Self Awareness is our ability to observe and accurately identify our thoughts, feelings and impulses, and determine whether they are grounded in reality or not. 

Benefits-

  1. Aids self-control, creativity, pride, and self-esteem.
  2. Predicts self-development, acceptance, and proactivity.
  3. Facilitates decision-making.
  4. Leads to more accurate self-reports.
  5. Required to develop self-control.

But being “self-aware” is not an all-or-nothing trait. There are varying levels which we can achieve.

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Why You Suck at Self-Awareness

markmanson.net

  • We avoid pain through distraction. We transport our minds to some other time or place or world where it can be safe and insulated from the pain of day-to-day life.
  • Now, there’s nothing wrong with distraction. We all need some sort of diversion to keep us sane and happy. The key is that we need to be aware of our distractions. 
  • The goal with distraction isn’t to defeat distraction, it’s merely to develop an awareness and control of our distractions.

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  • What people often find is that the more they remove themselves from distraction, the more they are forced to actually deal with a lot of the emotions that they’ve been avoiding for a long time.
  • It takes time to become comfortable with all of your emotions. 
  • BUT, emotions can also be distractions from other emotions. Part of developing a strong sense of emotional intelligence is being able to discern which emotions that you experience are important to act on and which emotions should be acknowledged and felt and nothing more.

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The important thing is just that we’re self-aware about our weaknesses. Otherwise, we become enslaved to our mind’s faulty mechanisms. Our minds are flawed in many ways-

  • Our ability to predict our thoughts and feelings in the future is poor. 
  • We constantly overestimate ourselves.
  • Contradictory evidence can often make us surer of our position rather than inspire us to question it.
  • Our attention naturally only focuses on things that already cohere to our pre-existing beliefs.
  • Most of us, when given the opportunity, will tell small lies to improve our results.

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Freeing ourselves from the twisted confines of our mind comes down to a few things:

  1. Hold Weaker Opinions- Recognize that you can be wrong.
  2. Take yourself less seriously- Many of your actions are reactions to meaningless emotions.
  3. Learn your bad patterns- Spot your coping mechanisms.
  4. Recognize the problems you create for yourself- Face your problems instead of trying to escape through coping mechanisms. 
  5. Be realistic- Understand that you can adjust to your psychological reactions.

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  1. Practice Mindfulness- Mindfulness is simply the practice of observing what is going on in your mind, body, and environment with focus, clarity, and, importantly, acceptance of what is happening. 
  2. Write things down- The simple act of organizing your thoughts on paper is often enough to give you more clarity about your thoughts and feelings than keeping it all bottled up between your ears. 
  3. Get honest feedback from others- Ask someone to point out your blind spots. 

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  • Self-awareness is wasted if it does not result in self-acceptance. If great self-awareness is coupled with self-judgment, then you’re merely becoming more aware of all the ways you deserve to be judged.
  • Empathy can only occur in proportion to our own self-acceptance. It’s only by accepting the flaws of our own emotions and our own minds that we are able to look at the flaws of the emotions and minds of others, and rather than judge them or hate them, feel compassion for them.

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