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Self Awareness : How to be self aware and why ?

Self-awareness refers to the ability to recognize and understand one’s own thoughts, emotions, and actions. Simply put, it means being aware of one’s own mental states and being able to reflect on them. 

It increases our capacity to understand our own thoughts and feelings in the moment. Self awareness is a practice of mindful self-reflection, allowing us to be more in touch with ourselves and our reality.Being self aware helps us  identify our needs and desires, as well as our strengths and weaknesses. 

Self Awareness makes us Humans

This ability is one of the key characteristics that sets humans apart from other animals, and is critical for complex cognitive processes such as decision making, problem solving, and social interaction. 

That is why humans can act, observe, reflect, analyse, improve, and act again. This is exactly how frameworks that guide our actions are created in our minds. And these frameworks differ from individual to individual, which makes them react differently to the same stimulus. On the other hand, most animals would react in the same manner to a stimulus.

It is self awareness that makes us humans.

Two types of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness can be divided into two types:

External self-awareness 

It refers to being aware of one’s own body and physical appearance, and how one is perceived by others. 

By being externally self aware, you learn to communicate better with others, and adopt healthy practices that keep you in better form and shape. It can also help you quit bad habits and adopt good ones.

The basic nature of mind is to move outwards. But with practice, you can turn your mind inwards and observe yourself. It helps you gain access to your deepest desires, fears, ambitions, and allows you to work on them to increase your happiness

That brings us to Internal Self Awareness.

Internal self-awareness  

It refers to being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings, and mental states. This includes being aware of one’s own biases, beliefs, and self-concept.

A human being is a citizen of two worlds, and he or she has to develop the ability to have access to both without any confusion. Clarity of mind comes if you have learned to direct your mind according to your desire and goal.

The world within and the world without are two entirely separate realities. The external world dissipates energy, but the internal world showers blessings that fill the vacuum created by the world.

Citizen of Two worlds, Swami Rama

Let’s now look at some of the benefits of becoming self aware. 

Benefits of Becoming Self Aware

1. Improved Mental Health: 

Self awareness is essential for mental health and well-being. When we understand our thoughts and feelings, we can better manage them, leading to improved mental health.

2. Increased Clarity: 

Self awareness gives us clarity on our thoughts and feelings, helping us make better decisions.

3. Enhanced Self-Worth: 

Self awareness helps us recognize our strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to accept ourselves for who we are. This reduces feelings of comparisons with others, and therefore makes it easy for you to work better in the moment.

4. Better Relationships: 

When we become self aware, we can better understand the needs and emotions of others, leading to improved relationships.

5. Increased Resilience: 

Self awareness helps us recognize our triggers and emotions, making us more resilient and able to cope with life’s challenges.

How to build and practise self awareness

1. Meditation: 

Meditation is a powerful tool for developing self awareness. It allows us to connect with our inner world, observe our thoughts and feelings, and gain clarity.

2. Keeping a Journal: 

Writing down our thoughts and feelings can help us become more self aware. It provides an opportunity to reflect on our experiences and gain insight into ourselves.

3. Practicing Mindfulness: 

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and observing our thoughts and feelings without judgment. It can help us become more self aware and better manage our emotions.

4. Practicing Self-Reflection: 

Self-reflection is the practice of reflecting on our experiences and learning from them. It can help us gain a better understanding of ourselves and our motivations.

Challenges to Becoming Self Aware

1. Fear of the Unknown: 

Becoming self aware can be scary, as it involves facing the unknown hidden fears within us. 

2. Lack of Self-Love and Compassion: 

It can be difficult to become self aware if we lack self-love and self-compassion. With over-indulgent behaviour towards stuff like alcohol, cigarettes, unhealthy food, it is difficult to become self aware. 

Once you start getting rid of such habits, their abrasive effects on body and mind slowly decrease, and you automatically will start adopting healthy patterns.

3. Emotional Blindspots:

We may have blindspots when it comes to our emotions, which can make it difficult to recognize and process our feelings.

In this case, it is better to take guidance and support from practitioners, or experts. Open minded psychologists, and seasoned meditation practitioners and gurus can help you open some of your blindspots by applying scientific techniques. 

However, you need to choose your guide with caution. A person who is himself self aware can only be worthy of guiding others. 

It may require you to make some efforts and changes in your current lifestyle to move towards self awareness. However, the fruits of being self-aware are worth the effort.

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