Rodion Kutsaev

As children, we are taught all kinds of skills. When we first enter the world, our parents try to teach us how to talk. And when we are old enough to start school, our teachers are there to help us develop academic skills. Then we teach ourselves the extra things such as making friends, or finding hobbies that we enjoy. But there is something that most of our elders forget to teach us — how to be self-aware.

While self-awareness is a skill that is typically gained and nurtured over time, it seems that much of our generation (and even generations before us) have neglected to understand themselves and the motives behind their actions. Not every action has some grand story behind it, but it is easy to become so self-absorbed that we forget to keep ourselves in check. Self-awareness comes with being able to understand how to look at yourself from an objective standpoint. Think about it: did you have a right to be upset about that thing, or did selfish ambition get in the way of seeing things from another perspective?

Recognizing your own self-awareness can be tricky. It is seemingly impossible to improve if you don’t even know what is wrong in the first place. To gain a sense of oneself, you can start by briefly evaluating your own personal motivations and emotions. Take time to really think about why you may act a certain way or why you choose to say some of the things you do. Being in touch with our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and strengths/weaknesses are all a part of being self-aware. If you’ve never given it any thought, it is possible you are causing damage to yourself or others. Self-awareness allows us to understand others clearer, and understand how we may be perceived. Everyone cares (at least a little bit) about what their peers think about them. Do not let yourself be defined by other people’s thoughts about you, but be aware of how your words and actions may affect your environment. To put it another way, be considerate of what you do and say (because it may come across in a way you didn’t intend), but also don’t do or say certain things out of fear of what people may think.

Holding yourself accountable is so important. The reality is that we are not always going to have people in our lives who are totally honest with us. So why not be totally honest with yourself? If people became more in tune with how their actions affected the people around them, there would be a lot less conflict within relationships. When we are quick to anger it is a reflection of what is going on in our hearts. Examining and fully understanding your emotions will be beneficial for a number of reasons. Emotional and mental health may improve upon becoming more aware of what is going on within.

It is a choice to be self-aware. We are in community with one another, and we build strong relationships by knowing people on a deep level. It is time we build a deeper relationship with ourselves. Taking the time to know yourself, and learning how to understand your motives behind your actions is not selfish — it is absolutely necessary.