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Grow Self Confidence Through Self Awareness

Self-awareness can be defined as being aware of different aspects of the self including traits, behaviors, and feelings and knowing how those aspects influence your behavior. It is also the ability to realistically assess your strengths and weaknesses while maintaining your confidence and desire to grow.

It’s important to understand when we lack self-awareness, we have a harder time recognizing our personal strengths and weaknesses which limits growth, creativity, and self-confidence. 

Learning how to be self-aware isn’t easy for anyone. But with practice, you can learn to increase your self-knowledge and find new ways to interpret your thoughts, actions, feelings, and conversations that you have with other people. The World Health Organization recognizes self-awareness as one of ten life skills that promote well-being across all cultures. It’s that important!

Below is an example of a young student being self-aware in a situation and then reacting without self-awareness.

Being self-aware:
Lauren was having a hard time with a homework assignment at home. Her parents were still working and Lauren didn’t want to interrupt them. Lauren realized being frustrated wasn’t going to help her think through the assignment clearly.  She remembered she had another assignment due that she understood and worked on that assignment instead. Once her parents arrived home, Lauren would ask them to help her with the assignment she had been struggling with.

Without self-awareness:
Lauren was having a hard time with a homework assignment at home. Her parents were still working, but Lauren wanted help immediately and called both of them repeatedly, telling them the assignment couldn’t wait. Lauren’s parents suggested she work on a different assignment until they came home. Lauren became more frustrated,  crumpled up her homework, and sat in front of the television instead. 

Internationally acclaimed author and psychologist Daniel Goleman says, “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

There are many ways to cultivate and practice self-awareness. Below are four ways we find to be most effective to kick start the learning process.

  • Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply the practice of observing what is going on in your mind, body, and environment with focus, clarity, and acceptance of what is happening. Set aside time each day and start practicing. There are a ton of websites to help you learn how to practice mindfulness, but honestly, it can take as little as 3 minutes a day. Try it while you are walking or maybe you prefer finding a quiet space to sit. As you spend time practicing mindfulness, you’ll probably find yourself feeling kinder, calmer, and more patient.

  • Start an Emotional Journal

This type of journaling isn’t your typical record of daily adventures. Rather, it’s a way to identify and take action around your emotions. Since the journal only focuses on your emotions, it’ll bring clarity to how to improve your mental health. You will start to notice patterns or trends that you can work to eliminate and avoid certain triggers.

  • Get Honest Feedback from Others

Becoming self-aware almost always requires help. It’s not that how we view ourselves is wrong, and getting feedback doesn’t mean we develop an insecure concern about what people think. However, those we are close to and care about will see us more objectively than we see ourselves, so we need to take the time to understand their point of view. Why? So we can discover strengths we never realized or behaviors that may be hurting our relationships and holding us back. At the end of the day, we all have strengths and weaknesses and exploring them—through inward introspection and external feedback—is the key to a successful and self-accepting life.

  • Identify Strengths and Work to Improve on Them

What do you like to do? What makes you happy? What do others say you do well? Where are you most productive? Write a list of things you like about yourself – do you tell good jokes, do you have a great memory, etc. You should also list new experiences you want to have – what are some things you can try that you may be good at? Start with a simple list and work on improving your top strengths.