5 Examples Of Self-Awareness In Everyday Life
In respect to my own definition of self-awareness (which you can find here), I realize that practicing self-awareness can seem daunting. However, self-awareness doesn’t have to be long drawn out sessions of introspection and analysis. That’s not realistic for anyone. Self-awareness can be practiced daily without severe emotional drainage.
There has been a trend over recent years of “mindfulness” being woven into our everyday lives. The concept and practice of meditation is more commonly talked about and it’s not some mysterious practice associated with ancient religious practices. As I am interested in my own well-being, I like mindfulness. To me, it’s kind of like self-awareness lite. It’s a gentle noticing of our feelings, our body, and our thoughts. Self-awareness, however, is a bit more rigorous and subsequently, a bit more effective in one’s personal evolution. Again, if you’re not sure what I mean by self-awareness, please check out my blog post, “A Self Awareness Definition You’ll Actually Understand.”. The article sums up self-awareness as, “the continuous pursuit of observing one’s own experiences and responses to those experiences, both past and present, including the attempt of deeply understanding how those experiences shaped and anchored one’s unique expression of being.” Again, I can see how this might make self-awareness seem exhausting, so I want to share five examples of self-awareness in everyday life.
1. Knowing and accepting your preferences.
I am not a morning person. I have tried for years to force myself into being a morning person, but I am just not. Thanks to the concept of “chronotypes,” I have accepted that I hit the snooze button at least three times and that I just wasn’t made to be up and at ‘em before 8 am. A simple act of self-awareness is adjusting my routine and my self-talk to my natural rhythm and preferences. I no longer beat myself up for being “lazy” or sleeping in too late. I’m aware that my best work is done in late afternoon and that I move slowly in the mornings. Even with coffee, my brain is slow to get working. A huge part of successful self-awareness is self-acceptance, grace, and gentleness. I’m currently trying different routines to up my productivity each day, yet I’m staying aware of what is natural to me and what isn’t. Take a look at the things you do every day and ask yourself what is working and what isn’t. What makes you feel great? What wears you out? Then think about how you might be able to adjust with acceptance of your preferences and a little innovation to make the day work better for you.
2. Checking in with your body.
Most people don’t really notice that their bodies are working for them until they aren’t working for them. Suddenly, your neck hurts, or your stomach aches, or your throat itches and your body is getting the attention it needs because you’re trying to stop what’s bothering you. While these aches and pains are signals to us that something is going on, it’s likely that your body was trying to give you less painful, less annoying signals that you weren’t paying attention to. A very easy self-awareness practice that you can do every day is checking in with your body. Our bodies are ALWAYS communicating with us and if we take even three minutes to listen, we can save ourselves some time and pain. An easy three minute practice that’s common in guided meditations is closing your eyes and noticing each part of your body starting at your toes and working your way up. If simply thinking about each body part doesn’t feel like enough, try contracting the muscles or moving that part of the body for a few seconds and then holding it still for a few seconds before moving to the next.
3. Choosing to be disciplined (or not).
Discipline is a strange concept for humans. We desire “freedom” and yet, we need the structure of discipline. Discipline can feel good when you get the results you want from it. And it can feel bad while doing it (sometimes, anyway). I grew up thinking of discipline as a restriction or reprimand from my parents and teachers, especially in church and private school. As an adult, it took me a long time to change my relationship with discipline - to learn that it could be my best friend and greatest ally instead of my freedom’s worst enemy. My level of self-discipline is directly related to my level of freedom. When I work, I make money, and then get to spend time with my friends at great restaurants. When I don’t work, I have to stay home because I’m broke. There is a nuanced component of discipline, however, that we can’t miss. And that is knowing when to be gentle with yourself (always) when you miss an opportunity to be disciplined. Beating yourself up, or striving for perfection, is not helpful in the realm of being disciplined. Even when you miss a day at the gym, or forget to journal, or don’t work like you should, keep going. Don’t throw out all the work you’ve done thinking you need to start over. Just pick it back up. Keep going.
4. Recapping a conversation.
This is one of my favorite examples of self-awareness. Most of us talk to someone at least once a day. So whenever you do, go back and notice or recap what you talked about, how you expressed yourself, how well you listened, what you remember, or what perhaps caused an emotional reaction. This is not meant to be an opportunity to criticize yourself, but rather practice curiosity in learning how we speak and communicate with others. If you’re not used to this, start with a surface-level conversation with a coworker. How did it make you feel? Do you wish you would have expressed your true thoughts or feelings? How can you practice being more genuine to yourself in the next conversation? Try this with the lighter, less complex conversations and work your way up (or down, if you will) to the more serious, emotionally charged conversations you might have with partners, friends, and loved ones.
5. Taking in some beauty.
This is another favorite of mine. Go outside. Or look at some cool art. Breathe in the glory of the earth we live on. And most importantly, recognize that you, yeah, YOU, are part of it! Whether it’s standing in the sunshine, or taking a deep breath of cold air, or walking into the lobby of an art museum, or passing by the coolest building on your block, or even browsing through an online art gallery (or the Instagram page of an artist), take in the beauty of it. Think about the effort of that artist, the vulnerability, the gift of their expression. Think about the complexities of our earth spinning at just the right angle and speed to hold us all here on this earth. Engaging with beauty every day is probably the easiest and most fun example of self-awareness on this list.
Whether you’re looking for a full spiritual enlightenment, or a simple boost in evolution, these five examples of everyday self-awareness will help every human along in their journey. And of course, this is not an exhaustive list. If you have things that have helped you in your journey of self-awareness, let’s talk! Share your thoughts in the comments or reach out to me here. If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe and share this post. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Pinterest!