Self-awareness also known as a practice called self-assessment or as Guruji Mahendra Trivedi calls it as Chintan. This practice is a key for growth in our lives. Having self-awareness means that you have knowledge of yourself. You understand your habits, likes, dislikes, the way you view the world, and your needs. You know what you want in life and understand your emotional responses. Socrates’ famous quote “know thyself” is a directive to develop self-awareness.
Having self-awareness doesn’t solve your challenges in life, but it gives you an accurate starting point and allows you to develop a game plan for solutions.
Self-awareness takes time to develop, but the benefits are well worth the effort as the answers become clear through the process.
Here are a few methods you can use to develop greater self-awareness:
1. Keep a journal. This is a powerful tool for learning about yourself. Spend 15 minutes each evening recording your life. List the meaningful things that happened that day. Include your challenges and what you think caused them.
● What did you do well?
● What did you do poorly?
● What changes do you want to make? How will you make those changes?
2. Review your past and current relationships.
● Why did your past relationships end? Review your romantic and platonic relationships that didn’t work out. Why did they fail?
● Now, consider your current relationships. What challenges do they face? What do you bring to each relationship, positive and negative? What qualities do you like in a friend or partner? What qualities do you avoid? Why?
3. What are your biggest regrets? Where do you think you made poor decisions in your lifetime? Why did you choose what you chose? Why do you think these are regrets in the first place? What changes would you make if you could go back in time?
4. Which challenges in your life are constant? Most of us have a struggle that persists. It might be our weight, finances, loneliness, depression, or a pervasive lack of satisfaction.
● The issues that persist in your life are important to understand. You have the power to change nearly anything, so why does that one challenge in your life always seem to hang around?
5. Meditate. Meditation gives you the opportunity to observe your thoughts without judgement. You can learn a lot about yourself by the thoughts that pop up in your mind. Meditation allows you to learn how to create space between your thoughts and your emotions.
6. View your life through the eyes of someone else. Imagine you were an invisible stranger that observed your life for a week. What would you think? What advice would you have for yourself? What does the way you spend your time say about you?
7. Think about how you deal with stress. How do you handle stress? Do you eat, drink alcohol, get sleepy, become grumpy, watch TV? How do you treat others when you’re stressed? What challenges have you caused for yourself by dealing with stress poorly?
8. Ask your friends for feedback. Ask your friends to describe you. Ask them to list your strengths and weaknesses. Plead with them to be honest.
9. List your goals, values, and priorities. What do you want to accomplish? What life do you want to live? What is important to you? If your life were perfect, what would your day look like?
If there was just one thing you did each day Guruji strongly recommends the practice of Chintan which is a process of self- review which is a daily practice when you lie down just before you fall asleep every night. It is the review of what you accomplished in that day assessing yourself and decisions you made. Other questions you can ask is what could I have done differently? What did I learn from this experience? What did I accomplish today? Then progressively go back to yesterday and the week before and continue until you go back as far as you can after birth and do this life review. The key is to always bring it to you and to never blame or judge another person because our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. What another person does reflects themselves. It is their experience, their perception of that experience which has nothing to do with your perception of your own experience.
Self-awareness is one of the most important things you can possess. The key to enhancing your life is grounded in self-awareness. Self-awareness is important to setting goals and creating the life you would most enjoy.
Without self-awareness, you’re doomed to repeat your mistakes for the rest of your life.
Many times, we find ourselves assessing others and trying to figure out what makes a friend or family member tick. Sometimes we find it easier putting our attention on others instead of ourselves because it’s much more challenging to develop the same understanding of ourselves. With this self-realization and the knowing that we spend so much time with ourselves, it would be a shame not to have a high degree of understanding of ourselves.