8 Tips To Improve Your Self-Awareness

Updated June 24, 2022

A professional's mindset and personal outlook can greatly impact the experiences they have in the workplace. Developing a high level of self-awareness may help you understand your inner self, notice how others perceive you and work successfully alongside colleagues. If you want to develop your self-awareness, you may find it helpful to review a few strategies for doing so. In this article, we explain what it means to be lacking in self-awareness and outline eight tips for improvement.

Related: What Is Self-Awareness? (And How To Increase Yours)

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What does it mean to be lacking in self-awareness?

Individuals who lack self-awareness typically don't have a deep understanding regarding their own character, feelings, motivations, goals, desires or actions. These individuals often face challenges both in terms of achieving personal development and maintaining healthy relationships with others. Specifically, they may struggle with recognizing their own values, controlling emotional reactions, receiving feedback, listening to others, using empathy to guide their actions and expressing vulnerability. For instance, someone who lacks self-awareness may become defensive when they receive constructive feedback, engage more frequently in negative behaviors and under or overreact to emotionally challenging situations.

Frequently, those who lack self-awareness are defined in opposition to those who have carefully developed this trait. Those who are self-aware are typically able to examine their inner selves, identify their personal values, acknowledge their emotional impulses and understand how their actions impact others around them. Therefore, self-awareness can help individuals make better decisions, build stronger, more trustful relationships, exercise deeper personal control, communicate more effectively and work alongside others successfully. With these benefits in mind, developing this trait can help professionals achieve higher rates of success in their careers and cultivate happiness in their lives overall.

Related: The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

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8 tips to improve your self-awareness

While developing self-awareness can require a significant commitment of time and energy, there are various strategies you can take advantage of in your pursuit of doing so. With this, here are eight tips to help you improve your self-awareness:

1. Think before you react

A key part of being a self-aware individual is gaining an understanding of your emotions and being able to manage your impulses properly. Therefore, try to be mindful of the way you react to external stimuli and think through your options for responding prior to doing so. This can help you become more purposeful in your engagement with others and ensure you choose an appropriate reaction, even when you face challenging situations.

2. Be willing to hear and incorporate feedback

You may be able to improve your self-awareness by soliciting feedback from others who you can trust. Try to be as willing as possible when hearing feedback about your behavior or performance, even if the feedback you receive is constructive or slightly negative. The insight you receive during this process can help you identify areas of growth, establish a greater understanding of how others perceive you and practice managing your emotions successfully.

Related: 16 Ways To Achieve Self-Growth

3. Reflect on who you are

Being self-aware often requires individuals to reflect deeply on who they are in both a personal and professional sense. With this, it can be beneficial to take some time to examine your inner self, identify your core values and determine what's most important to you. It may also be helpful to question your preconceived beliefs and interrogate why exactly you hold them.

4. Consider how your actions impact others

External self-awareness generally involves the comprehension of how your actions impact others and how others might perceive you. Therefore, when interacting with friends, family and coworkers, try to be mindful of your behavior and consider how they might receive it. From here, you may become more effective at recognizing appropriate ways of engaging and building healthier, more productive interpersonal relationships.

5. Identify triggers of negative emotions

If you find it challenging to control your negative emotions and often get stuck in a cycle of reactivity, it may be helpful to examine what triggers these feelings. Understanding what your triggers are can help you gain clarity about yourself and heighten your emotional intelligence. For instance, some individuals who lack self-awareness feel triggered when they don't have control over a situation, and determining why exactly this is a trigger for them can help them overcome such impulses.

Related: 9 Tips To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

6. Use a journal to record your thoughts

Connecting with your internal self can help you improve your self-awareness. Therefore, consider using a journal to record your thoughts, reflect on your experiences, process your feelings and better understand the events of your life. This process can help you build a stronger sense of self-assurance. In addition, you may be able to use your journaling practice to set goals for yourself and track your progress as you work toward them.

7. Develop your listening skills

Those with a strong sense of self-awareness are often conscious of how much space they assume in a group setting. In addition, they may take a genuine interest in hearing what others have to say so they can gain insight from their conversations. With this, it may be helpful for you to focus on finding strategies for developing your listening skills so you can engage more effectively with others.

Related: The Importance of Good Listening and How To Listen Effectively

8. Immerse yourself in new experiences

When trying to improve your self-awareness, it can be useful to get out of your comfort zone and embrace new, challenging experiences that require you to learn more about yourself and how you fit into the world around you. Try to use this principle to guide you and immerse yourself in activities that can help you to shift your mindset. For instance, you might consider traveling to a different country or trying out a new hobby.

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