Updated: Mar 23
Have you ever felt like... lost? not being able to observe yourself from the outside but instead, getting caught into a spiral of thoughts? or feeling stuck in your personal growth?
When I look back, I realize how much my monkey mind dictated my life. Overthinking, for example, killed many of the opportunities I could have had - like personal relationships.
However, through the yoga practice, I managed to shut down the monkey mind and to step outside, observe and take decisions accordingly. In today's post we are going to walk through 5 steps you can follow to get you started in your self-awareness journey.
Self-awareness is the ability to objectively observe your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Through self-awareness we understand how these three elements affect our lives and the lives of those around us. It is a key component of personal growth and development. And it is not easy, it is a process - but a beautiful process that will allow you to learn more about yourself, who you are, how you react to events, to people... and to life overall.
From my own personal experience but also as a yoga teacher and mindfulness advocate, I have discovered that the following 5 steps are relevant to cultivate self-awareness. They are easy to follow, as long as you also learn not to put pressure on yourself. We need to be patient and accept that many things, specially changes, take time in life.
1. Listen to your Thoughts and Emotions
Stop and listen to yourself. Throughout the day, try to make a conscious effort to notice what you're thinking and feeling. Observe these thoughts and emotions without judgment. By simply becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions, you can start to gain insight into your behavior. You start to understand why you react in the way you do to certain behaviours. In this way, you can also discover the root cause for behavioural patterns you may not be happy with.. for example, why do you yell at your partner when they are asking a simple question?
See an example of my own self-awareness journey in this article I shared about a negative event that happened to me a couple of years ago.
2. Take time to Reflect on the past
The past can teach us so many things... believe it or not, if you take time to reflect on your experiences, you will be surprised about how much you can learn from them. One way to practice is:
1. Ask yourself what you learned today, yesterday or in a key life event from the past.
2. Then ask yourself: what did I learn from that day? what could I have done differently?
3. Note it down if you need to.
Reflecting on your experiences can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your behaviours. At the end of the day, the person we are in the present has been shaped by our past.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment. By practicing mindfulness, you can cultivate a greater awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. The three elements we want to objectively observe through self-awareness. There are many tools you can use to cultivate a mindfulness practice, like yoga, having breaks between meetings and saying no.
4. Give and receive Feedback
Be open to give feedback to others, but also to get feedback from others. Ask people you trust to give you honest feedback about yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses. This can help you gain a more objective view of yourself and be an opportunity for you to grow.
In the same way that giving feedback to others will help you to grow. You will learn to navigate through emotions and words that, sometimes, are difficult to articulate. Giving feedback helps us being more mindful about the words we pick when talking to others.
5. Start Journaling
Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help you gain clarity and insight into yourself. Try to write in a journal every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. Write about your true thoughts, emotions, and experiences of the day. This can help you identify patterns in your behavior and gain a deeper understanding of yourself. Knowing who we are, who we truly are, is also key develop self-awareness and find growth opportunities in life.
Remember, self-awareness is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and practice to develop this skill. Be patient and kind to yourself, avoid negative thinking and self judgement. Stop the self sabotage. And you will see how you go developing also deeper self-love too!
In conclusion, self-awareness is an ongoing process that requires time and effort. Start today following these steps, and if you have questions, feel free to comment below. With time and practice, we are all able to live a more fulfilling life. But this does not come overnight, it is a work we need to put together for ourselves.
Often people ask me why I am joyful, and I know one of the secret ingredients of my joy is self-awareness. I am able to observe myself from the outside, and recognise what does well to me, and what does not do well... But, changing those factors that are rather negative is another story for another blog post ;-)