last updated August 28, 2020

Why and how to develop self-awareness

by Rob Arthur

When working to improve your health, career, relationships, or any other aspect of life, you’re most effective when focusing on things you control.

What can you control most?


Thus, a strong sense of self-awareness is critical for long-term success.

Self-awareness is the ability to direct our attention toward ourselves, and to identify, process, and store what we observe (1).

Two main types of self-awareness are situational self-awareness – comparing our current actions to our internal standards – and dispositional self-awareness – reflecting on our thoughts and feelings and their relationships to others (2).

Self-awareness helps us take the perspectives of others, exercise self-control, work creatively, experience pride, and cultivate self-esteem (3).

Self-awareness helps us communicate better, build confidence, and develop a sense of well-being at work (4).

Self-awareness even promotes better decision-making (5).

Unfortunately, self-awareness is not something many of us do very well (6).

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help build self-awareness.

First consider establishing a regular meditation practice.

Set aside time, free from all distraction, to be alone with your thoughts and emotions.

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and breathe.

What are you thinking?

What are you feeling?

Do not judge or resist what you observe.

Notice, name, and explore what you’re experiencing.

Let it all come, go, or just “be”, without any reaction.

Consider recording your meditations in a journal.

You might even journal about what you observe over the course of each day.

What went well?

What do you wish had gone differently?

What role did you play?

What patterns do you observe?

How do these patterns align with your best life?

How do they align with who you want to be?

Which patterns would you like to reinforce?

Which would you like to let go?

How can you make that happen?

These are only suggestions, of course.

You’ll need to find what works best for you.

Self-awareness isn’t easy.

It will take time and effort to build.

It will take even longer to put into action.

It will be worth it, though.

You are worthy.

You’ve got this.


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