The first time I heard about self-awareness was from my parents and then my significant other, the concept had fascinated me because I always thought about self-improvement and how I could better my life and well-being. I then decided to do some research of my own into better understanding myself and came across a fascinating journey that I wanted to share with you – especially now vis-a-vis COVID where your own emotions and those of others in face of uncertainty become apparent now more than ever. To get to know me and my journey personally, follow me on Instagram or to get to know me professionally and what I am passionate about, see my website.
Firstly, let’s discuss the definition of self-awareness.
What is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself objectively through introspection, i.e., it’s your ability to self-analyze objectively (Duval & Wicklund, 1972). Separating oneself from your own thoughts and actions helps us in order to try to objectively analyze whether we are acting in accordance with our own values, as we would judge others, or are we biased towards ourselves. In turn, this helps us maintain self-control, i.e., how we choose to respond to our own emotions and external situations. Below, I will discuss three examples of why self-awareness when we face uncertainty, like COVID, is more important now than ever –
- Understanding how to channel your emotions
Understanding your own emotions – what is the root cause – of why you are feeling the way you are feeling is the first step to addressing the issues that internally bother you and to take action to correct them, i.e., solve the problem. The ability to question your own emotions rationally is the first step of getting rid of the negativity and unhappiness. For example, during COVID, almost everyone has picked a TV show, whether on Netflix or Hulu, to binge watch. Now, a self-aware person would be able to identify – am I binge watching the show because I am in lock-down and most other forms of entertainment have been cancelled or am I binge watching the show because my job is hanging by a thread and I am too anxious and depressed to look for another one and perhaps learn some new skills along the way?
Identifying the difference will help you address the problem that lies as the root cause of your actions and help you understand whether I am bottling-up more anxiety by binge watching or am I truly enjoying myself by relaxing and watching some great entertainment. You can truly improve the quality of your own life by understanding and grappling with your own emotions.
- Dealing with external factors that cannot be controlled
With self-awareness also comes the ability to self-control and this is truly important when it comes to forming our attitude about external factors that we have no control over, i.e., COVID. Understanding our own fears, dreams and resources helps us re-formulate our thoughts to not only see the downside in the situation but also to see opportunity. It helps us re-train or untrain our brain to see what is obvious and on the surface. For example, yes COVID brings uncertainty – the fear of becoming sick, dying or seeing a loved one suffer – but at the same time it gives us time to reflect on our own values, i.e., what is truly important within our core, and spend quality time with our own family surrounded by love and support. The latter two are some of the most basic human needs and a “recipe,” if such a thing exists, for happiness.
- Understanding emotions of people around you
By understanding our own emotions, dissastifications and fears, we are also able to put ourselves in the shoes of others, i.e., are able to relate to them. Therefore, we are able to understand how our loved ones will react to certain events, e.g., COVID, loss of a job or even worse poor health. In turn, this helps us to deal with the emotions of others and not be irrational either in our own head or together with the other person and address the situation rationally – by being cool, calm and collected – to help those around us. Understanding the emotions of people around you can help you not fall into a trap of jumping on a bandwagon, i.e., the same state of mind of negativity and panic, with your friends and family. You actually have the power to turn the switch and reintroduce the situation from a negative one to a positive one. A positive mindset breaks the negative cycle and brings in a fresh perspective.
In this article, I have briefly scratched the surface of the importance of self-awareness and why it matters now more than ever in the age of COVID. It’s important to introduce yourself to self-awareness and keep building on that knowledge in order to better your state of mind. As FDR once wisely said “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.”