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Posts Tagged ‘self-awareness’

Since my last blog article From Languishing to Flourishing, I have continued to ponder on what it means to flourish. Today’s blog post was inspired by this quote by Robert Fulghum… “‘Who do you think you are?’ That’s the big one, isn’t it? A flourishing life depends on how you answer that.” 

The quest for self-knowledge has fascinated philosophers and sojourners alike for millennia. Socrates told us that “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” So basically, we need to know ourselves before we can know anything else. Self-Awareness is the ability to be aware of one’s inner life—one’s emotions, thoughts, behaviors, values, preferences, strengths, attitudes, etc., and how this inner life impacts behavior.

Person holding cell phone with reflection of own face

There is great benefit to knowing oneself. When you know yourself well, you can:

  • Live happier
  • Make better choices
  • Resist social pressure
  • Strengthen resilience
  • Boost self-confidence
  • Understand and tolerate others
  • Live with vitality and enjoyment

Author Meg Selig uses the acronym VITALS to help us understand how to achieve greater self-knowledge.

Values – Even by just thinking about your values, you’re more likely to act in accordance with them. What’s most important to you?

Interests – What are your hobbies, likes, activities? You can ask yourself these questions: What draws your attention? What piques your curiosity? What concerns you?

Temperament – This is the tendencies we were born with. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you like the big picture or the details? Do you plan ahead, or figure it out as you go?

Activities Around the Clock – What is your best time of day? Are you a morning or evening person? How do your biorhythms affect your day?

Life Mission and Goals – What have been the most meaningful events in your life… and how have those events impacted and shaped who you are?

Strengths – What are you really good at? What character strengths do you have? What do other people compliment you on? Knowing your strengths can boost your confidence. Additionally, understanding your weaknesses can give you a realistic picture of yourself and help guide you in areas to improve upon.

For more ideas and a meditation on how to advance your self-awareness, see this post by Harvard Medical School. According to this post, most people tend to overestimate their level of self-awareness. What can you learn about yourself this week? It just might surprise you!

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County

Sources:

Advance your self-awareness. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Jan 13, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/advance-your-self-awareness

SEL for Adults: Self-Awareness and Self-Management.” Greater Good in Education. 2019. https://ggie.berkeley.edu/my-well-being/sel-for-adults-self-awareness-and-self-management/

Selig, M. “Know Yourself? 6 Specific Ways to Know Who You Are.” Psychology Today. Mar 9, 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201603/know-yourself-6-specific-ways-know-who-you-are

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Psychologist Carl Rogers believed that each of us have one basic motive in life: to self-actualize, meaning that our “ideal self” (who we would like to be) is congruent with our “self -image” (how we see ourselves). To achieve this balance, we must be living an authentic life.

What does it mean to live an authentic life?

According to Rogers’ theory, to live an authentic life, you must first understand what your beliefs and values are. Once you understand those core values, you maintain a balance by living according to those beliefs and values.

Authentic life = beliefs and values + actions and behaviors

It isn’t always about making waves, standing out in a crowd, or making sure you are unique or different; it is about being comfortable in your skin without worrying about how you compare to the rest of society.

There are health implications when we are living an authentic life. Those whose actions and behaviors are typically in line with their beliefs and values reap the benefits of feeling optimistic about life and tend to have positive self-esteem and an overall healthy psychological wellbeing. When we are out of sync, that is when life can become stressful, overwhelming, and discouraging.

To nurture self-authenticity, strive for the following:

  1. Awareness. The knowledge and acceptance that you are not just “one” thing (ex. extroverted versus introverted); rather you are multi-faceted with an understanding of your motives, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, goals, and aspirations.
  2. Unbiased Processing of Self-relevant Information. Objectively looking at our own positive and negative self-aspects, feelings, internal experiences, and private knowledge without denying the truth, distorting reality, or exaggerating (to create a more positive or favorable self-image).
  3. Behavior. Behaving according to our beliefs, values, preferences, and perceived needs rather than acting suitably to please society, obtain recognition or rewards, or to avoid punishment.
  4. Relational Orientation. Being yourself, open and honest in your actions and motives, in your relationships with others.

Further, you can practice these five things to help you live an authentic life:

  1. Openness to new experiences. Allow for ambiguity in situations and a willingness to view events without defensively distorting or censoring so that you can be on a path of growth.
  2. Mindful living. Living fully in the moment, being flexible and adaptable as you view life as fluid and ever changing.
  3. Going with your gut. Trust your inner experiences to guide your behaviors.
  4. Freedom. The choice about how to respond and feel about experiences is up to you.
  5. Creativity. Use creativity in your approach to living, rather than reverting to an established set of rules of behavior that might be restrictive.

