Self-awareness. What is it?
Here is my own definition: The insight to see ourselves as clearly as God and others do and to self-identify our motivations, brokenness, strengths and relational aptitude. It is to watch our own movie and receive our own signals.
Self-awareness is a grossly underestimated quality of life, friendship and leadership. It is that refreshing thing about someone that makes you like them pretty quickly and feel comfortable and safe. Self awareness is one of the greatest gifts we can give other people because it drastically decreases relational anxiety. Nothing is worse than being in the company of one who has limited knowledge of their behavior, words, tone, body language and choices. When someone lacks self awareness, they are often also emotionally unintelligent. This means that those with more insight are carrying the weight of responsibility for helping them. Do they see this? Do they know how that sounds? Can they sense that they are hurting him/her? When the other is unaware, and we are aware, we are left with the dilemma of if, and how, to assist them toward growth.
When someone has high self awareness:
- They know what they are and what they are not. Where they are strong and weak. Where they have experience and where they lack it.
- They know how others perceive them and adjust accordingly.
- They know who is in the room and what's appropriate.
- They have a way of zapping the anxiety out of an environment.
- People around them can breath a sigh of relief (even if they are obnoxious, at least they know)
- They are hungry for feedback and welcome your input.
- It fast tracks open sharing and creates vulnerability
- It produces relational safety and creates stability.
- It welcomes others into increased self awareness themselves.
When someone has low self awareness:
- They remain in denial.
- They produce relational anxiety (because you see what the other cannot, leaving you in a quandary about what to do about it)
- Causes conflict
- Reduces levels of safe and open sharing
- Slows team progress
- Creates awkwardness and avoidance of future interaction
Here is the cool thing. Self-awareness isn't one of these traits that you've either got or you don't. No. I think there are a number of fruitful ways in which we can increase and grow our levels of self-awareness. I will share about them in an upcoming post.