MEN&WOMEN: Self-awareness key to a happier, healthy you - Daily Nation

MEN&WOMEN: Self-awareness key to a happier, healthy you

Sunday July 15 2018

Self-awareness only works if you’re honest with yourself. Developing an honest self-awareness is the first step toward creating a better life. ILLUSTRATION | FILE

Self-awareness only works if you’re honest with yourself. Developing an honest self-awareness is the first step toward creating a better life. ILLUSTRATION | FILE 

By CHRIS HART
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Do you have a bad temper? Or perhaps you’re dissatisfied with what you’ve achieved in life? Or maybe you want to get married, but can’t seem to find someone who’s right for you?

Such problems are caused by the same thing — not understanding yourself well enough. You solve them by increasing your self-awareness, because life’s challenges are all harder if you aren’t self-aware. And yet it’s never taught in school!

Awareness is how you pay attention to and process the things happening around you. Self-awareness means focusing that awareness on yourself so that you consciously observe your feelings, sensations, habits, behaviours and thoughts.

Self-awareness only works if you’re honest with yourself. Recognising the reality of your behaviour and not the story you tell yourself. Like telling yourself you’re super punctual, when in reality you’re always late! Facing the reality of your behaviour means you can start improving it.

So developing an honest self-awareness is the first step toward creating a better life. And that starts with becoming more conscious of your emotions.

Few of us really are. We act like our emotions are something that just happen. But they’re not. Understand your feelings better by tracking your moods for a while. It’s also worth thinking more about your background, preferences, interests, beliefs and values. Because the more you understand them, the better you’ll understand what drives your emotions.

And that’s really useful when choosing a spouse! Because people who understand themselves form more successful relationships. Knowing what drives you also means that you’ll be better at understanding another person’s behaviour, and becoming closer to them.

Our emotions also reveal our values. Despite which society says we should rely purely on rational thinking when making decisions. But exploring how you feel about an issue means that the decisions you take will reflect your principles.

As you become better at analysing your emotions, you’ll also begin to see what triggers them. Which means that you can learn to control them. Because it’s actually very difficult to control an emotion directly - think how hard it is to calm down when you’re angry. But managing or avoiding your triggers is much easier, and means you can influence what mood you’re in.

Self-awareness also means being aware of your negative thought patterns. Like challenging a tendency to exaggerate, or jump to the wrong conclusions.

Self-awareness also brings a keener sense of reality. You become comfortable with yourself. Hold independent opinions rather than being what others want you to be. No longer susceptible to social pressures, you also start to value individual and ethnic differences more.

Self-aware people also know that success isn’t about status, money or possessions. Success is being able to do whatever you want. Which means developing good self-awareness is one of the key steps we take as we move through life. Not everyone gets there. But for those who do, it changes everything.

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