self-awareness is essentially the ability to recognize your own emotions and to notice what’s going on in your body in a way that can allow you to be aware of what you’re feeling at any given time. so one of the reasons that self-awareness is so important, especially for people on the spectrum, is that self-awareness is the ability to honestly know yourself better than anyone else knows you, so you seem to function a little bit differently to the people around you and having self-awareness allows you to confidently say I know what’s going on for me, even when it doesn’t look like that on the outside.
self-awareness is the difference between feeling bad and feeling overwhelmed, and having no idea what’s going on. or why I’m like this and being really confused and powerless in the situation, compared to I’m still feeling really bad, but I know what’s happening and I’ve felt this feeling before. and it’s okay because I know what to do to get out of this situation or I know how to respond to it. so that’s why self-awareness is such an important skill and in terms of emotional intelligence. it’s it’s the one skill that all of the other skills are based on, so they all rely on getting this right.
3 Ways To Improve Your Self-Awareness
the three ways I’ll be sharing today of how to improve your self-awareness are: paying attention especially to your body, learning how to name what you feel and recording what you notice, so when I say pay attention what it means is just noticing the physical sensations in your body, so if I’m going to do that right now I will notice that I feel a little bit full in my stomach because I probably had too much lunch, etc..
you know little things like that might be something as simple as they sound, my fingers are cold, my elbow hurts because I smashed it against the wall by accident yesterday, and this paying attention to the body is the first step towards just noticing what’s going on, we can sometimes tell when other people are emotional right like if someone’s happy or someone sad, if a baby’s crying you can clearly see that something’s wrong, and because of what I see so when the only way I’m going to know that something is happening for me is if I’d notice the feeling, and then once I noticed that feeling then I can start to try and put a name to it.
and the purpose of putting a name to it is to start recognizing when feelings are familiar. so I might so I might start off with the description or maybe my stomach’s churning a little bit, I’m not really sure what that means, and then eventually I’ll just label that as hunger, and then every time that I feel that I can give it a name, saying oh I’m feeling hungry.
again today I felt hungry this time yesterday maybe it’s because I haven’t had lunch yet. so a good way to start naming is to just describe the sensation that you’re paying attention to, and then start to put a word to it that means something to you, so this word doesn’t need to be something that someone else would understand, I could say I’m feeling climby today and yes I made up a word, so long as I know what that means and so long as I can recognize the physical sensations that I am calling that word, then I’m going to recognize this every time it happens to me.
the reason I’m emphasizing this personal meaning to the name is because we don’t necessarily need to use words, you could use drawings, you could use music, you could use sounds, you could use actions, you could use anything that you want that is kind of like a unique identifier, literally a name that you associate with whatever you’re feeling in your body.
by recording that everyday, which is my third suggestion, you are kind of doing two things, the first one is just practicing paying attention and giving it a name, because you have to do these things in order to write down whatever the name is, maybe it’s a picture or a piece of music or something like that.
the second thing that you’re doing is creating a habit of doing this on a regular basis, but you’re also creating a record that can help you to remember later, so every day this week I’ve felt a certain thing and it helps to try and understand why you’re feeling this way.
Emotional intelligence is a self-regulation, so once I know what I’m feeling I can start to ask the next question of why am I feeling it? and therefore what can I do about feeling something different or managing it in a better way.
so that’s been a quick summary of why self-awareness is important and three ways to improve self-awareness obviously I can only really scratch the surface in a couple of minutes, if you can to go deeper and work on improving your own self-awareness skills, read more here