The 2 Parts To Self-Awareness And How To Become Your Better Self

5 min read

Did you know that by working on your self-awareness, you can become a better version of you?

Self-awareness is a critical tool to help you reach higher levels of job satisfaction, become a better leader, improve relationships with colleagues, and manage your emotions better. It’s also positively correlated with higher levels of overall happiness.

There are two parts to self-awareness – internal and external.

Internal self-awareness is having the ability to understand your beliefs, strengths and weaknesses as well as having a clear perception of your personality including your behaviours, thoughts, emotions, motivations and aspirations.

External self-awareness is the ability to know how you appear to others and how they perceive you. Leaders who can see how their employees view them are usually more effective, and have stronger relationships with their employees.

If you begin to consciously practice self-awareness, you can evaluate how your values, passions, and goals fit into your current environment and emotions — and how to align them better.

You can also understand how other people view you, creating stronger, more authentic relationships with colleagues and people within your life.

We outline the 2 parts to self-awareness and tips to help you become your better self.

Internal Self-Awareness

Internal self-awareness is the first part to becoming more self aware as a whole. Start with being mindful of your self talk because the way you speak to yourself internally can have a big impact on your moods and behaviours.

Instead of asking yourself ‘WHY is this happening to me?’ ask yourself ‘WHAT is this situation trying to tell me?’

To make this easier, try keeping a journal to help understand yourself better. Journaling allows you to clarify your thoughts and feelings, write goals, plans and priorities and also perform daily self reflection.

Journaling has the following personal benefits:

  • Calms and clears your mind
  • Enhances your self-awareness and teaches you about your triggers
  • Promotes and enhances your creativity
  • Propels you toward your goals, helping you bring your vision to life
  • Offers you a daily opportunity to recover from the daily stressors and leave the unimportant stuff behind
  • Helps you identify things that would otherwise go unnoticed, such as patterns in your thinking, the influences behind your feelings and behavior, and any incongruencies in your life
  • Gives you a chance to get all of your emotions out on paper, reducing your stress and releasing tension
  • Facilitates learning by creating a record of the lessons and key ideas you have discovered and helps you remember them more effectively
  • Boosts your overall sense of gratitude and your sensitivity to all that you have to be grateful for
  • Makes you a better writer and helps you discover your “voice”

Journaling can be a different experience for everyone and some might like to use pen and paper, while another likes to use notes in their phone. It does not matter how you do it, the outcome (when done regularly) would be positive.

Dr. Tasha Eurich (organizational psychologist, researcher, and New York Times best-selling author) conducted a study of 5000 people and found that internal self awareness is associated with higher job and relationship satisfaction, personal and social control, and happiness; and helps combat anxiety, stress, and depression.

2. External Self-Awareness

Part of being self-aware is understanding how you are viewed by others and how you can make changes to becoming a better person.

This is not always an easy thing to do – especially if you are sensitive to criticism. Asking for feedback from people around you on how your behaviours or actions could improve can help you learn more about the traits you need to work on personally or professionally. Asking for feedback can be empowering and should be used an an opportunity to grow.

You could also try to consciously become a better listener. Listening is not the same as hearing. It takes purpose and control. When you learn to listen to your colleagues, boss, friends/family, without judgement, you’ll become more empathetic and understand them better which is critical to becoming self-aware.

As Tasha Eurich states, people who focus on building both internal and external self-awareness, who seek honest feedback from loving critics and who ask “what” instead of “why” can learn to see themselves more clearly — and reap the many rewards that increased self-knowledge delivers.

And no matter how much progress we make, there’s always more to learn.

That’s one of the things that makes the journey to self-awareness so exciting.