The Power of Self-Awareness

In order to have healthy relationships we need to be self-aware

As we grow in self-awareness, we will better understand why we feel and behave the way we do. This new understanding gives us the opportunity and freedom to change those things we’d like to change about ourselves and our relationships.

Self-Awareness: What do you think of when you think of this topic?  You may have lots of reactions.

  • I don’t want to be self-aware…I don’t really want to know what’s going on inside!”
  • I’d like to be more self-aware…sometimes I have no idea why I feel the way I do.”
  • “I’m not really aware of myself, I’m usually aware of other people.”

Whatever your reaction is … let’s look at this together. Here’s a starting definition. To be self-aware means being aware of oneself, including one’s traits, feelings, behaviors, and vulnerabilities.

As we grow in self-awareness, we will better understand our feelings and behavior, which are sometimes a mystery to us.

Without self-awareness, it is hard to change troublesome habits or patterns, even if you want to Click To Tweet

Being self-aware can be hard…especially if you aren’t used to checking in with yourself on the inside. As I’ve been able to take in God’s total acceptance of me and all my shortcomings, I’ve been able to tolerate being self-aware even more. Sometime when I look inside I like what I see, and sometimes I don’t.  Knowing that God loves and accepts me, helps me tolerate the parts of me I struggle with.

Trying to change something about ourselves doesn’t work if change is primarily external. Lasting change only happens from the inside out.  In order to change our actions, we must be self-aware. Just trying harder doesn’t work, at least not for very long. It takes a lot of courage to be self-aware…because we need to be able to feel, tolerate, and modulate our feelings.

In fact, how we handle our feelings has a lot to do with how self-aware we are. Click To Tweet

We can’t be self-aware if we:

  • Suppress our feelings
  • Numb our emotions with addictions or substances
  • Intellectualize ourselves out of awareness (focus on getting it right, keeping in our head and pushing away our emotions)
  • Are cut off from our body

These ways of pushing away our feelings can result in losing our connection with ourselves, God, and others. It also slows down the healing we can find in Him.

Some steps to increase your self-awareness

Step 1. Allow and tolerate your feelings. I’ve written a lot about this in the past. You can read more here and here.

Step 2. Try to see yourself as you really are. Without self-awareness, you see a version of who everyone else says you are. We need to push aside who others say we are, in order to see ourselves as God sees us, because that’s where the real healing happens. You can read more here and here.

Now none of us totally knows the truth…but examining what others have told you might help you unpack a belief you’ve had about yourself that may not be true.

Examples: Someone in your life told you that are selfish. Ask yourself what is the truth about this? What specifically do they mean? Maybe they see you pursuing a balance life where both you and they are considered. They might label this as selfish, but in reality, it’s balanced.

Maybe you struggle to consider others in a certain area, but in general you are giving and considerate to others. The point is to challenge labels you’ve been given rather than just accept that what someone else has said about you is true.

Step 3. Bringing God into the equation can really help your self-awareness.

All of us have past emotional wounds, and these wounds distort our image of God. When these wounds are healed, we can connect more fully to God, accept His new view of us, and take the incredibly brave step to see ourselves as we are, warts and all. He will also help us to pay attention to the feelings he’s given us to guide us.

We need to know about God, as well as experience Him in our hearts and souls. When we shut ourselves down and turn away from awareness, we turn away from ourselves, God and others.

We may miss out on the ways God can interact with us in comforting and soothing ways.  Matt 11:28 tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

If you’d like, take a moment now to take a deep breath, and say to God,” Here I am, could you please help me with this situation? Could you help me be more self-aware and see myself through your eyes? Could you help me see where I need to grow, as well as how I’ve already changed?”

Let yourself rest in Him, and gain comfort and strength. He loves you, cares about you, and wants to help you.

Step 4: Our challenge is to remain present

We all need help to remain present in the moment to increase our self-awareness.  Here’s an exercise that can increase your self-awareness. In a given situation…check in with yourself:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you smell?
  • What do you feel?
  • What’s happening in your body?
  • What do you need?
  • What are your instincts telling you?

So, this next week…try to be a little more self-aware:

  • Ask yourself, how am I doing on the inside?
  • What do I need?
  • If you feel comfortable, try to breath in God’s love and acceptance of you, and seek His help in whatever challenging situation you are facing.
  • Try to feel your feelings a bit more than usual, and be kind to yourself in what you discover.

