During a recent Discovery Call, Susan* described her teenage daughter: “Ellie has so much potential! She’s bright, funny, and kind, but she doesn’t see it. Every time her father and I tell her how amazing she is, she just rolls her eyes and says, you’re just saying that because you’re my parents.”
Teens and young adults can only realize their potential when they become self-aware.
Self-awareness is the ability to understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and their impact on others. Self-awareness is critical for personal growth, which is why it is a cornerstone of all my coaching programs. When teens and young adults have a strong sense of self, they can rise to their potential and make intentional choices that align with their values and goals. When parents have self-awareness, they can identify unhealthy or unhelpful parenting patterns and shift from parenting from fear and worry to parenting from a place of calm and trust. Self-awareness also leads to awareness of others and promotes empathy, effective communication, and fulfilling relationships.
Self-awareness does not come naturally to everyone. During the teen and young adult years, it can be especially fuzzy because this is a stage of self-discovery. As they go through life, teens and young adults learn about their values, strengths, and goals. During adulthood, self-awareness can fade into the background of a busy life. Career and parenting responsibilities easily pull adults away from their true selves.
For both adolescents and adults, self-awareness can develop and strengthen through intentional self-reflection and personal inquiry. These are several ways to improve self-awareness:
Notice Your Emotions
One of the most powerful ways to increase self-awareness is to pay attention to your emotions. Take time to reflect on how you feel in different situations and what might be causing those feelings. This can help you understand your own thought patterns and identify any triggers that lead to negative emotions.
Another way to build self-awareness is to seek feedback from those around you. Asking friends, family, or colleagues for their perspectives on your strengths and areas for improvement can provide powerful insights. While it can be difficult to hear critical feedback, it is an important step in improving your understanding of yourself.
Mindfulness is a state of being fully present in the moment. When you are mindful, you are able to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help you gain insight into your patterns of behavior and identify areas where you can improve.
Writing down your thoughts and experiences is an effective way to increase self-awareness. Take time to reflect on your day and write down what you are feeling, what you did well, and areas where you would like to improve. This will help you identify patterns and understand your thoughts and emotions.
Self-awareness is a crucial aspect of personal growth and positive change. By paying attention to your emotions, seeking feedback from others, practicing mindfulness, and keeping a journal, you will find yourself on the way to unlocking your full potential. Remember, developing self-awareness is a journey, not a destination, so be patient with yourself and continue to work on it every day.