Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself more clearly. It’s a deeper acceptance of your whole self. Separate from your thoughts and feelings, you can recognise and acknowledge your thinking patterns and behaviours from an objective distance.

By working on your self-awareness, you can take a more proactive role in your life. It allows you to take control of your current situation and ownership of your behaviour, changing and adapting your course in line with your personal goals and desires. Rather than being held back by your fears, past experiences, or insecurities, self-awareness enables you to manage them rather than letting them manage you. When we learn something about ourselves we previously didn’t know, we reveal a blind spot; something that was previously controlling or impacting us that we couldn’t see or didn’t know. This, in turn, means the blind spot is no longer silently controlling you but now you have the choice to take a different action.

For development

Self-awareness is essential for positive self-development. Being more self-aware allows you to recognise areas of improvement within yourself. It’s largely about discovering what drives some of your behaviours, thoughts, and opinions, as well as admitting you don’t have all the answers and acknowledging your weaknesses just as much as your strengths.

In doing so, you can make more effective changes to your current situation, creating a more fulfilling life for yourself in the process. It goes hand in hand with goal setting. By acknowledging what you’re capable of and any weaknesses you have, you can more effectively and realistically plan for your future, increasing your chances of success with any long-term goals or plans. Whether we acknowledge them or not, our weaknesses are always there. So by admitting and embracing them, you can work on them directly and work towards achieving more.

Developing your self-awareness also allows you to understand exactly what holds you back. Whether that’s past experiences, insecurities, or deep-rooted fears. Interrogating these parts of yourself makes you more likely to overcome them. Approaching your emotions and feelings head-on, you can work through them and find solutions once and for all, rather than trying to bury them.

Once you’re aware of any bad habits, compulsions, or toxic thinking patterns, you can better manage them. Eventually, you can leave them behind entirely and move forward with your life in a much more positive and effective way.

For relationships

By understanding yourself on a deeper level, you can better understand others. Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, our perceptions of others directly relates to our relationship with ourselves. If you’re more attuned to your own habits, behaviours, and thought patterns, you can easily identify and relate to someone else’s. It leads to greater empathy for those around you, facilitating better personal and professional relationships.

By relating to people more, you make room for deeper connections, greater understanding, and more productive communication. In the office, you can understand where your boss is coming from and can minimise any tension or hostility when you don’t see eye-to-eye. At home, you can more productively handle disagreements with your partner and find a quicker and healthier resolution to arguments.

For decision-making

Leading on from both of the above points, self-awareness encourages better decision-making – both professionally and personally. If you’re aware of your own shortcomings and toxic thinking, you can recognise the way these affect your daily life, therefore minimising their impact.

For example, by acknowledging your deep-rooted fear of rejection – and your consequent habit for choosing the wrong partners – you can move forward and make better decisions regarding your personal relationships. You can catch yourself revisiting old patterns of behaviour and make the changes necessary to overcome them. If you recognise an underlying sense of imposter syndrome within yourself, you can do the work needed to combat these feelings and move forward in your career with more confidence and self-belief.

To bring about real, long-lasting change for yourself, you can’t ignore the importance of self-awareness. Without it, you’re only ever dealing with the surface-level of yourself, allowing all your deeper thoughts and feelings to run riot, holding you back from true fulfilment and happiness.