How well do you know yourself? I mean REALLY know you? What are your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, characteristics and habits? How do you answer the question “Who are you?” Have you ever thought about it? If not, it’s time to develop self-awareness—to discover who you truly are. One of the key self-improvement tools is self-awareness.
Getting to know you
In the musical The King and I, the song “Getting to Know You” has these lyrics in the chorus:
Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.
In this walk down the self-improvement path, one of the necessary guideposts is self-awareness. If you don’t have basic self-awareness, how do you know what to improve or how to go about improving?
Getting to know me
Let’s change those lyrics and sing:
Getting to know me,
Getting to know all about me.
Getting to like me,
Getting to hope I like me.
Sometimes we live in something of a coma, going through our days by rote. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, the roses, the whatever. Pay attention. Become aware of what’s happening around you and what’s happening within you. This will give you some clues about who you are and where you need to put your focus.
Pay attention to your words, remarks and stories
Are your stories a true narrative or are they way you wish things were? What do you keep telling over and over? Is there a theme? Do you have to interrupt other people’s stories to tell your own? How often do you hear yourself saying words like “can’t,” “won’t,” “don’t,” “shouldn’t,” “wouldn’t” and other negatives? Pay close attention to your words and stories and learn everything you can about yourself.
How do you handle someone else’s “no?”
Do you take it personally and wonder “What’s the matter with me?” Or do you understand that there may be a reason why “yes” just can’t work right now? How does “no” make you feel? Are you able to say “no” when that is the best response for you at the time? Can you say it graciously?
Know what your strengths and weakness are
If you don’t know how to go about doing this go to http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx and complete their questionnaires, especially the “Brief Strength Test.”You can also sit quietly and reflect on what you love doing the most, what people ask you to do for them, what you seem to excel in doing. Are you a great listener? A good friend? Are you a hard worker?
What is important to you?
What are your priorities? I don’t mean the things you tell people are important to you but what your actions say are important to you. For example, if you say meditation is important to you, how often and when do you meditate? If you say it’s important but you never get around to doing it, how important is it really? If you say helping people is important to you and you never help anyone because you’re too busy, it really important to you? What do your actions say your priorities are? What do you spend the most time and money on?
How do you affect other people?
Are you aware of their response? Do you see them yawning when you tell your story? Perhaps you notice that they tense up when you ask questions. Do they smile warmly when they see you? Can you manage your energy so your negative mood doesn’t affect others? Do people feel better after they spent time with you?
What makes you happy?
What really “floats your boat?” Completing the sentence “I am the happiest when_____________” is a good place to start. Just keep repeating it until you can’t think of anything else then ponder the answers. Is your attitude one of general happiness or are you always looking for something outside yourself to make you feel happy?
Getting acquainted with yourself may be one of the best things you can do for yourself. You may find out that you are one of the most delightful people you know.