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  • Writer's pictureDr. Pamela Davis

Deepening Your Self Awareness

If you had asked me three years ago if I was fully aware, I would have probably said yes. Even now with the deepened awareness that I have gained, there is so much I am discovering about myself everyday.

Awareness is having knowledge of something; an understanding of something. Usually with this knowledge, you are able to make better decisions, choices, and manage your emotions. Self-awareness then, is an understanding or knowledge of one's self. This requires that you are objective enough to properly evaluate yourself. The truth of the matter is, that each day gives us an opportunity to become more aware of ourselves.

In 2018, I began reflecting on my own awareness. Initially I began thinking about my strengths - what is that I do well? What am I good at? This then evolved into thinking about my weaknesses and struggles. I did further research about reflection and expanded my reflection to include thinking about my triggers and blind spots. It helped me to categorize my reflections in these buckets. Through this process, I was able to capture an understanding of the emotions that came with each category. My awareness expanded thereby giving me insight on how I respond in certain situations. When I am operating in my strengths, quite naturally, I am more confident. My weakness brought about a different emotion. The key is to increase your awareness in a way that does not negatively impact you or those around you. I am not athletic at all, however everyone else in my family IS. Of course, they like engaging in physical activities. This is weak area for me, so I usually steer clear. Not only is it a weak area for me, I do not do well with the advice that my athletic family members give, because it does not work for me. I shut down. This is my modus operandi - when it comes to pushing through a weakness, I tend to shut down. Now that I have processed this trend about myself, I am able to identify when it is happening. My goal has become to press through the weakness; off set it. Although I do not meet the goal every time, the awareness is there and it strengthens this weak area more each time.

Triggers sometimes catch us off guard. Whether it is someone cutting you off in traffic; a co-worker leaving the copy machine jammed; or someone who makes insensitive comments. The key is to consciously be in tune with yourself so that in those moments that you become set off, you can begin making a list. Compare whether the list has anything in common. How are you responding to the triggers? What does it take for you to calm down? Thinking about these scenarios for past situations is a great start, but consciously charting them will make a powerful impact on how you take control.

Discovering your blind spots will require you to reach out to the people you trust and interact with. My car has a sensor on the side view mirror that tells me when a car is approaching or in the path of my blind spot. The sensor lights up and stays lit until the car is safely out of my blind spot and it is safe for me to change lanes. Once you become aware of your blind spots, this new insight will serve as a sensor for you. You will be able to recognize the presence of your blind spot and make adjustments that shape the outcome favorably.

To deepen your awareness, reflect. Ask the big questions - who am I? Why am I here? What are my strengths? Weaknesses? Triggers and blind spots? Then, answer the big questions. Experiences and reflection will help you do this. Once you answer the big questions, the next step is to do the hard work - adjust your behavior.

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