What’s self-awareness? And how’s it important?
By Atip Muangsuwan
“Mindfulness is a prerequisite of self-awareness. And self-awareness is a prerequisite of self-awakening.” – Coach Atip Muangsuwan
One of my young executive clients showed up with his interesting topic for a discussion before our actual coaching session. His topic of discussion was… “What is self-awareness and how important is it?”
Our talk went on as the followings.
Client: From our last session, we discussed about how to practice mindfulness meditation. And you said that mindfulness is vitally important. It has many values and benefits to everyone, particularly to transformational leaders and their emotional intelligence level.” And nowadays, I’ve been hearing the term, “self-awareness” very often. So, could you please share with me… what self-awareness actually is and the importance of it?
Coach Atip: Certainly, I could. I’d like to say… “Mindfulness is a prerequisite of self-awareness. And self-awareness is a prerequisite of self-awakening.”
When we’re mindful of our own thinking, feeling and doing in the present moment, we’ll then have a better understanding of ourselves. That better understanding of ourselves is called, “Self-awareness”. Once that understanding is developed into insights until we’ve become awaken. That’s called, “Self-awakening”. In coaching term, we call… “Aha moment or state of epiphany”. Or it’s what ancient Greek scientist, Archimedes called, “Eureka”.
Client: Wow! That’s very clear definition to me.
Coach Atip: Actually, there are 2 types of self-awareness. The worldly self-awareness and the spiritual self-awareness.
Client: What are the differences between the two?
Coach Atip: The 2 types of self-awareness are differentiated based on the ways we practice them and the benefits we gain from them.
With respect to the worldly self-awareness, the ways we can practice the skill are such as…
- Be a good observer of oneself. Notice and observe what and how we’re thinking, feeling and doing or behaving throughout each day.
- Ask questions of oneself, especially the ‘what’ question.
- Practice self-reflection daily.
- Ask other people for their constructive feedback or perception about us. People’s constructive feedback can act as a good mirror for our behaviors or performance.
- Keep a journal. Journaling is a great way to pay attention to what’s going on in our private and public self. It will also help us recognize patterns that either serve us or not.
- Do the strength test such as the ‘VIA Character Strengths’ Test. The test result would tell you about your strengths and how to optimize and make use of them.
- Use visualization technique. Visualize the best version of oneself. Ideal selves reflect our hopes, dreams, aspirations, and speak to our skills, abilities, and accomplishments that we wish to attain. As we lean into our strengths to become the better version of oneself, we can use this idealized self to keep moving in the right direction and not be distracted by setbacks and other obstacles.
The benefits and importance of worldly self-awareness are as follows:
- It frees us from our assumptions, judgements, prejudices and biases.
- It helps us be more empathetic to people with different perspectives.
- If we’re leaders whose self-perception matches others’ perceptions, we’ll be more likely to empower, include, and recognize others.
- It gives us the power to influence outcomes as well as people.
- It allows us to understand things from multiple perspectives.
- It helps us become better decision-makers.
- It gives us more self-confidence — so, as a result, we communicate with clarity and intention.
- It gives us a greater ability to regulate our emotions.
- It decreases stress.
- It makes us happier.
- It helps us build better relationships.
- We can better clarify our values, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses.
- We experience a sense of personal and social control as well as higher job satisfaction.
You can see that there are so many benefits of the worldly self-awareness. In short, the people who become highly ‘worldly self-aware’ will master their self-control, transformational leadership capability, emotional intelligence and social intelligence.
Client: Wow! The second wow! The ‘worldly self-awareness’ is so powerful and impactful to me as a leader!
Coach Atip: That’s right. By the way, let’s get to know the second type of self-awareness. Let’s see whether this one would make you speechless or give another wow!
This one I call, “The Spiritual self-awareness”. And the only way we can practice the skill is…
“Mindfulness Meditation”. There’s no other way around! When we practice this type of meditation correctly and consistently over a period of time, we’ll be able to make a shift from the state of mindfulness to spiritual awareness to spiritual awakening.
I wrote about the mindfulness meditation so thoroughly and deeply in my article: “How to practice mindfulness meditation.” You can read about it if you’d like to know more in depth of how to practice it. For the benefit of time, I won’t bring it to discuss in this session.
The one-and-only benefit or the importance of spiritual self-awareness is:
To reach the spiritual awakening state by gaining the ultimate wisdom and ultimately attain enlightenment (nirvana).
The ultimate wisdom in Buddhism is only found by the mind that has sufficient quality to be able to see and understand “The 3 Characteristics”. The so-called, “Tri-Luk” in Buddhism. If you want to learn more about “The 3 Characteristics”, you can read from my article: The 2 types of meditation.
Client: Wow! The third wow! I’m totally speechless! I’ll definitely read your article on this. Because my ultimate goal in life is to reach the spiritual awakening state!
Coach Atip: Definitely, you will! You’ll have to practice spiritual self-awareness before you’ll become spiritually awaken. And before spiritual self-awareness, you’ll have to practice mindfulness meditation as a prerequisite.
Client: Thank you very much for your sharing. As a leader, I think I’ll need to practice the worldly self-awareness in order to achieve the worldly successes. And to achieve my ultimate spiritual goal, undoubtedly, I’ll have to practice mindfulness meditation.
Coach Atip: Wow! The fourth wow! Well said indeed!
After my client and I finished our “What is self-awareness and how important is it?” discussion, we continued on with our coaching session as per schedule.
If you’re interested in discussing or being coached on any leadership, emotional intelligence, mindfulness meditation and spiritual topics, we can get in touch via my homepage @ Home – The Best Coach International (thebest-coach-international.com)
Dedicated to your success thru coaching,
Advocate of ‘Coach-Facilitator-Mentor-Strategist-Diplomat’ skills and self-transcendence leadership