ReachOut.com uses cookies to give you the best experience.  Find out more about cookies and your privacy in our policy.

Developing your self-awareness helps you learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of. There are some great ways you can work on your self-awareness, but what you do then is entirely up to you.

This can help if:

  • you want to know more about yourself
  • you want to develop good self-esteem
  • you don’t understand other people’s reactions to stuff that you’re doing.
Boy leaning against wall

Why does self-awareness matter?

Self-awareness is really just about being aware and confident of who you are. It can relate to knowing your own values, beliefs, personal preferences and tendencies.

You know how famous people always say, ‘Stay true to yourself’? This is really important advice, but it’s not easy to stay true to yourself if you don’t know who you are. By becoming self-aware and understanding your strengths and limitations, you open up opportunities that just aren’t available otherwise. You’re also able to have more honest and genuine relationships because the people that you’re attracted to will be attracted to you for who you actually are.

3 ways to become self-aware

1. Assess your self-talk

The first step in self-awareness is to listen to yourself. What’s going on in your mind? Is it a series of negative thoughts that make you feel pretty crappy? Or are you always looking on the bright side?

In practice: Take a couple of minutes each day to sit in silence and listen to the tone of your inner voice. One way of getting your inner voice going is to stand in front of a mirror and hear what you’re saying to yourself about how you look. It might even help to write down your thoughts so that you can get a better idea of how positive or negative they are.

2. Use your senses

Your senses (sight and sound, in particular) can provide you with huge insights into your own and other people’s feelings, and situations in general. But these senses are often viewed through the filter of our self-talk. For example, a frown doesn’t always mean that someone’s angry, and a groan doesn’t necessarily mean that the person you’re talking with is bored, despite what your inner voice might be saying.

In practice: The next time you feel that someone is judging you, or has made you feel bad about yourself, take a step back and write down why you think this. Ask yourself, ‘Could I have interpreted what was said/done differently?’ You might find that your interpretation was clouded by your own negative thoughts.

3. Tune into your feelings

This can be hard if you’re not the kind of person who likes to think too deeply about your feelings. Your feelings are spontaneous and emotional responses to the things you experience. Like your senses, they give you good information about what’s going on around you, should you choose to tune into them.

There are some physical signs that you can look for that might help you to ‘read’ your feelings. They include:

  • A warm feeling in your face might mean you’re embarrassed.
  • A feeling of ‘butterflies’ in your tummy can mean you’re nervous.
  • Clenching your teeth might mean you’re angry.

In practice: Be aware of physical signs that might indicate how you’re feeling. By engaging with how you’re feeling, you can get better insights into what you like, what makes you feel uncomfortable and what makes you angry.

What can I do now?

  • Remember that you already have some self-awareness, otherwise you probably wouldn’t have chosen to read this factsheet.
  • Write down a list of your personal values and the things you think you’re good at.
  • Challenge yourself to practise the tips given above for a week.