Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the first pillar of emotional intelligence. Self-awareness refers to your ability to identify your own emotions, strengths, weaknesses and behavioral patterns. Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. In fact, the remaining 3 components of emotional intelligence all hinge upon the ability to be self-aware.
Laura Wilcox, former director of management programs at Harvard Extension School explains:
The core of high EI is self-awareness: if you don’t understand your own motivations and behaviors, it’s nearly impossible to develop an understanding of others.

Cultivating self-awareness increases your ability to understand your own emotional and behavioral landscape, in turn making it easier to understand the
emotions and behaviors of others.
Self-awareness also gives you a better perspective to identify the traits that serve you well and the traits that don’t serve you at all. You can modify your behavior for the better if you can identify your own bad habits and catch yourself when you’re doing them. So, in addition to creating the foundation for EQ, self-awareness is also the foundation for self-improvement.
How can you cultivate a stronger sense of self-awareness?
Bill George, the author of Finding Your True North and Psychology Today contributor, suggests developing a habit of daily self-reflection.
Self-reflection can come in a number of forms. Meditation, journaling, yoga, prayer… even a thoughtful walk or jog can provide you with the opportunity to know yourself better.
Harvard Business Review’s Anthony K. Tjan suggests spending some time with the following questions:
• What am I trying to achieve?
• What am I doing that is working?
• What am I doing that is slowing me down?
• What can I do to change?
You can also simply observe your emotions as you experience them, accepting them without judgment. Emotions are not inherently good or bad. But an awareness of your emotional state can help you to make informed decisions about how you choose to behave toward yourself and others.
And although the journey to self-awareness always starts with the self, it’s also a good idea to seek outside perspectives. Many times we are too close to our behavior to see or understand it. Bill George reflects,
We all have traits that others see, but we are unable to see in ourselves. We call these “blind spots.”
Asking close friends or family for honest feedback about your blind spots may help you learn something about yourself that you couldn’t otherwise see. Just be prepared to receive their answers with humility and grace – some truths are uncomfortable.
How To Cultivate Self-Awareness:
• Develop a daily self-reflection practice.
• Ask peers for feedback about your blind spots.
• Be prepared to face some uncomfortable truths.

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