I hope this helps…you are worth the time and space you are taking for yourself.

I’d love to hear from you. What jumped out to you about the need for self-awareness? Where are you already self-aware, and where would you like to grow? What one thing you could encourage yourself for this week?

Please share this post with anyone you feel could benefit, or on social media. We’re in this together…

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7 thoughts on “The Power of Self-Awareness

  1. Good morning! This is going to be a challenging assignment, but I will face it with determination and honesty. In doing so, it will benefit me in many ways with all that is going on in my life.
    You and this ministry of wisdom and compassion are enormous blessings in my life.
    You are loved, you know!

    1. Dear Ann…thanks so much for your comment. I love your resolve, “I will face it with determination and honesty.” Beautiful.

      I’m so glad this will help you become more aware and assess what you are going through. Many blessings to you on your journey!

  2. “. . . I’d love to hear from you. What jumped out to you about the need for self-awareness? Where are you already self-aware, and where would you like to grow? What one thing could you encourage yourself for this week?”

    Thank you so much, Kim. . . . . self-awareness is just Huge. If we begin to understand what we are without trying to change it, then we can possibly/maybe undergo a transformation. Simply by God helping us to see something, realize something we have not seen/realized before. For me, I regret it when I suppress my feelings too long and they burst forth in ways that are distorted or attacking or hurtful but at least I am aware of that. If we have compassion and self-understanding, maybe we can learn to love ourselves and that would probably lead to endless sympathy for other people too. I see it, when we are unkind to ourselves, we can never transcend the corrupt barriers much less run into the world with open arms enthusiastically embracing family/humankind.

    “Where are you already self-aware” (my angry, bitter, resentful attitude at times), and “where would you like to grow?” (right there, I’d like to grow out of that in self-compassion and real self-love.) For me, the hardest part has been realizing that no one, no matter how compassionate and kind they are, will say all the things I need. Myself included. The hardest part has been learning to communicate what I need, to hear what others need, to tell others how to tell me what they need. I don’t have to tell you, intimacy takes a lot of communication! And it really involves deeply speaking our truth. Speaking what I want and how I want it. —And really asking as well as listening, deeply listening, to what the people around me say.

    “What one thing could you encourage yourself for this week?” I’m going to ask God for a truer understanding of myself. Maybe with my journal. . . I find writing is an intense form of self-exploration, and through thoughtful encounters with myself. . . .well, maybe, I can encourage myself more. Probably, but I don’t know, the most profound personal growth does not happen while I’m reading or even praying. It happens in the throes of conflict, when I am angry, afraid, frustrated. It happens when I am doing the same old behaviours and I suddenly realize, —wow, I have a choice here.

    1. Aleea, Thanks for sharing your way of processing this information. Lots of wisdom here. I love the ways you are furthering your growth. My favorite part of your comment is this powerful statement, “wow, I have a choice here.” Amen!!!

      1. Thank you so much Kim! —yeah. . . . “wow, I have a choice here.” . . . .From the Old Testament, the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice, as you know. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on me (re: personal responsibility.) For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’

  3. “Let’s look at this together.” Thank you, KIm. It always feels good to know that I am not alone as I attempt something that might be hard! Your book encouraged me at a time when I had been forced to into a season of personal growth. I was becoming more aware of many things and beginning to know myself in new ways. Knowing God’s love and finding encouragement and acceptance from others has given me the courage I need to make “lasting changes” that can only “happen from the inside out.” Many days, I longed for another way, but gradually, I understood that the changes in me are mostly up to me. And, there have been many days, (now mostly moments), when giving up feels like a better option. I had become a pro at minimizing my deepest personal needs and emotions. Healing has not come easily or quickly, but it is absolutely true that my connection to myself, God and others is deeper, richer and fuller. Paying closer attention to myself on the inside has also helped me to listen better to God and others and has made it easier for me to stay present in the present. Because there is “power in self-awareness,” I will keep at it! I will keep discovering, and I will trust God to help me find the courage necessary…as more of the me He created me to be is revealed to me!

    1. Roberta…what a beautiful comment.You have worked so hard on your growth! It is so lovely to hear that you are making lasting changes, and that your relationships with God, yourself and others are deeper and stronger. You go girl!!!

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