Becoming more self-aware is the first step in many aspects of personal growth. What are the benefits of self-awareness? How do you start becoming more observant of yourself? You can’t fix a problem that you don’t know exists. That’s where the benefits of self-awareness come in – it allows you to see yourself more clearly. As a result, you can use that as a starting point for many parts of your personal growth journey.
What happens when you become self-aware?
Among the benefits of becoming more self-aware are:
- becoming more satisfied with your job
- being able to better manage your emotions
- better leadership skills
- improved relationships
- Higher levels of happiness
- more creativity
- better communication
- better decision-making skills
- more confidence
- more likely to make better choices
Self-awareness is so impactful and beneficial, it’s one of the first things that I cover in my course, Questing for Contentment.
What are the Two Types of Self Awareness?
According to the Harvard Business Review, there are two main types of self-awareness in psychology.
As the name implies, internal self-awareness is how aware we are of what’s going on inside us. This includes our thoughts, feelings, and how we perceive ourselves. It also encompasses how well we know our own strengths, weaknesses, core values, priorities, passions, and desires.
When we have high internal self-awareness, we understand how we affect the environment and those around us. High internal self-awareness makes us happier and more satisfied. It also helps to combat anxiety, stress, and depression.
External Self Awareness
External self-awareness has more to do with being aware of how other people see us. This includes how others see our strengths, weaknesses, values, passions, and aspirations. When a person has high external self-awareness, they are better at seeing other people’s perspectives and showing empathy. This greatly increases their effectiveness in leadership positions because this practice strengthens relationships.
How does self-awareness lead to success?
It’s easy to see how high self-awareness in both areas can benefit you in the workplace. When you are aware of your own values and passions you better align your skills with them. Additionally, the ability to see yourself accurately allows you to detect and fix mistakes more quickly. You can also maintain better working relationships with colleges through empathy.
What are the Disadvantages to Self-Awareness?
According to research done by the Myers-Briggs company on self-awareness, the biggest disadvantage of self awareness is overthinking and over analyzing. Another possible disadvantage to increased self-awareness is that some might find that they have over-inflated opinions of themselves. They might find others do not perceive them as awesome as they view themselves. (My husband and I refer to this as “over-estimating your coolness.”)
Some sources cite that 99% of people believe they are self-aware, but only 10% to 15% actually are.
What are the Characteristics of Self-Awareness ?
If you want to reap the benefits of self-awareness, you also need to know the characteristics of self awareness. People that are self-aware have the following characteristics.
- Wisdom – When a person actively works to understand themselves and applies the knowledge to their every day life, they make a habit of continual learning.
- Honesty – A person that is self aware does not sell themselves short, but they also do not have an over-inflated view of themselves either.
- Confidence – Self aware people want honest feedback from others because it keeps them more aware of how they are coming across and how they are doing. They already know their strengths and weaknesses and have come to grips with it, making them confident and secure in themselves.
- Humility– A self aware person knows that they have shortcomings. They realize they need help from other people to help bolster their own shortcomings. They do not mind sharing the spotlight and lifting others up.
How do you tell if you are self aware?
There are many ways to tell if you are self-aware, but they all take some self- reflection. Here are a few:
- Ability to take a step back from your emotions and respond instead of react. You can remain calm.
- Over-analyzing how you come across to others and how your statements and reactions sound.
- Not pretending to know everything and being aware that you are not the expert on everything.
- Seeking honest feedback from others and not getting defensive when someone points out something that could be done better.
- Maintaining a growth mindset and realizing that failures along the way are part of the learning process.
- Knowing and staying true to your passions, priorities, and core values.
- Understanding your own blind spots and areas where you don’t see yourself clearly.
How does self awareness affect others?
Your level of self-awareness has a huge effect on others. It impacts how you treat them and how valued they feel. This, in turn, influences what they think of you and how they respond. When you have a high level of self-awareness, you are honest and knowledgeable but don’t act like you know everything. You ask for feedback and respond with empathy.
