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Self awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations. Self awareness includes staying on top of your typical reactions to specific events, challenges and people. A keen understanding of your tendencies is important; it helps you quickly make sense of your emotions. A high degree of self awareness requires a willingness to tolerate the discomfort of focussing on feelings that may be negative.

The only way to genuinely understand your emotions is to spend enough time thinking through them to figure out where they come from and why they are there. Emotions always serve a purpose. Because they are your reactions to the world around you, emotions always come from some where. Many times emotions seem to arise out of thin air and it’s important to understand why something gets a reaction out of you. People who do this can cut to the core of a feeling quickly, Situations that create strong emotions will always require more thought and these prolonged periods of self reflection often keep you from doing something that you’ll regret.

Self awareness is not about discovering deep, dark secrets or unconscious motivations but rather it comes from developing a straightforward and hones understanding of what makes you tick. People high in self awareness are remarkably clear in their understanding of what they do well, what motivates and satisfies them, and which people and situations push their buttons.

The surprising thing about self awareness is that just thinking about it helps you improve the skill even though much of your focus initially tends to be on what you do “wrong”. Having self awareness means you aren’t afraid of your emotional “mistakes”. They tell you what you should be doing differently and provide the steady stream of information you need to understand as your life unfolds.

Self awareness is foundational skill; when you have it self awareness makes the other emotional intelligence skills much easier to use, As self awareness increases, people’s satisfaction with life – defined as their ability to reach their goals at work and at home – skyrockets. Self awareness is so important for job performance that 83 percent of people high in self awareness are top performers, and just 2 percent of bottom performers are high in self awareness. Why is this so? When you are self aware you are far more likely to pursue the right opportunities, put your strengths to work and perhaps most importantly  keep your emotions from holding you back.

The need for self awareness has never been greater. Guided by mistaken notion that psychology deals exclusively with pathology we assume that the only time to learn about ourselves is in the face of crisis. We tend to embrace those things with which we’re comfortable, and put the blinders on the moment something make us uncomfortable.  But it’s really the whole picture that serves us. The more we understand the beauty and the blemishes, the better we are able to achieve our full potential.

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