High self-awareness is a solid predictor of success in life, perhaps because a self-aware person knows what they want so they can more easily take the steps that get them there. Unfortunately, many of us are on “autopilot,” hardly aware of why we succeed or fail, or why we behave as we do. Our minds are so busy with daily chatter that we usually only self-reflect when something goes awfully wrong. That’s why self-awareness matters. But that’s not the only reason. Here are some more:
1. Becoming more self-aware can be enlightening
There is so much we don’t know about our inner thoughts and processes that the inward journey at times can be surprising. Sometimes certain phrases come out automatically to reveal attitudes or opinions that we don’t even realize we subscribe to, or even know where they came from.
Over the years of being submerged in a family, a school, various jobs, and a social milieu, we absorb prevailing ideas from our environment, and some of these get buried in our subconscious, where they often don’t get examined until we inadvertently blurt them out, at times to our own embarrassment. This is one good reason why it behooves us to become more self-aware . . . so we can find ourselves and feel more confident that the ideas we are expressing are really our own.
2. Self-awareness can open your mind to new perspectives
As we develop our perspectives, they get more rigid and hard to change. But new ideas are refreshing and stimulating, opening our thinking in new and possibly promising directions. Open-mindedness is definitely a plus in being successful at dealing with life’s challenges and diverse situations.
3. Self-awareness can boost self-worth
Very often the opinion we hold of ourselves is based on what others think, or more correctly, on what we think others think about us. If we were criticized often as children, we may develop a case of low self-esteem and sensitivity to rejection. On the other hand, if we were praised as a “prince or princess,” we are likely to develop false self-esteem or arrogance which can be hard our relationships. We owe it to ourselves to become more self-aware of the thoughts and beliefs within and whether they are consistent with reality.
4. Self-awareness can help you look at yourself objectively
Humans tend to be critical beings, whether self-critical or hard on others, and sometimes both. By beating ourselves up, we serve no one and harm our well-being. No one is perfect, so why should we expect ourselves to be?
So, learn to cut through the hype and become more objective, especially about yourself. Simply be willing to evaluate yourself as objectively as possible. Be sure not to gloss over what you’d rather not see, but rather mine the subconscious for its opinions and correct the mindsets that are not compatible with your values. You can do this by being completely honest with yourself, and when you find something that is out-of-sync, examine it, remove what isn’t compatible, and insert a better value or phrase to bring the idea in alignment with your personal values.
5. Self-awareness can help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses
You might say, “I’m a good starter, but I have more difficulty finishing a project.” “It’s easy for me to meet new people, but I have reservations when it comes to commitment.” “I’m a great friend, but I’m not so good at saving money.” We all have strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths to succeed in life, and your path will be happier, because you will find appreciation and support along the way.
6. Self-awareness can help you set intentions
If we wander through life without purpose or direction, chances are we’ll end up nowhere in particular. In order to form an intention, you really need some idea about what is important to you and what you hope to accomplish. It’s not necessary to know how you are going to get there, but you want to have some idea of your general direction. For instance: “I intend to create my own business in __________ (whatever field) and become self-sufficient by age ____”; “I intend to find the right life partner and raise a happy and healthy family together in the country”; “I intend to stand up for myself when my boss puts me down”; etc.
Say your intention out loud, communicating with your inner self, letting yourself know that you intend to create a more meaningful and satisfying life.