Have you ever wondered how you fail to complete your test or an exam in time, when all others do it within the stipulated time? Why sometimes you can’t decide what to wear and what to eat or even where to go, when provided with two options at the same time? Sometimes you feel unloved or low confidence and feel like I can’t do stuff like others do and the list goes on.

Do you want to be among the students who are very good at time management, are able to make quick decisions like others, and who are easy going and confident by learning the trick of trade?

The secret skill that makes others standout and you feeling lost is the ‘self-awareness’ skill. Self -awareness is knowing oneself better. It may also mean that knowing our personality or individuality is self-awareness.

Let me make it simple for you to understand. It is:

• Knowing what we like and dislike,

• Knowing what others like and dislike,

• Knowing what makes us angry or why we do something what we do,

• Knowing our life choices or food we eat, the profession we want to choose etc.

• Knowing how your words or actions affect other people around you.

How being self-aware can help us succeed

On a personal level: If you are a self-aware individual, you can think clearer and better, learn more from your past experiences, do more good, feel more for others, understand yourself and others better. Who would not want to be able to do all such stuff?

Nothing is more essential than to know yourself well and make the most out of your life. Having a better understanding of yourself is like having the ability to explore endless options in life for success.

On the academic level: Self-awareness in the process of studies is also pertinent, as being a self-aware student, you will comprehend the best ways in which you can grasp the concepts in class, memorise your lessons well and at a pace at which you can be an avid learner.

Having self-awareness will help you sustain your focus on your goals, prioritising homework over other activities. Also it would help you to figure out which subject to study first, and to finish work in due course of time, including to check your answer sheet or assignment before handing over it to the teacher to avoid mistakes and secure a position in class

On the social level: Being self-aware will help you socialise in a better fashion and be of help to others around us as well.

When you understand yourself better, it’s easier for you to build positive self-esteem. Then making friends would be really easy and no struggle in school with friendships.

Being aware of your likes and dislikes, you will choose friends whom you can get along with better and will have lasting friendships and altruistic behaviours.

On the personal level: Being self-aware will help you succeed on personal level.

For example, we all sometimes say to ourselves that we need to get rid some of the annoying habits that we have. Self-awareness will help us change those too.

How to improve your self-awareness

Now you would be interested to know more about how you can learn to be self-aware, improve yourself and enhance your skills.

I will share some simple ways of how to develop or improve your self-awareness skills and you can easily do these activities.

Here are some simple ideas that you can use to improve your self-awareness:

• Make a personal diary or a journal and write in it. Answers to questions such as “Who am I?”, like you would write a paragraph on ‘Myself’ in school, if you could recall. It was also part of instilling self-awareness skill in you.

The questions may include: My favourite colour, friend, hobby, pet, food, dress, shoes, picnic spot, relative, sibling, and the list goes on. Now you will know yourself better and stand for yourself when you have to make a choice between options.

• Next, learn to differentiate between a want and a need. A need is something you can’t survive without, whereas a want is something you wish to have.

Is Kit Kat or Dairy Milk chocolate something you want or something your body needs? What about fruits and vegetables?

This insight will help you understand the difference. You will know what you want and why you want it, so you will be able to make clear and right choices in future.

• You can also know about your friends and become aware of their needs too. Ask your friends to create a list of their favourite things. You also write your own and then compare.

You would notice that many of you have many things common, but there will be no one exactly like you. So you will have a better understanding of how others can be the same but not identical. And one must accept others with their differences.

• There are also physical traits that we need to be aware about us. You can check your height, weight and other physical features and see how these are different, like eye colour, skin colour, hands, feet, ears, hair, nails, etc. These will make you aware of yourself, including how much cold or hot you feel and how sensitive is the skin when we go in sun, etc.

These things will give you self-acceptance also and you will better able to choose which colour goes well with your skin tone and which style of dress suits you. These will improve your overall self-confidence by enhancing yourself-awareness skills.

• Next, you may start using ‘I’ statements such as “I want to do this” or “I would like to buy this toy” or “I need to sleep”, so it is clear to you as well as others that it is something you desire or need, rather than staying quiet and not asking for things you need, or even if you feel bad, you don’t say it out.

For example, you may say “I feel bad when you hit me, so stay away from this next time,” etc. ‘I’ statements have effects on our psyche and can make us win friends over enemies.

• Self-reflection is another way of becoming self-aware, by setting aside time on daily basis to look at yourself as a person and in all the roles you play outside yourself, and reflect how good or bad your behaviour has been overall.

It will help you learn what good you did and how you felt and if you made any mistakes, like hurt someone, etc. And it will also make you aware of how could you make up for it.

So these were some easy ways in which you can have self-awareness and hope you all take advantage of the free time due to no schools and start to explore yourselves and learn more about yourself and others.

Wish you luck on this journey of self-exploration.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 5th, 2021

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