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Having worked in retail for many years, there were plenty of times where I felt like I didn’t understand someone.
And I mean that about both my customers, and the people I worked with.
When you are around people all day, it can take a toll.
People go into stores to relax, when they are in a bad mood, to escape, to get things they need even though they didn’t want to leave the house…
I learned that I needed to develop self awareness not only to know myself better, but to better understand those around me.
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I kind of stumbled upon self awareness by accident.
This was when I was working at Sprouts Farmers Market as a Vitamin clerk.
On my breaks on would write.
I had lot’s of great ideas for my book (which was being written by hand at the time in a spiral bound notebook), but life certainly is the best teacher.
Someone I worked with was having a rough day, and after talking with them,
I just. Felt. Done.
They didn’t mean to pass their bad mood on to me (at least I hope not), and I kind of stewed over their words for the next hour or so.
And then it hit me.
I get to choose how I am affected, and my own reactions.
This is when I started delving into mindfulness, and the art of self awareness.
Benefits of being self aware
- Being in tune with your own feelings, behavior and emotions
- Be able to recognize areas that you can improve in
- Be more aware of the feelings of others
- Confidence in your own skin
- Being more confident in getting what you want out of life
There are two types of Self Awareness
Internal Self Awareness
When thinking about Internal self awareness, we have to search inside.
It’s all about:
Thoughts and aspirations,
and how clearly we understand these things about ourselves.
Internal self awareness for example:
Is knowing that you need to change your degree, because you would rather teach Art than have a Bachelors in Science.
Knowing not to converse with certain people at work, because you have a moral conflict about gossip.
Knowing that you need to take a bath at the end of the night in order to be present with your family the next day.
Internal self awareness is about knowing yourself, your needs, and the standards you uphold.
It also means knowing your own strengths & weaknesses
Being able to see your own strengths and weaknesses can help you avoid temptation, and have greater success in life.
External Self Awareness
External self awareness on the other hand, is about empathy, and being able to know the effect you have on those around you.
Whether you are the Manager of your Department at work, a Teacher, a Cashier or a stay at home mom, you have an effect on others.
Eternal self awareness is:
Knowing how you tone affects the feelings of your children or spouse,
the way your actions at work affect the people you are working with,
or how your decisions are seen by the people working for you.
External self awareness is understanding how others see us because of our actions.
People with good external self awareness make good leaders.
This is because they can see how the people they are leading see them, and can better empathize with them.
How to develop self awareness
The Four Self Awareness Archetypes
This map is something I found on the Harvard Business Review website, and I found it extremely helpful to better understanding Self Awareness.
I feel like everyone goes through these patterns in life.
Being Self Aware, (the dark blue box) is something I definitely want to strive to be, especially after seeing this chart.
The other three charts (Introspectors, Seekers and Pleasers) are less confident, and unsure.
This is a good example of why Self Awareness helps us to build confidence!
Ask “What” instead of “Why” questions
Most of the time when we are feeling down, we ask ourselves “Why” based questions.
“Why do I feel like this?”
“Why did this happen to me?”
or “Why am I stuck here?”
This kind of attitude makes us the victim of our own lives.
Asking “why” can often make us feel even worse than we did before. Many times, there is no “reason” why things happen.
Instead of asking “why?”, try asking “what?”.
“What can I do to feel better?”
“What can I do to navigate these circumstances?”
and “What is something I can do to move forward with life?”
These “what” based questions give you power back in your life. They are proactive, and look for a solution rather than an answer.
Confident, Self Aware people try to fix their current situation, rather than dwell on things they cannot change anymore.