How To Build Self-Awareness & Use It To Make Tough Decisions

Written by Anushree Ghosh

Being self-aware is a rare quality. It isn’t easy to understand and build. While many believe they know what it is, it’s not entirely true. There are many benefits of being truly aware of oneself — it makes you more confident and creative, better able to make sound decisions, and build relationships that thrive against all odds. It’s less likely that we will resort to immoral acts like lying, cheating, or stealing the more we cultivate the habit of self-awareness.

That said, even though we may ponder and get into deep introspection to cultivate self-awareness, several roadblocks are waiting to derail us from our goals of understanding our inner world. It is not about sacrificing worldly pleasures and living in nirvana, but just a sense of understanding yourself. It actually brings you closer to loving yourself more every day. So what is self-awareness, and how do we use it to navigate a difficult life and make tough decisions? Read on to learn more:

What Is Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is how we see ourselves, our values and principles, our aims and dreams, our reactions to our environment, and our strengths and weaknesses. The better awareness we have, the higher our chances of success in life. It’s associated with greater satisfaction in our work life and personal space, self-control, and happiness. And most importantly, it keeps stress, depression, and anxiety at bay. With the right tools and a little practice, this life skill can be developed and improved. Here’s how:

1. See How You Relate To Other People’s Behaviors

See How You Relate To Other People's Behaviors

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We often get irked noticing how people around us behave or react. But the fact is, sometimes this reflects who we are or what we dislike in our personalities. There are some parts of us that we don’t personally like, such as a habit of twisting reality or struggling to say a clear “No”. We can live in denial, but it’s good to have a clear picture and pick cues from others’ words and actions to build self-awareness.

2. Practice Meditation

Practice Meditation

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Meditation is a great way to get in touch with your inner conscience. Feel your breath and even though your attention can waver, choose to ignore those and simply focus on your breath. Mindful meditation is excellent for your physical health and a fantastic way to improve your emotional state. Observe your thoughts clearly and seek peace inside. It’ll help you prepare yourself to fight difficult situations.

3. Avoid Numbing What You Feel

Avoid Numbing What You Feel

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Most of us have a particular emotion or memory that triggers a feeling that we strongly want to avoid. We want to deny it or go to extremes to let go of that emotion from resurfacing. But there could be something about ourselves that this emotion is trying to tell us. This could be something we need to resolve or take note of. Face it, and you’ll discover something about yourself if you’re open to listening. Some people generally try to brush their pain aside by distracting themselves. In that way, you are not letting yourself let go of negative emotions. It is almost like lying to yourself. If it hurts, talk to someone or let it out by other means instead of bottling the issue inside.

4. Start Journaling

Start Journaling

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It’s a good idea to jot down events of your life, both big and small, and take a hard look at things that transpired to make it happen — those in between, before and after. This could seem insignificant at the onset, but once you start, there are many perspectives to help you lift the haze and clearly see your life pattern. Don’t just write what you did. Be honest with yourself. For example, if there is any incident that made you very happy or very upset, talk about it. In the process, you may reach a conclusion about how things make you react in general.

5. Read Quality Fiction Or Self-Help

Read Quality Fiction Or Self-Help

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Many of us hate the idea of sitting through cover to cover of a novel or any informative material, but if you get in the habit of reading, it’s bound to open a whole new world before you. Authors are keen observers of human behavior. They take great pains to feel and make sense of human emotions to relate to their readers. When you try to understand the way they look at life, you’ll slowly start to see things through their lenses, becoming more compassionate and less judgemental.

6. Seek Feedback From Those You Trust

Seek Feedback From Those You Trust

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Not all advice or feedback is solicited. But gaining some idea about how people around you perceive you can be beneficial. Of course, seek it from friends and family who have helped you and been there with you through your highs and lows. It’s a great way to improve parts of your life that fall on your blind spots. But how you ask for feedback is what matters the most. Choose someone credible, kind, and patient to listen and give you advice worthy of your time. They may seem critical but have an open mind and avoid getting defensive right away. The exercise is not meant to make you feel happy and validated anyway. So, you may not feel great at the end of it but thank them nonetheless.

7. Learn Something New

Learn Something New

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A new skill or hobby can open our eyes to things we didn’t know about ourselves. You’ll be thrown into challenging scenarios, those that will challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. This will increase your self-awareness, pushing you to adapt and act. If you stick to doing the same things every day, chances are you will remain stagnant. For growing in life, the mind has to be flexible and ready to absorb new ideas and information. Commit yourself to something new, and you’ll gain self-awareness like never before.

Cultivating self-awareness can seem too abstract or vague to commit to for the long term. But it’s not as complicated as it looks. Pay attention to your mind, your behaviors, and your thought process, and you’ll be on the road to a beautiful self-discovery. How important do you believe being self-aware is? What steps have you taken to build the same? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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