Self-awareness has a massive impact on our Emotional Intelligence
When a person decides to change, it’s like fighting a battle against instincts that have been hardwired due to repetition, and the desire to change is almost always triggered by some emotionally jarring event.
In such an event, it is imperative that you’ve a clear idea of your own character, values, and motivations. In the absence of self-awareness, we may find ourselves being guided by a desperate need for external validation.
The best protection from external sabotage is better self-awareness.
Recognizing your own shortcomings means you start from a place of humility and strength. This is a moment of hard-won clarity in your life.
A lot of people are still unaware of the fact that Emotional Intelligence is more important than your Intelligence quotient.
It affects every part of your life and if disturbed, it can derail every effort towards growth and happiness.
This is one of the reasons that even professional organizations assess EQ along with other required skill sets.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Let’s try and understand the concept of ‘self-awareness’. Emotional Intelligence is a large part of it. Another part of it is your level of control over your own actions and reactions.
A self-aware person is in touch with his emotions, motivations and fully aware of his limitations.
Such a person can predict his own behavior under stressful and trying circumstances and this allows them to weed out the negatives, and strengthen the positives of their own character.
You should be able to see yourself as clearly as you would the external world.
Individual lacking in self-awareness are-
- Often shocked by their own behavior
- Unable to spend time alone
- Prone to impulsive behavior
- Lacking in self-confidence
- Bad at self-assessment
- Unable to accept or ignore other people’s perception of them
- Frustrated with their life
Steps towards better self-awareness –
1. Introspect & Identify
Spend some time by yourself. Assess your own emotions. Get to know yourself like you would a stranger. Listen to the things you say to others, yourself…in your head and out loud. Observe and practice ruthless honesty.
Write down the things about yourself that unsettle you.
I had a habit of maintaining a blasé facade, all the while indulging in massive verbal self-abuse. There was always this need to excel at everything.
Suppress parts of myself that could potentially disappoint the people I cared about. My parents were always fairly supportive, but I failed to notice that.
Instead, I started believing that if I were ever to fail, they’ll stop caring and I will completely lose them. All of this led to a lot of guilt and stress. It would all come pouring out in spurts of angry behavior.
But you see, the baggage was all mine. It had nothing to do with anyone else. Therefore, it was mine to fix.
So in pursuit of self-awareness, start by Identifying destructive patterns of behavior. The triggers of problem behavior, if you will.
2. Accept without Self-hate
Own all your flaws, drag them out into the light and accept them. Take responsibility. Saturate your mind with the need to change but, NO SELF HATE!!
This is the most counter-productive thing you can do. You nurture in a healthy environment, not a hostile one. So, No Self Hate! Stop cursing at yourself. You are doing more damage than good. You need to calm down!
Related : What is Self-love? How to practice it?
3. Acknowledge the good in you
The intent is not to mindlessly wipe out your old self. If you do that, you will be rejecting not just the bad parts of your self, but the good ones as well. It’s like you trying to create something in a vacuum, it can’t be done.
Do yourself a favor and identify all the awesome qualities you have, and there will be plenty.
If you can’t see it for yourself, ask someone who cares about you. Once you have a list, no matter how tiny, of all the good in you – treat that as a foundation for the new you.
Harnessing the knowledge towards change –
1. Core values
The most demeaning to a person can be an indulgence in impulses that you condemn in others.
In the grips of a temper, I had a habit of being mean to people who weren’t in a position to retaliate and to this day, I carry the guilt for it. Developing better self-control and treating people with respect became important to me.
Just like that, you must draft a list of values you expect your ideal-self to have. This is the blueprint of the structure you have to build. In this case, the structure is the kind of person you wish to become.
You have to build an image in your head of your ideal self. Aim high! Show confidence in your ability to change. If you believe you can change, then you will.
2. Set out your goal
Okay, before we strategize, we need an actual goal. You have a good idea of the end result (your ideal self). Now, you must decide what corner of the structure you will start with.
Start small. You are doing an overhaul of your own personality, it is going to take time and effort.
I started with temper management. My temper was the biggest issue in my life, so I focused on it first. So, set out your goal. Come up with step one and focus on it. Stay positive and under no circumstances, do you get to indulge in self-abuse.
3. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help. Take pride in the fact that you are striving towards being better. That’s a big deal!
If you have a friend or family member who you think cares about you, ask them for help.
Having said that, do not ask them to tell you your flaws, that doesn’t work. You’ll end up resenting them for it.
Pick someone you can trust. If there’s someone else going through a similar struggle, you can make them your support group. If there is no such person in your immediate circle, find an online community.
Empathy can be very, very helpful. Someone who understands your struggle first hand can offer advice and guidance that nobody else can.
If all of this fails, you can find comfort in books, movies, music, and stories of others who have struggled and emerged heart-whole and healthy.
Related : Content to consume for a Happier Soul
4. Assess yourself
Set out little tests for yourself. Check if you are becoming better at handling your triggers. If not, your plan of action may need some tweaks. Keep at it till you notice some tangible improvement.
It is such a good moment when you notice your own progress. Set a milestone. For example, sustain the alternative behavior for a set number of days before you shift your focus to something else.
5. Maintain a journal
You need to put everything down on paper. This will make assessment easier. One day, when you’re all done with the set goals, this journal will be a memento of the toughest time in your life.
This is a war, not a battle. You may fall now and then, but the point is to win the ultimate fight. So, every time you fail at achieving your set goals – assess, analyze, and move on.
Tomorrow will be a better day!
7. Acknowledge and celebrate your wins
Every success, no matter how little, counts! Breaking a bad habit is a huge achievement. Celebrate it! congratulate yourself and do something nice. Indulge yourself!
“Strong people have a strong sense of self-worth and self-awareness; they don’t need the approval of others.”
― Roy T. Bennett
I cannot emphasize enough, how extremely important self-awareness is. Jealousy, Insecurity, aggression – all of it has its root in a definite lack of self-awareness.
Get to know yourself better, fall in love with the person you find and it will be like the sun coming up. Everything will become clearer. You’ll finally take charge of your life.
It will be a painful process, but you will come out it stronger, tougher and covered with an unshakeable sense of self-worth.
Also, It is the only quality that can help you attain self-confidence and as we all know, if we are to navigate the metaphorical mean streets of life, that is the one thing we need in abundance.
These are my pointers. I would love to hear your views on the subject.