If you really want to make a positive impact on your world, be you! Walk your own path, stay true to yourself, and embrace the differences in others. What a wonderful world to be authentically you!  

Sources:

Goldman, B. M., & Kernis, M. H. (2002). The role of authenticity in healthy psychological functioning and subjective well-being. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 5(6), 18-20. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2002-11420-003

Kernis, M. H. & Goldman, B. M. (2006). A multicomponent conceptualization of authenticity: Theory and Research. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38.  https://depts.washington.edu/uwcssc/sites/default/files/hw00/d40/uwcssc/sites/default/files/The%20Authenticity%20Inventory.pdf

McLeod, S. (2008). Self-Concept. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/self-concept.html#image

McLeod, S. (2014). Carl Rogers Theory. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/carl-rogers.html

Wood, A. M., Linley, P. A., Maltby, J., Baliousis, M., & Joseph, S. (2008). The authentic personality: A theoretical and empirical conceptualization and the development of the Authenticity Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 55, 385–399. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.55.3.385

Written by: Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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feet

I don’t know about you, but 2018 was a whirlwind of a year for me! It was full of exciting events, like my younger son’s high school graduation, my daughter’s first year of high school and marching band, and several concerts that my husband and I attended. Professionally, I participated in a leadership program with extension colleagues from Ohio and 11 other states. I presented at two national conferences and a few here in Ohio as well. I attended numerous trainings in order to stay up-to-date on the latest information to better help meet the needs of the state. Finally, I taught numerous classes including parenting, fall prevention, food safety, mental health, nutrition, substance use prevention, and activity/exercise. All in all, it was a busy and exciting year.

photography

Each year I am required to enter information and data about the programs, presentations, classes, etc. that I have instructed or presented during that year. Being the procrastinator that I am, I usually wait until December OR January to start entering this required (by January 15th) information in to our tracking system. While every year I tell myself I am going to enter the data on a more regular basis, somehow December rolls around and I find the stack of papers and files still waiting for me. Putting this dreaded task off (yes, I dread entering data) until the end of the year or the beginning of the next year adds stress to my workload, but it also allows me to reflect back over the past year and to remember and think about those programs and classes that I might have forgotten. 

The leadership program that I participated in for about 10 months, incorporated reflection in to every session. This was not something I was accustomed to doing regularly, so it was a little awkward for me at first. I quickly realized the benefits of both individual and group reflection. Reflection is a very important component for success and growth, which is why the majority of us were participating in the program to begin with. In order to grow in our leadership abilities and competencies we had to be more self-aware and reflection certainly helps you become more aware.

Reflection serves many purposes and can be used for a variety of reasons including:

  1. Help create confidence.
  2. Make you responsible for yourself.
  3. Encourage innovation.
  4. Encourage engagement.
  5. Create an environment centered around learning.
  6. Increased self-awareness and character development.
  7. Increased diversity and relationships.
  8. Dialogue.
  9. Tools for growth.
transformation

So, if you are not accustomed to reflecting, start small. Perhaps set aside 5-15 minutes each day on your calendar to think about and reflect upon your day. Some people prefer to jot down some thoughts, others prefer to discuss their thoughts with someone. Think of some important questions that will help you process your day or to gain new insight, like, “What am I proud of?” or “If I lived today over again, what would I have done differently?”

As you practice reflection, you will gain more self-awareness. This can lead to more personal and professional satisfaction and success. Give yourself a break if reflection does not come easily. Keep looking for ways to incorporate reflection in to your personal and professional life to help keep you engaged and happy. I would love to hear what you have reflected on in 2018 or what you will be reflecting on in 2019.

Writer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage , Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Photo:

https://pixabay.com/en/feet-footwear-man-outdoors-person-1845598/

https://pixabay.com/en/photography-balls-mirroring-586888/

https://pixabay.com/en/transformation-awareness-awakening-2937517/

Sources:

Harmon, M. (2018). Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to School They Go. Live Smart Ohio Retrieved from: https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/uncategorized/harmon-416osu-edu/hi-ho-hi-ho-its-off-to-school-they-go/

Porter, J. (March 2017).  Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved at: https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-you-should-make-time-for-self-reflection-even-if-you-hate-doing-it

Eisenbach, B. (Feb. 2016). Student Reflection: A Tool for Growth and Development, Weekly Reflections Guide Teaching and Learning. Association for Middle Level Education. Retrieved from: https://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/586/Student-Reflection-A-Tool-for-Growth-and-Development.aspx

Walsh, D. (Dec. 2016). How Self-Reflection Can Make You a Better Leader. Kellogg Insight. Retrieved from: https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/how-self-reflection-can-make-you-a-better-leader

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