that going forward.

  4. Kaybee lives says:

    This is a great post! Being self aware can be difficult for me. I often get too focused on what is right in front of me and lose perspective. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  5. Everyone always tells me I’m very self aware, although I don’t always use it in the best way.

  6. Emily says:

    I so agree that self awareness is essential! If you aren’t in touch with yourself on this level, it is impossible to make sure that you are taking care of yourself in the ways that you need. These are great ideas for how to make sure that is happening.

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