“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” - Marcus Aurelius
Your inner self governs everything you do. Those frustrations you feel come from deep within. Your inner self can either afflict you or be the string in your bow of success.
Self-awareness is one of the most important skills for success.
Your behaviour and responses are governed by internal mental processes. Self-awareness uncovers any destructive thought-patterns and/or unhealthy habits.
If you find yourself lashing out, or frustrated then perhaps it's time to get your self-awareness in check. Even if you feel fine, self-awareness adds indispensable value to your life and without it, you can't possibly hope to be the best version of youself.
Here are the best exercises for self-awareness.
1. The three why’s
Before acting on a decision, ask yourself “Why?” Then follow up your reasoning with another “Why?” And then a third. If you can find three good reasons to pursue something, you’ll have clarity and be more confident in your actions. Don't go through your day being a bag of unreasoned emotions. Think before you act. It pays dividends.
Self-awareness is about understanding your motives and assuring yourself that your actions are reasoned.
2. Expand your emotional vocabulary
When we can't explain how we feel we feel frustrated. Emotions hold a lot of power towards our actions. Putting your feelings into words has a therapeutic effect on your brain. Here is a great list of “feeling words” to help with describing and labelling your emotions.
3. Take responsibility for your flaws
Nobody is perfect. Being aware of your flaws means accepting responsibility for the things you do wrong. It's very easy to criticise others but we can't do that without turning the mirror on ourselves. We wouldn't want to be hypocrites now, would we? Self-improvement only happens once you recognize a flaw. Create a habit of acknowledging your mistakes, rather than making excuses.
4. Practice saying 'no' to yourself
One of the most valuable aspects of self-awareness is self-control. Stopping yourself from doing things that will hurt you or others is a major part of what keeps us successful.
The ability to say “no” to yourself to put off short-term gratification for the long-term gain. It's a core life-skill. The more you practice saying “no” to small daily challenges, the better you can withstand major temptations.
5. Monitor your self-talk
Be very aware of how you communicate to yourself. If you pass off your achievements as luck and crucify yourself after failures you are lacking in confidence and your self-talk could be making it worse. You need to put an immediate stop to it. How can you expect to be successful if your main supporter (you) doesn't even believe in you?
A little bit of negative self-talk can spiral into stress and depression.
Balance tough talk with self-compassion. That's a real winners mentality.
6. Improve your body language awareness
Watching yourself on video can be a cringeworthy experience, but awareness of your body language, posture, and mannerisms improves your confidence.
Slouching, or taking a “low-power-pose” increases cortisol and feeds low self-esteem, while standing tall or taking a “high-power-pose” stimulates testosterone and improves your performance. Using hand gestures helps with articulating your thoughts and affects how people respond to you.
7. Ask for constructive feedback, regularly
We all have blind spots in our thinking patterns and behaviours. Asking for regular constructive feedback cuts through any incorrectly perceived characteristics or blind spots we might have about ourselves. It gives us a rare glimpse of how other people see us and it's invaluable to our progress.
8. Break visceral reactions
Last but by no means least. A person without self-awareness runs on auto-pilot and responds with knee-jerk reactions. Self-awareness allows you to assess situations objectively and rationally, without letting your actions overcome your chances of success.
Add space between your thoughts and actions this is the key to a life of self-awareness.