It doesn’t matter who you are, what kind of work you do, or what your experiences have been, it’s a universal truth that we all seek to be understood.
But we can’t expect other people to understand us if we don’t understand ourselves. If we don’t know the facets of our personalities, the baggage of our upbringing and family genetics, don’t comprehend our weaknesses, and aren’t in tune with our idiosyncrasies, we can’t properly communicate our needs, explain our behavior, or truly we relate to someone else’s experience, thus understanding them!
One thing I’m working on my own life is a developing a good healthy sense of self-awareness. I want to be the first to know my quirks and tics. I believe a classy, well adjusted woman has a healthy sense of herself and her effect on other people. Here’s what I’ve found in my researching the topic!
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1. Learn to articulate yourself well.
Sometimes it can be hard to identify exactly how you may feel or what is going on in your head but start practicing choosing the words that come close. When you have words, you have tools. You can explain the whys and hows of your behavior and have a conversation about change.
Words force you to face what may be uncomfortable or unnerving. When a thing remains nameless, it’s easier to ignore but the moment it has a name, it puts out little roots in your brain and gives you something more concrete to respond to.
Words can also help keep your emotions in check. It’s always better to respond with well chosen words rather than react with anger and frustration. I’m not saying that emotions don’t have a place. I am saying that not being in control of our emotions isn’t an option and taking time to choose the right words can help keep that control.
2. Understand your personality
Know what motivates you and drains you. Know what you’re good at and what needs work. This adds to your maturity level because you know where your boundaries are and how to work within them.
I love personality quizzes and books that address the topic. My current favorite personality quiz is 16 Personalities (it’s free!). And a few books that are on my TBR (To Be Read list) include:
3. Take ownership
Another sign of maturity is taking ownership of your tendencies, your weaknesses and behavior. Don’t blame your bad behavior on your ancestry as though you have no choice in the matter. Don’t minimize your inappropriate words or actions when people check you. Recognize destructive behavior and listen when you hear a trend in peoples’ comments about/to you. Be brave enough to ask people you trust and then own it and make change.
4. Be cognizant of your non-verbal communication
Non-verbal communication doesn’t have anything to do with what you say but it speaks volumes! Body language, respect of personal space, tone of voice, facial expression, and use of touch all contribute to the messages you send. Be sure that what you say with both your mouth and body is exactly what you mean to say.
5. Practice regular evaluation
This is where journaling is invaluable. Writing down your thoughts and feelings about yourself and all the happenings around you give you a place to go back and evaluate what’s going on in your head and heart which is important for self-awareness.
21 Questions for Self Reflection
- What goals are you working toward?
- What are the conditions of your closest relationships?
- How are your behaviors affecting your husband? kids? parents? family? friends? co-workers?
- If you weren’t scared, what would you do?
- If money wasn’t an object what would you do?
- What are your 3 worst habits?
- What are your 3 best habits?
- What do you do now that you used to promise yourself you’d never do?
- What motivates you?
- What tears you down?
- What do you need more of in your life?
- How is your relationship with Jesus?
- Are you a morning person or a night owl?
- What do you most value?
- How would you describe yourself
- What did you enjoy most as a child and do you still enjoy that?
- What is your biggest creative dream?
- If you could be instantly good at something new, what talent would you choose?
- If today was your last day of life, what would be your biggest regret?
- What does your ideal life look like in 5 years?
- What do you need to do to make that happen?
How would you rate your self awareness? What do you need to work on it to improve? Would you add anything to the first list or a question to the second one? I’d love to continue the conversation in the comments!