According to Dr. Tasha Eurich, 95% of people think they’re self aware but only 10-15% actually are. Woah. That means that on any given day, more than 80% of us are lying to ourselves about who we are and how we feel about ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a scary thought. How can we maximize life if we don’t truly understand who we are and how we fit into the world? If we don’t understand who we are, we’re likely operating on autopilot and not evaluating why we really do the things we do.
Some people fear becoming more self aware, but the truth is – you’ll be able to live a more intentional life as you become more aware of yourself.
So – if you want to gain more insight on what self awareness really is and how to cultivate it in your life, read on my friend!
What is Self Awareness?
Self awareness is the ability to not only see yourself clearly but to understand who you are and how you fit into the world. It also includes how others see you.
It’s the knowledge of your traits, behaviors, and feelings.
Self-awareness is the underlying foundation to all of the skills that are required to succeed in the 21st century. It affects your emotional intelligence, influence, persuasion, sales. If you are not self-aware, if you do not understand who you are, how others see you, and the role you play in the world, you are going to come up short.Dr. Eurich
As mentioned earlier, more than 80% of us aren’t actually self aware. But the good news is that self awareness is a skill that can be learned.
Why is it Important?
Without self awareness, our lives can get out-of-control simply because we’re not aware of the things that trigger us.
With self awareness, we can know what things (like conversations) that we should avoid! We also can be more aware of which opportunities we should pursue and which ones we should let go. High self awareness allows us to know why we behave how we do, what we can do to improve our moods, and more.
Here are some traits of people with high self awareness:
- are more effective leaders
- know their strengths & weaknesses
- have stronger relationships
- feel happier
- have more fulfillment
- feel more creative
- are better communicators & negotiators
- have a sense of direction
Types of Self Awareness
There are two types of self awareness – internal and external. Both are equally important to understand if you truly want to cultivate self awareness in your life. So – let’s talk about it!
Internal Self Awareness
As it sounds, internal self awareness is how well you know yourself. It’s your understanding of your values, passions, goals, and more.
External Self Awareness
Also how it sounds, external self awareness consists of your understanding of how others see you. Think about it – you may feel that you are a very honest person but others could see you as anything but! It’s good to be aware of if there’s a disconnect between how you think you portray yourself versus how you actually portray yourself.
Dr. Eurich recommends asking a person who wants you to succeed about their thoughts and feedback. You should ask them specific questions. For instance, instead of asking “what am I like?” you can ask “what do you think about my financial habits?” See the difference?
TIP: Make a list of how you see yourself first. Then, ask others how they see you and compare it to the list you made.
Signs That You May be Lacking Self Awareness
- You may suppress your emotions.
- You lack a sense of identity. This could look like switching who you are and how you act depending on who you’re with.
- You don’t listen to other opinions. It’s important to listen to other people’s opinions and beliefs because it can also help you better understand why you believe what you believe. You’re not thinking critically if you only surround yourself with narratives that agree with yours.
- You can’t explain the reasons behind your actions. Individuals who have higher self awareness are able to explain why they do certain behaviours. They may recognize that certain habits came from their childhood or that they were angry about something due to a past experience, for example.
- It’s hard for you to make realistic goals. Many times when people create goals, they aren’t taking account of the various things that they can or can’t commit to. For example, many people who create a goal of losing weight decide to go from going to the gym 0 days a week to 5 days a week, knowing that they have a busy schedule. This is setting yourself up for failure!
How to Cultivate Self Awareness
Take Personality Tests
I’m not talking about personality tests that you find on random blogs and websites. I’m talking about professional tests created by psychologists and professionals in these fields.
Personality tests ask a variety of questions, and when answered truthfully, they can provide valuable insight into different aspects of yourself and how you operate in the world. It helps you begin to learn about yourself on a deeper level!
The most helpful tests I’ve taken and seen are The Enneagram, The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and the DISC Model of Human Behavior. They have free and paid options available. Obviously, the paid versions typically offer some type of additional information; however, you can still get started with the free version and learn a lot through research!
For instance, after taking the Enneagram I learned that I’m a 1 wing 9. One of my biggest desires is to do the right thing, and one of my biggest fears is being seen as a bad person. This is actually something I already saw in myself and my values, so it was like a confirmation after taking The Enneagram!
I encourage you to take a variety of personality tests so that you aren’t basing your opinion on just one source!
Instead of Asking “Why,” ask “What”
A study done by a researcher named Tasha Eurich examined individuals who were self aware and shared common themes between them.
“Why” keeps you stuck in your reality and negativity. What helps you move forward. One of the examples she gave was: a cancer patient who felt overwhelmed and weighed down by her circumstance shifted from asking “Why me” to “What matters most to me.” She not only was able to foster relationships and experiences that meant a lot to her, but she was also able to beat her cancer diagnosis.
Envision the future version of yourself.
Typically when we visualize the ideal version of ourselves, it reflects our hopes, dreams, skills, and aspirations that we have for ourselves. It can help you lean into your strengths and learn what skills you want to sharpen to make meaningful progress towards that future version of yourself. I encourage you to journal or voice record yourself as a way to get your thoughts out of your head and process them better. It’s truly transformational!
Cultivating self awareness isn’t something that will happen overnight – it takes time! But it’s also something that will provide a ton of value in your every day life. Being able to confidently know if you’re being true to yourself is one of the greatest things that self awareness provides.
What has helped you increase your self awareness? Drop it in the comments and I can add it to this post!