Self-awareness, a key emotional intelligence competency, allows you to perceive your emotions accurately and understand your tendencies in situations as they occur. It's all about getting to know yourself and understanding what makes you tick as you develop.
Unveiling Your Identity: Discovering Who You Are and What Makes You Tick
Being aware of our emotions and learning ways to manage them will make a tremendous difference in our relationships and overall success in life. - Linda Marshall, President, Marshall Connects
The Benefits Of Developing Self-Awareness
Paying close attention to emotions, thoughts, and behaviours will help you become more self-aware. We use our self-awareness skills to observe our feelings and judge whether our needs are being met. We can strengthen this skill by assessing our abilities and improving where necessary. The more we develop self-awareness, the better we recognize how others view us.
Feeling Thoughts and Emotions Physically
Each time a thought occurs, our brain produces chemicals that trigger reactions that we feel throughout our body. We usually don't realize how much they command our feelings because we continuously think the same way we breathe. When our emotions overwhelm us, our thoughts can turn the heat up or down, affecting how we manage our emotions.
The Impact Self-Awareness Has On Your Career
Over the past few months, I've had the pleasure of interviewing over 260 leaders across Canada for my new book on emotional intelligence. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), most of them reinforced the importance of self-awareness and its role in their career. As their self-awareness developed, they became more familiar with their strengths and areas to improve. This self-discovery led to better self-manage and increased their ability to meet the needs of those around them. My book, The Power of Emotion is an effective tool for developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
What Stops People From Embracing Self-Awareness?
Do those who lack self-awareness think "ignorance is bliss"? Maybe, but sometimes people struggle with analyzing their behaviour for various reasons, including:
- Fear of facing uncomfortable truths: Self-awareness requires being honest with oneself and confronting weaknesses, flaws, or mistakes. This process can be uncomfortable and challenging for some individuals, leading to avoidance or denial.
- Lack of introspection: Some people may not prioritize or engage in self-reflection. They may be too focused on external factors or busy with daily routines, leaving little time for introspection and self-analysis.
- Fear of judgment: Self-awareness often involves self-evaluation and recognizing areas where improvement is needed. Fear of judgment or criticism from others can hinder individuals from fully embracing self-awareness.
- Emotional avoidance: Acknowledging and processing emotions can be difficult for some people. They may suppress or avoid their feelings, preventing deep self-awareness and understanding of their emotional states.
- Overemphasis on external validation: People who rely heavily on external validation may struggle to develop a strong sense of self-awareness. Constantly seeking approval from others can cloud their judgment and prevent them from cultivating a genuine understanding of themselves.
- Lack of knowledge or guidance: Some individuals may simply be unaware of the benefits and importance of self-awareness. They might not have access to resources or advice encouraging personal growth and introspection.
Increase your emotional intelligence today by taking this quick (and complimentary) online quiz to help determine and develop your self-awareness. Connect with me for support to develop these skills. Discover my consulting opportunities and emotional intelligence training.
This article was originally published on March 9, 2019, and has been updated (July 2023).
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