Do you really know yourself? The power of being self-aware
I wonder how well we know ourselves? Do we really think about what we are good at, what we believe and how we feel? Or do we go along with what others tell us and not really think much. When I was a kid, I thought I didn’t like math or science. I never really thought about it, but I just “knew” in my mind that I didn’t like those classes. Then, when I was in 8th grade, a math teacher pointed out that I had the highest grade in her class, and told me I seemed like I was gifted. I was surprised. I had no idea I might be good at math. But, then I started thinking about it and realized I really was good at it and…I enjoyed it. I later began realizing the same thing with my science classes. I had just gone along with some stereotype that I didn’t like them, but in reality, I thought they were really interesting. That math teacher, whose name was Mrs. Wilson, really changed my thinking about myself.
Over the years, people have complimented me on parts of my personality that really surprised me. I’ve been told that I’m very strong and that I’m a good leader. I had never, ever considered that about myself. I thought I was a shy, wallflower wimp! But, when someone pointed out the reality to me, I started thinking about it and realized that I was better at some things than I’d known. And that really opens up doors for me, in addition to increasing my confidence to try new things. It reminds me of the time I thought I was a terrible public speaker, then gave a great presentation and uncovered a new talent.
If we really get to thinking about our true selves, would we find that we have talents we’ve been discounting? Types of intelligence we have never thought about? Are we feeling unfulfilled in some areas of our lives because we are trying to fit into the wrong places just because we are doing what we automatically think we should do?
Relationship experts say that self-awareness is a major key to happiness. And this includes, not just knowing your true self, but also recognizing your effect on others. Leadership experts say that all leaders need to be self-aware for success, as well. The writer of the leadership article states, “…the most effective executives I knew had, I believe, realistic assessments of their own abilities – their strengths and weaknesses, their effect on others, the gaps that needed to be filled.”
I think this is right on. How can we maximize our best qualities and take advantage of them if we haven’t even recognized them yet? Or how can we work on our bad habits that turn people off if we aren’t paying attention? Success isn’t based in intelligence alone, or even education, but it is based on our personalities and our personal qualities in many ways. Emotional intelligence–including self-awareness is essential!
One way to start becoming aware of your strong points and your weak points, is to consider Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He theorized that there are seven types of intelligence, and everyone has different strengths. We need to discover our own strong areas and consider the meaning of our weak areas. When I took a quiz to see what types of intelligence I had, I was a bit surprised by my highest score. Again, I learned there are parts of my personality that I haven’t been recognizing.
As I continue on my journey to expand my life, grow my career and find peace with my relationships, I find that self-reflection and being open to learning from others is life-changing. I really like the idea of becoming more self-aware to improve my life and my connections with the world!