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How to improve self awareness

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self awareness
Self awareness entails acknowledging the good, the bad AND the ugly
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Learn how to improve self awareness and become more attuned to your feelings

"Slow down, you move too fast. You've gotta make the moment last ..."

Yes, of course, you know what the word 'aware' means. That's elementary. You are aware it is raining. You are aware you have a headache. You are aware your teenage daughter is a pain in the butt. But are you self-aware?

If an individual isn't self-aware, he continues doing things, engaging in certain behaviors, that are  negative and even self-destructive. How to improve self-awareness? You first have to know what it is before you can attain it.

What is self-awareness? It is possessing an unambiguous observation of your own personality, including the strong and weak points, your emotions, motivations and beliefs. When possessing self-alertness, a person relates better to others and understands why they comprehend him and his responses and attitudes as they do.

An individual achieves heightened awareness through practice or in dire situations, such as when when he experiences the 'fight or flight' response.

For example, when a person is chased by a lion he has keen attentiveness and reacts quicker than normal and certainly runs faster than he thought possible, all the while noticing details as if they were occurring in slow motion. He never forgets the time he was chased by a lion and can recall vivid details about the event.

Naturally, no one wants to achieve heightened acuity as a result of being chased by a lion (although it happens and that's a good thing because it saves lives) but a person can develop better consciousness in non-perilous times by paying more attention to what he is doing and saying and why. This is something one should strive for on a daily basis and not just in moments of high angst. Self-attentiveness should become second nature.

How often do you really pay attention to what you are doing or say and how it's affecting others? If the answer is rarely, you desperately need to improve self-alertness.

One of the biggest mistakes people make: Being too busy, constantly on the go and in action at all times, whereas taking time to be still is the greatest gift one can give to oneself. When still, the unknown becomes the known. Learning to breathe properly, awareness of breath and learning to embrace solitude and silence is key to improving self-perception.

In your quest for heightened consciousness, learn to be quiet. Observe silence for 30 minutes prior to going to sleep. Spend time alone and enjoy it. Turn off the TV and the computer. Quit tweeting and texting. Practice non-expectation. Slow down.

The Opposite

Those who are chronically obtuse, oblivious, self-absorbed and blatantly NOT self-aware go through life hurting others and themselves, but never taking responsibility for their actions. This person isn't going to be at the top of anyone's guest list because he hurts feelings without thinking twice and never apologizes.


On the other hand, the self-aware person considers the feelings of others before saying or doing something. When he screws up, he recognizes it, apologizes and tries not to make the same mistake in the future.

The self-aware person has good emotional intelligence (EI). He understands other people and what motivates them. He possesses empathy, understanding and can negotiate.

Self-alertness is a critical part of EI. When self-attentive, a person recognizes an emotion as it is happening and not after the fact or never. The self-attuned person knows how his emotions affect others. He learns to self regulate and manages disruptive impulses. He takes responsibility for his actions (conscientiousness), is adaptable and maintains standards.

The person with high EI becomes skilled at understanding the feelings behind the signals others are giving him as well as the signals he is sending. He learns to bolster others by issuing positive signals.

When a person learns to focus his attention, as well as his reactions, emotions and behavior, this impacts the direction his life takes. It's no longer a random toss of the dice. The person is not leaving his fate up to chance.

He learns to examine his behavior and thoughts, recognizing which behaviors and thoughts are positive and which are destructive.

It is impossible to make positive changes in your life if you are not aware of why you are doing and saying things. If you ask someone, "Why did you do that?" and he answers, "I don't know," that indicates lack of self-alertness.

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