Cognizance or the commonly used word- self-awareness means being conscious of one’s own character, personality or individuality. It is basically an individual’s conscious understanding of one’s own feelings, motives and desires. A person should be able to assess himself objectively and have a sound knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses, then only can he be truly called a self-aware person.
Though it may be considered near to impossible to maintain an objective view of oneself in totality, certain degree of self-awareness is attainable.
Two broad categories of self-awareness are considered: internal self-awareness and external self-awareness.
Internal awareness represents our feelings, emotions, our social behavior, our values, passion, ambitions along with the negative aspects such as anxiety, stress or depression.
External self-awareness means being aware of how others see us in terms of the internalized factors.
Being self-aware has a lot of benefits to it:
- It can be a forward approach towards self-development. Knowing one’s positives can boost the morale and knowing the negatives can be an encouragement to put efforts on changing for the better.
- It builds a new perception which leads to a better overall assessment.
- It also improves decision making. If we work creatively as well as productively, it will eventually give a boost to our self-esteem. We can become better at our jobs, better team players, a good asset in a community, develop social skills and ultimately enhance our self-confidence.
There can be certain methods that can be practiced daily to cultivate self-awareness:
- Create time and a safe space for yourself: Avoid distraction such as technology and try to connect with yourself.
- Mindfulness and introspection, if done right can help us in better processing of ourselves. Being mindful means living in the present. Occasional daydreaming doesn’t harm anyone but it is important to be aware of what is happening around you. You wouldn’t want to miss on any moment of your life.
- Meditation also creates a peaceful head space and increases our focus and concentration. It can lead to filtering of unwanted thoughts. Often times we fail to be self-aware because we are too busy thinking too much even about little issues. Meditation eases your brain and proves to be a good practice to remain calm.
- Recognize your internal conflicts and try channelizing them in the form of writing. Journaling your thoughts can later serve to be a record of your inner state and eventually turn into a very productive hobby. With time, you can always go back and see how far you have come. A journal or a diary can fulfill this for you.
- Practice listening: Try to pay attention to the speaker and his body language. Don’t try to judge or evaluate anyone on unfounded bias. This will help you point the things you don’t like about other people. Often the things that bothers us about other people can be synonymous with our own habits.
- Lean on feedback from people you are close with: They will be the best ones to give you a feedback because these people would be rooting for your growth and not deliberately try to be a hindrance to it.
If you practice this daily, you will gradually see a clear image of your personality from scratch. You just need to pay attention to the different pieces of yourself, as in the different traits of you that make up your entire being. In the end, you will see yourself become the best version of yourself.