The Gift of Self Awareness
Self-awareness. What is it?
Here is my own definition: The insight to see ourselves almost as clearly as those around us do. Or the ability to self-identify our motivations, brokenness, strengths and relational aptitude. It is to watch our own movie and receive our own signals.
Self-awareness is a grossly underestimated quality of life, friendship and leadership. Self awareness is that refreshing thing about someone that makes you feel comfortable and safe and able to like them quickly. Self awareness is one of the greatest gifts we can give other people because it drastically decreases relational anxiety. Nothing is worse than being in the company of one who has limited knowledge of their behavior, words, tone, body language and choices. When someone lacks self awareness, they are often also emotionally unintelligent. This means that those with more insight are carrying the weight of responsibility for helping them. Do they see this? Do they know how that sounds? Can they sense that they are hurting him/her? When the other is unaware, and we are aware, we are left with the dilemma of if, and how, to assist them toward growth.
When someone has high self awareness:
They know who they are and who they are not. Where they are strong and weak. Where they have experience and where they lack it.
They are naturally able to assess a given context and determine what is appropriate.
They have a way of zapping the anxiety out of an environment.
People around them can breath a sigh of relief (even if they are obnoxious, at least they know).
They are hungry for feedback and welcome your input.
They fast track open sharing and create vulnerability.
They produce relational safety and stability.
They welcome others into increased self awareness as well.
When someone has low self awareness:
They remain in denial.
They produce relational anxiety (because you see what the other cannot, leaving you in a quandary regarding what to do about it).
Reduces levels of safe and open sharing
Slows team progress
Creates awkwardness and avoidance of future interaction
Here is the cool thing. Self-awareness isn't one of these traits that you've either got or you don’t, rather it can be developed. I think there are a number of fruitful ways in which we can increase and grow our levels of self-awareness.