“Becoming self-aware” – that’s a pretty common catchphrase in the personal development industry. While it’s absolutely a beneficial goal, the steps to achieving self-awareness aren’t nicely laid out. Before we dive into questions you can ask yourself to become more self-aware, let’s chat about why it’s important in the first place.
Your days are filled with decisions. Some decisions will only determine what you eat for breakfast. Other decisions will help shape the path that the rest of your life takes. Making major decisions without having an intimate understanding of your goals and values can cause your life to take a path that’s not authentic to you. I always equate life to grocery shopping. Going to the grocery store without a list results in getting a lot of things you don’t need and forgetting half the things you do. If you go through life without knowing exactly where you want to end up, you’ll build a life full of nothing that really matters.
Being self-aware is the first step in that process. Understanding who you are on a deep level will inform your goal-setting and decision-making processes. That, in turn, will help you design a life that’s authentic, passionate, and purposeful – by YOUR standards. If you’re not really sure where to begin on your journey to self-awareness, check out these four questions and take some dedicated time to ask yourself them. No, this doesn’t mean that you’re working through them in the five spare minutes you have between getting home and feeding your kiddos dinner. This means setting aside an hour or so and making a concerted effort to walk yourself through these questions.
What does success look like to me?
This is the absolute best question you could ask yourself. The beauty of life is that there are so many different opportunities and paths to take. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves pigeonholed into one definition of success. Removing those societal expectations and understanding what a successful life looks like to you is the biggest key to becoming self-aware. This question can also be changed to incorporate any adjective that you want your life to be – successful, fulfilling, happy, exciting, etc.
Top tip: have a pen and paper ready and write down the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t allow yourself to disregard your gut instinct in favor of the standard line you tell yourself about what a successful life looks like.
What type of work do I get lost in?
When I was the editor of my school’s yearbook, I could spend six hours in front of the computer, and it would feel like fifteen minutes. I wouldn’t have to eat, I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom – I got completely lost in that work because I loved it. There’s something in your life that’s the same for you. “Work” doesn’t mean your paying profession, either. It could mean cooking, spending time in nature, or something else entirely. When you’re able to completely lose yourself in an activity and feel at peace while doing it, pay attention to it. It’s one of your passions, a key piece to your purposeful and authentic life.
What little things in my relationships am I brushing off and excusing?
We all do it – excusing the little, annoying things in relationships in favor of keeping the person in our lives. I challenge you to make a list of all those things that you’re ignoring and brushing off. That list will give you real insight into your values and standards in relationships.
When I was a kid, my best friend and I made this huge list of all the characteristics we wanted in our future husbands. Two months ago, I made this huge list of all the characteristics I wanted in my future husband. Making lists like that aren’t childlike or unrealistic. Relationships aren’t boxes that can be checked off so systematically, but those lists help remind ourselves of our standards, our values, and our desires in relationships. We can then use them to make informed decisions about our present and future relationships.
When do I not care what others think of me?
You know the feeling. You’re so happy, so free, so ALIVE that you couldn’t care less what other people think of you. Keep track of those moments that you feel like your best self. When you’re immune to criticism and blind to negativity. Once you feel that enough, you’ll find a common thread. This common thread can turn into a path for you to follow. This path can then turn into a life filled to the brim with moments of self love.
Jessi is a keynote speaker and personal development coach who specializes in helping her audiences break free from expectations and discover their passions and purpose. She runs her own international business, is a women’s self-defense instructor, and is a passionate philanthropist.