In today's fast paced world of busy schedules and endless rushing, it's easy to find yourself running on automatic. As soon as you clear one thing off your plate, something else needs your attention. With so much going on, the notion of slowing down and taking time to develop self-awareness can feel daunting; it might even seem like a waste of time
But self-awareness is the very skill you need to help you navigate your way in the midst of all the confusion and chaos.
To be self-aware is to be knowledgeable of, and attuned to, one's inner being. Who are you? What are your core values? What are your core beliefs? Why do you do the things you do? The more clearly and authentically you can answer these questions, the better you'll become at prioritizing what's important and eliminating what's unneeded. Without self-awareness, you run the risk of living a life filled with activity, but lacking in deep meaning and genuine fulfillment.
Use the follow steps to nurture and build your own self-awareness.
Stop: for a few moments, stop whatever it is that's keeping you busy and distracted. When you're not actively occupied, you make room for your mind to reflect, and you can start to see things that have been hiding in plain sight.
Search: expend the energy to dig a little bit within yourself. Ask yourself questions, and then answer those questions honestly. Write things out in a journal for added clarity; you'll get to know yourself better as a result.
Solitude: throughout the centuries, across cultures, there has always been a link between solitude and self-awareness. All the wise sages of the world had this in common. You don't need to cut yourself off from people entirely, but there's something very powerful about taking some time to simply be with yourself and experience your own company.
Silence: do you need to have the TV or some other noise playing in the background at all times? The vast majority of people are accustomed to being surrounded by noise—so much so, that the notion of silence can be intimidating. But a little bit of silence can do wonders, allowing you to tune in and "hear" your own inner voice more distinctly.
Synthesis: what are the patterns and common themes that run across your life? What can you extract from your past that's relevant in the present? How do the lessons and principles from one aspect of your life apply to another? The ability to consolidate and synthesize across different areas of your life can be a great source of insight, enabling you to understand yourself much better.
Increased self-awareness won't eliminate all the challenges in your life. But it will provide you with valuable knowledge, so you're better equipped to move through life in a focused and meaningful way. You'll start making wiser decisions that yield better results in both the short and long term. And you'll bring more success into your life, since you'll be able to assess what's best for you, rather than being swept along by external forces and pressures.
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