Much has been said, written, and researched about self-awareness since its conception. Self-awareness has historically been associated solely with understanding how your thoughts, feelings, and belief systems impact you. It's known for being achieved through introspection, mindfulness, and meditation. While that is accurate, it does limit growth and can limit your overall potential when seeking a balanced, healthy, and satisfying life. Here’s why internal self-awareness only accounts for half of what you need to achieve balance. The other half? External self-awareness.
Complete self-awareness can be broken down into both internal and external self-awareness:
Both types are essential, but they are unrelated, kind of like mini golf verse traditional golf. They both require similar principles (18 holes, putting, and accuracy), but they require vastly different skills.
Therefore, introspection will only get you half of what is needed to reach your full potential, because it does nothing for your external self-awareness.
Here are two ways you can improve your external self-awareness while making little changes to your everyday routines:
- Ask for feedback. While it seems obvious, we often shy away from asking for feedback, because it makes us uncomfortable. But how else can we understand how people perceive us in various settings and environments if we continue to shy away from feedback? You can ask simple questions in your daily interactions to receive this feedback and consume the information. Here are some tips for productively using this skill:
- Read the room. While we don’t have access to the internal world of others, there are ways to learn how people are receiving you. Observe the body language and interactions that are happening around you, then spend time noticing patterns you see.
Both internal and external self-awareness has their benefits, the only way to reach your highest potential in all areas of your life is to cultivate and manage both the internal and external aspects of self-awareness. Push through the discomfort and fear of receiving feedback, and you will be excited to see what you can unlock for yourself by putting in the work!