It allows each team member to feel valued and understood. Hence, they work better together. Much of self awareness involves being kind to others as well as being honest and sincere.
Related: What good is kindness anyway?
10 Benefits of Self Awareness:
1. More Empathy Toward Others
More empathy toward others is one of the most important benefits of self-awareness. When you have the skill of being more empathic, it enables you to build better relationships. We have a universal need as people to be understood and want our feelings validated. Most often, we need this the most when we are upset before we can listen to a different point of view or a more logical explanation.
2. Better Listening Skills
Active listening is a skill that is growing more and more scarce. The good news is that when you start practicing active listening it makes a positive impression. This a good illustration of the importance of self-awareness because it allows you to build authentic relationships. Better listening skills are a characteristic of self-awareness as well as a benefit.
3. Improved Critical Thinking Skills
To start becoming self-aware, you have to think and reflect honestly on yourself and your actions. You have to do a great deal of analyzing and separating yourself from you emotions to come up with an objective picture. All these excersices improve your critical thinking skills, which you can apply to many other areas of your life.
4. Improved Decision Making
When you realize how you come across to others and you know yourself as well as take the time to listen to others, plus add in better critical thinking skills, it improves your decision making skills as well. This is a huge benefit of self awareness. When your decisions are better, your life is better as well.
5. Better Leadership Abilities
Who would not want a boss that makes good decisions, listen to his/her employees with empathy, and has great critical thinking and problem-solving skills? These are all benefits of self-awareness that boost leadership abilities. They are the leaders that people want to follow and work for.
6. More Self-Control
More self-awareness also involves being able to name your emotions, but not necessarily react to them. It involves learning to separate yourself from them. This leads to being able to think past your initial reactions. Consequently, you can respond instead of reacting when you get mad, demonstrating more self-control.
7. Increased Creativity
Though you might not think of increased creativity as a benefit of self-awareness in the workplace, it can be. Problems will inevitably come up that require creative solutions. This can also be a personal benefit of self-awareness because it will allow you more personal satisfaction when you can practice a creative hobby and feel like you produce a quality result.
8. Increased Ability to Change Habits
When you develop the skills of being able to analyze the effects of what you are doing, you also develop an increased ability to change your habits. This goes back to knowing the “why” behind what you are doing. When you have an underlying big reason to change, it’s much easier to implement that change.
- Related: 10 Simple Habits to Improve Daily Life
- Top Products to Help You Develop Good Personal Habits
- Benefits of Self-Love and How to Develop It
9. Higher Self-Esteem
Higher self-esteem is another benefit of self-awareness. It’s a natural product of confidence, which self-awareness breeds. You know yourself and come to grips with your strengths and weaknesses. You don’t sell your self short, but don’t oversell either. It’s a nice happy medium. You adopt a growth mindset and realize that failures are just stepping stones to success. This allows you to have an incredible amount of persistence and belief in yourself. Hence, you also feel better about yourself as well.
10. Better Overall Perspective
When you take the time to analyze all the different facets of a problem, you come at it with increased critical thinking skills and creativity, plus take into account the viewpoints of others because you practiced active listening with empathy, you get a better overall perspective. You have gathered a tremendous amount of information from various sources and have confidence in yourself and in your team. This is a huge benefit of self-awareness for both you and all the people around you.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About the Benefits of Self Awareness
There are many benefits of self-awareness. It helps you have more empathy for others and enables you to be a better listener. This, in turn, helps to build up your relationship with others. When you cultivate self-awareness, you need feedback from others and you realize your own strengths and weaknesses. All the feedback and reflection gives you a better overall perspective, more self-confidence, and self-esteem, and boosts your critical thinking and creative abilities. It also enables you to change your habits more easily, make better decisions and have more self-control. All these things boost your leadership ability and make you a person that others want to work for and follow because they feel valued and appreciated.
What are the benefits of self-awareness for you? Leave me a comment below!