Do you think you know yourself? Really know your character, feelings and desires? Many of us believe we know ourselves much better than we actually do — and that’s our first mistake in becoming truly self aware. Self awareness is a key step in our journey toward being our best selves and living our happiest, most fulfilled lives.

Self awareness is the experience of one’s own personality and individuality. It’s what makes each of us individuals with our own feelings, character, motives and desires — and it’s what helps us determine whether something aligns with our internal standards or not.

Strengthening our self awareness is important for a number of reasons:

  • We become better, more confident decision-makers.
  • We learn how to communicate with clarity and intention.
  • We can build better relationships by learning to trust ourselves.
  • We respect our individual experiences and feelings — and turn the dialogue from “I am (angry/sad/frustrated/etc.)” to “I feel (anger/sadness/frustration/etc.).”
Understanding that many times, we see our own behaviors as reactions to our values or thoughts while judging others simply by their behaviors, gives unique insight into why our self image is often skewed.

So how can we increase our self awareness in order to find peace in our lives?

  1. Be patient and put in the time and effort. Improving self-awareness requires both patience and humility. If you put in the discipline, you can learn how to really know yourself, and understand how and why you make the decisions you do.
  2. Ask the “what” questions. At the core of self-awareness is the ability to self-reflect. Instead of focusing on the “why” you do things, which is often based on assumptions and in turn, a focus on your weaknesses, ask the “what” questions. This helps you consider all the factors of the situation — environment, personal feelings, dynamics of the people involved, etc. Asking the right questions allows us to get to the bottom of what actually happened and recognize behavior patterns that we need to change.
  3. Try journaling. Allowing yourself to dig deep and keep track of how you felt during different periods and experiences of your life can give you the push to see things objectively. Where have you evolved and where do you seem “stuck”?
  4. Ask for feedback. Learning how others perceive our behaviors can feel scary, but the feedback you receive from those you spend the most time with can be invaluable in your journey to understanding yourself. It’s possible that the way you see yourself is also the way others see you — but this feedback can help bridge the gap between how you hope and strive to behave and how you actually do behave.
Self awareness is a never-ending practice, and can really open your mind to being the most peaceful and happiest version of yourself.

Why you should increase your self awareness — and how to do it