Before you can understand other people, you have to understand yourself. What annoys you? What excites you? One of the simplest ways to find out is to pay attention to how you feel.
Feelings, as we saw in Episode 1, aren’t just there to cause us to act funny. Feelings are a map, and self-awareness is how we read them.
Here’s what self-awareness entails:
1. Listening to your body. Our bodies speak their own language and react differently to different emotions. Our hearts beat faster when we’re scared or excited, and our stomachs clench up when we’re stressed. Learning to pay attention to these bodily cues helps us become better at identifying our emotions.
2. Observing, not judging. As humans, we love to classify things, but labeling our emotions as good or bad stops us from understanding why they’re there. Self-awareness requires suspending judgment in favor of understanding and letting emotions run their course.
3. Identifying what pushes your buttons and why. We all have our pet peeves—situations, events, or people that trigger negative emotions within us. Identifying what they are and then discovering what unmet needs might lie behind them are key steps in better understanding our emotional reactions and ourselves. Looking at pet peeves from the perspective of needs also helps us deal with them in more proactive and productive ways.
It can seem difficult to listen to your body, suspend judgment, and identify what pushes your buttons at first. Here are some tools that can help:
– Make a list of your likes and dislikes. Use this as inspiration.
– Pick one item from your list of dislikes. Try to figure out the source of your annoyance.
– Meditate. Here’s a free app to get you started.
– Keep a journal. Try putting out 750 words daily.
I hope you have fun getting to know yourself! In our next episode, we’ll cover self-regulation, aka the “art of self-mastery.” See you then!
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