Do you ever find yourself going through the motions of life without fully understanding what motivates you? If so, self-awareness is the key to understanding your true nature and connecting with your highest potential.
It is through this concept that you can cultivate a deeper sense of purpose and inner peace, as well as foster personal and spiritual growth.
If you’re looking for ways to improve this essential ability, here’s a go-to guide on how you can become more self-aware.
What Is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to observe and acknowledge your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors objectively, including positive and negative aspects of yourself.
Ajit Nawalkha, co-founder of Mindvalley Coach (formerly known as Evercoach by Mindvalley), defines it as a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and motivation. “It implies understanding yourself as a physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual being and the way you operate in all these dimensions,” he adds.
Why Is Self-Awareness Important?
Self-awareness is a foundational element of personal growth and development, as it helps you identify areas for improvement. Additionally, it enables you to recognize self-sabotaging patterns in your behavior and limiting beliefs that no longer serve your evolution.
Most importantly, without self-awareness, you can’t be free. According to Michael Beckwith, spiritual leader and trainer of Mindvalley’s The Life Visioning Mastery Quest, it’s one of the four pillars of freedom, as it enables you to become aware of your human conditioning and your real, authentic divine nature.
“You are no longer unconscious of your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors but have become aware of them,” he says. “You become aware of the presence of the infinite, and this brings more freedom and less hesitation into your life.“
Examples of Self-Awareness
You can find self-awareness displayed everywhere in life. Here are a few examples:
- You recognize that you get socially awkward and take steps to overcome it.
- You acknowledge that you tend to get easily distracted and develop strategies to help you stay focused and motivated.
- You admit your poor communication style and low empathy and take action to develop more empathetic and collaborative communication skills.
- You become aware of repetitive patterns in your intimate relationships and work towards identifying subconscious limiting beliefs to replace them with empowering ones.
What Causes Lack of Self-Awareness?
There are several factors that can contribute to a lack of self-awareness. Here are some of them:
- Paying no attention to one’s thoughts and emotions,
- Defensiveness or an unwillingness to examine one’s own behavior or beliefs critically,
- Fear of change,
- Lack of self-reflection,
- Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, and
- Mental pathologies, such as schizophrenia.
With busy lives and constant distractions, it can be difficult to find the energy and time to spend on introspection. Regardless of the cause (or the excuses), making the effort to increase self-awareness can be of value to your overall well-being.
The main signs of people who lack awareness
Those who lack awareness exhibit a number of signs. Here are a few main ones to highlight:
- They struggle with emotional regulation, often reacting to situations rather than responding to them from a mature place,
- They refuse to see perspectives different from their own,
- They aren’t open to any constructive feedback,
- They often repeat the same mistakes or engage in self-destructive behaviors,
- They aren’t in tune with their emotions and needs and may dismiss others’ feelings or needs, and
- They are stubborn and rigid in their thinking.
The bottom line is that a lack of self-awareness can have a detrimental impact. It can cause issues in your interpersonal relationships and prevent you from achieving personal growth and professional development.
So, recognizing the signs of a lack of self-awareness is the first step towards transformation, emotional regulation, and a healthier, more fulfilling life.
How to Improve Self-Awareness: 5 Tips From Mindvalley Trainers
Improving self-awareness is a life-long process because there is no end to your evolution. The more you evolve and expand your awareness, the more room for improvement you will discover. This is how infinite you are.
Here are a few tips to help you improve your self-awareness:
1. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is one single practice that can help you develop greater awareness of your inner experiences. Spending time each day tuning into your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations will improve your self-awareness and eventually become your way of life.
There are many ways you can practice it, from mindfulness meditation to mindful walking. The key is to be present with whatever it is you are focusing on.
Meditation is a powerful tool for improving your self-awareness, enhancing your intuition, and getting a deeper understanding of the nature of reality. At its core, it’s a practice of self-reflection and self-exploration that gives you insights into your own mind and emotions.
What’s even more powerful about meditation is that it helps you cultivate self-compassion and non-judgmental awareness. And if you follow the 6 Phase Meditation framework, developed and taught by Vishen, founder of Mindvalley, it also helps reprogram your mind, cultivate love, inner peace, and forgiveness, and manifest the life of your dreams.
Listen to the 6 Phase Meditation:
3. Stretch your awareness
According to Jeffrey Allen, energy healer and trainer of Mindvalley’s Duality Quest, stretching your awareness during the day is beneficial.
Here are Jeffrey’s three practical tips to enhance your self-awareness:
- First, stretch physically, then stretch your awareness into the same areas. Notice what you feel.
- Stretch your awareness into your hand before touching someone or something. Notice how different it feels.
- Stretch your awareness into your feet while you’re walking. Notice how much more present you are.
4. Self-reflect regularly
Self-reflection is the process of looking inward and examining your thoughts, feelings, actions, and behaviors. When you reflect regularly, you gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your values, and your motivations.
Most importantly, self-reflection enables you to look at yourself and your life honestly and make necessary changes that can lead to personal growth and success in all dimensions.
To improve self-awareness through self-reflection, it’s essential to take a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on what happened, or set aside a specific time each week to engage in more in-depth reflection.
Here are some great questions to ask yourself for self-coaching:
- What are my strengths?
- What are my core values?
- What do I love doing?
- What do I tend to avoid?
- What do I want to achieve in life?
- What do I want to leave as a legacy?
- How do I tend to manage my emotions?
5. Seek feedback from others
When you intentionally ask others for feedback, you are inviting them to share their perspectives on your behavior and performance. You can seek feedback from your supervisor, colleagues, friends, or family members.
The key is to ask for feedback from people who know you well and can be honest and constructive, and to be open to it even if it’s difficult to hear.
By listening to their insights, you may discover blind spots or areas for improvement you weren’t aware of and then use this information as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Explore Your True Nature
Self-awareness is more than recognizing your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and underlying beliefs and values. It’s about your true self, which is divine in nature.
Most importantly, when you become more self-aware, you understand the nature of your human experience as a Soul, and how you fit into the larger tapestry of the Universe. In other words, you begin to see the interconnectedness of all things. This leads to a greater sense of empathy and compassion and a desire to live in harmony with all there is.
If this sounds like your deepest aspiration, Mindvalley is where you can endlessly explore your true nature and better understand yourself and the world around you. There, you’ll find awareness and mindfulness teachers who you can learn from—Jeffrey Allen, Michael Beckwith, Vishen, Gelong Thubten, and many others.
By signing up for a free account, you can access the first few lessons of quests with them for free. Additionally, along your self-awareness journey, you will connect with a global community of people aspiring to meet goals similar to yours.