From the moment we grow up we need to be accepted by others to ensure our survival within the group in which we live. But we also need to follow our own unique path that may not be accepted or understood by the others. In the process of being accepted, the process of finding out what is best for us meets many obstacles and faces delays. This way, we end up living a life that does not reflect our own values, our beliefs. Most importantly, we sometimes live a life where we express that version of ourselves that is acceptable and does not disturb other’s peace of mind.
Throughout our lives we try to balance those two needs: be accepted by a wider group (e.g., family, school, society, friends, relatives, religious group, etc.) and follow our aspirations. How skillfully we fulfill both needs as adults depends on how capable we are of dealing with our inner self.
Self-awareness is the search for our inner self, our potential, our purpose in life, the principles and values that guide us and that are very likely to be different from what we have learned to follow, implement and believe.
Usually, we avoid or underestimate the journey of self-awareness for three reasons. First, we consider it as useless rumblings with no practical benefit whatsoever. Second, we may have had unpleasant personal experience from moments of intense self-criticism (we learned how not to listen to our inner calling). And finally, we might feel self-assured we really know ourselves.
All three reasons are disorienting. Think about it. You want to succeed. You want to have stronger relationships. You want to be more optimistic and happy.
Can you achieve any of these goals if you do not understand yourself? If you haven’t explored your inner self?
Self-knowledge is an ongoing journey and is not always easy.
A mild form of self-awareness is extremely transformative when applied in coaching conditions.
Self-awareness has also been scientifically proven. Some of its benefits are:
- Makes us more energetic, strengthens self-acceptance and helps in personal development (Sutton, 2016).
- Self-knowledge allows us to see things from the perspective of others, to exercise self-control, to work creatively and productively and to feel proud of ourselves and our work as well as general self-esteem (Silvia & O’Brien, 2004) .
- Leads to better decision making (Ridley, Schutz, Glanz, & Weinstein, 1992).
- It can make us better at work, better communicators in the workplace and enhance our self-confidence and work-related well-being (Sutton, Williams, & Allinson, 2015).
Is self-awareness what I truly need?
I will not answer whether you self-awareness is what you need in your life. But I will encourage you to explore how much your life aligns with what you truly want, desire and aspire.
Observe your tendency to judge others, to live on autopilot, to avoid situations, to take decisions and then regret it full of guilt or fear, to be vague about how you feel, to constantly think about the past and to try to control the future. Do you have no energy to keep going? Does fear hold you back? Why are you irritable and nervous? Are you indifferent to the needs of those around you or your own?
It is perfectly normal to seek acceptance and safety in your life. But we are not going to meet these needs satisfactorily if we oppress and betray our own values, desires, dreams and goals.
Make sure you are faithful to the possibilities you have so that you feel full and satisfied with your life. Self-awareness enhances almost every experience we have, as it is a tool and a practice that can be used anywhere, anytime, to help us enjoy the moment, to realistically evaluate ourselves and our situation, and to help us make decisions.
Self-awareness helps us to feel whole, to grow, to change, to be loved by others and to love ourselves for exactly who we are – unconditionally.
PS: If you need help to discover your inner potential, to find out who you are, your purpose in life and what principles and values guide you, the 1: 1 self-awareness coaching program, based on Evidence Based Coaching, can help you create a harmonious life, follow your deepest desires, decide which path to choose, live your life to the fullest, live on your own terms , turn your unpleasant feelings into your ally so that you finally feel whole and satisfied with your life.
Ridley, D. S., Schutz, P. A., Glanz, R. S., & Weinstein, C. E. (1992). Self-regulated learning: The interactive influence of metacognitive awareness and goal-setting. The Journal of Experimental Education, 60, 293–306.
Silvia, P. J., & O’Brien, M. E. (2004). Self-awareness and constructive functioning: Revisiting “the Human Dilemma.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 475–489.
Sutton, A. (2016). Measuring the effects of self-awareness: Construction of the Self-Awareness Outcomes Questionnaire. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 12, 645–658.
Sutton, A., Williams, H. M., & Allinson, C. W. (2015). A longitudinal, mixed-method evaluation of self-awareness training in the workplace. European Journal of Training and Development, 39, 610–627.