Tips on How to Become Self-Aware
If you want to gain better social skills and become a better person, you're going to need to know how to become self-aware.
Most of us, at one point or another, have met a person who clearly had no idea how they were coming across. Among girls, this usually happens when they meet a potential date who starts yelling at them the minute that she says no or doesn't respond in an "acceptable" time frame. Among guys, they will often see it with a friend who just doesn't quite understand how regular interactions work.
It's never a pleasant experience for the person who lacks self-awareness. In most cases, the person in question doesn't understand why their social life isn't working out despite the efforts that they put in. They are angry, frustrated, and at times, bitter.
If you're finding it hard to make friends, get a date, or just really do much of anything involving people, you might be lacking self-awareness. There is some good news and bad news to this.
The bad news is that you may have made an ass out of yourself. The good news is that you can learn how to become self-aware and fix things in the long run. Here are some tips from the pros, as well as from someone who has done it themselves.
Do your best to look at yourself objectively, without excuses.
The hardest part of learning how to become self-aware is realizing that most people have an objective opinion of you. What this means is that actions will take priority over intentions and that they will very likely not care what your backstory or reasoning is.
When you see a complete stranger flip out at someone, they look crazy. It doesn't matter what the backstory is because you don't know the backstory. On the other hand, if you see a guy do a perfect 360 jump on a skateboard, you will likely think he's very sporty.
That being said, we all judge people both positively and negatively. It's impossible to be "all good" or "all bad." Take time to write down your strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner.
Highlight the parts of your personality and life that you know need improvement on, in an objective manner, and you'll have a good idea of what you need to improve.
If you aren't sure what you're doing wrong, find forums where they take a look at others in your situation to figure it out.
Having had to learn how to be self-aware, I can tell you that most people can't or won't give you the full story about what you're doing wrong. If they do tell you, it may be hard for you to keep yourself from trying to argue your points with them.
At times, the easiest way to get a full scope of what you're doing wrong is to go on online forums like Reddit's r/cringe to see examples of what's not good to do. More often than not, the forum's posters will flat-out say what's wrong with the behavior.
If you catch yourself doing something similar, you can easily make an improvement and learn to avoid making the same mistake in the past.
Take time to understand your life story and how it motivates you.
Part of learning how to be self-aware is learning to understand how your life story affects you. Oftentimes, we don't really understand the "why's" of our actions, even though we are the ones committing them. This is often because it takes a while for our life events to fully sink in; particularly in trauma.
By taking into account all that life has brought you through, you will be better able to understand why you think the way you do—and work through your issues to better yourself. Heck, it could even stop you from making the same mistakes over and over again.
It's important to realize that you can't use a shitty life as an excuse to be a shitty person. That shows that you're lacking self-awareness and social awareness. Everyone goes through things, even if they don't look like they do.
Try to reflect on yourself daily.
Every day, take a small amount of time for self-reflection. Learning how to be self-aware means that you take time to look at how you've behaved, what you could do better, and what you managed to handle like a pro.
This moment of self-reflection doesn't have to take much, nor is there any particular way that you need to do it. You can do it by choosing to keep a journal, or just by thinking to yourself while having dinner.
What matters here is the mindfulness, and the fact that you're learning about yourself by reviewing your actions.
Ask someone you trust for honest feedback.
If you ask most people how to become self-aware, they won't be able to tell you much. The truth is that we don't live in a society where self-awareness is a taught skill, and most of the time, it comes pretty innately to people.
When you're not sure what's going on with your life, asking others for honest feedback can be a good way to make things happen. We all have that "blind spot" where we can't tell what we're doing wrong. At this time, it's best to rely on the advice of friends and family.
Having someone you know will be honest with you, even when it hurts, is a good way to find out what people really think about you. Who knows? It might be a shocker to find out that you're way more respected than you thought.
A word of advice here: don't get angry if someone gives you the "wrong answers." They are trying to help you and you should take their advice into consideration.
Train yourself to get in better control of your thoughts and emotions.
Some might argue that this isn't necessarily a tip on how to become self-aware, but I'd disagree. You don't really know yourself if you can't master your own emotions and mind.
People who lack any self-awareness tend to blow up at people and say things they shouldn't say because they don't realize how impulsive it is for them to do that. They do it because they aren't aware of how much damage they are doing to themselves, their lifestyle, and others around them.
By learning to control yourself, even when it's hard to do, you're improving on yourself and becoming a better person by doing so. Eventually, you will end up reaping rewards for it.
Find out what your personality type is, but don't swear by it.
If you have no idea how to become self-aware and really don't know much about yourself, you might want to take a look at some personality tests. Finding out what your Myers-Briggs personality is, or whether you're an introvert, can help immensely.
Using quizzes that were developed by psychiatrists, you can learn about what your personality type says about you—including your strengths, weaknesses, and ideal environment.
Consider looking for professional help when it comes to building emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence may be innate for some of us, but not all of us are "born with it." At times, you might need professional help to learn how to become a more emotionally intelligent person and how to become self-aware in ways that going solo cannot.
Things like cognitive behavioral therapy can help you understand your emotions, train yourself to react more positively to stress, and also will help you learn the "why" behind what you do.
Walk outside of your comfort zones.
Your comfort zones are very nice and cushy, but they don't necessarily translate into personal growth. In fact, sticking to a set-in-stone routine is one of the most stifling things you can do.
The funny thing is that you can't really figure out how to become self-aware if you're locked in your house, browsing the same old sites every day. Every time you step outside of your comfort zone, you will learn a little more about yourself.
Even if it's something as simple as trying new food, you'll learn what your likes and dislikes are sooner rather than later. The comfort zone is the dead zone; don't let your growth die!
When in doubt, listen to yourself.
More often than not, our inner selves tend to know when something isn't jiving well or when we are doing something wrong. Part of learning how to become self-aware is learning when you need to listen to your gut instinct.
If you aren't sure what to do with your current lot in life, ask yourself if you're happy. Ask yourself if what you're doing is right, and what the consequences could be. Chances are, you will realize the truth sooner rather than later.
About the author
Iggy Paulsen is a fan of anything and everything wholesome. He loves his two dogs, hiking in the woods, traveling to Aruba, building DIY projects that better humanity, and listening to motivational speakers. He hopes to eventually become a motivational speaker himself.