In this module, you will reflect on the question “Who am I?” Let’s do a deep dive into your personal passions, interests, causes, and skills. This exercise requires a high level of introspection – a healthy exercise and the first step towards something we call self-awareness.
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is having a deep understanding of your own emotions, values, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. These aspects of the self may be innate and natural to you, or they can be characteristics that you have developed over time. Knowing yourself better helps you to make better decisions that are aligned and in-tune with your unique personhood.
Although each person has their own unique set of characteristics, it may be a challenge to picture the self in its entirety. Perhaps you have a clearer idea of your weaknesses than your many talents and skills. On the flip side, maybe you have a good grasp of your strengths and favorite things but never thought about how you come across to people.
That’s why it’s important to truly know yourself inside and out. We call that internal self-awareness and external self-awareness1.
Internal self-awareness represents your perception of the self; it requires mindful introspection and self-criticism. On the other hand, external self-awareness is brought about by understanding how other people see you; this requires openness to feedback and criticism from others and the wisdom to utilize these new insights, whether positive or negative, towards improving yourself.
People who are able to master the balance between self-reflection and seeking feedback can cultivate lasting, positive qualities that arise from self-awareness, such as:
The bottom line is that the advantages of self-awareness are far-reaching, especially for young people (like you!) at the crossroads of major decisions. Going further, the practice of self-awareness is a lifelong endeavor and can be applied to almost all aspects of life – personal development, careers, and even relationships.
1Harvard Business Review. 2018. Self-Awareness (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series). Boston, MA:Harvard Business Review Press.