True self-awareness takes courage. We have to be ready to look within and find things we don’t like and perhaps feel unable to change. This is why the practice of a form of COMPASSIONATE self-awareness is so important. The practice of looking within, reflecting on actions and words with a strong dose of compassion.
When we receive external feedback, it may come with a strong dose of compassion and kindness, and sometimes it doesn’t. You may have been told you are too harsh, too bossy, or too controlling. When it comes from one person, listen and assess. When it comes from two people, listen harder. When it comes from three people, pause and REALLY listen. Is what they are saying true? If so, can I do anything about it?
Self-awareness helps us to align with our values. If we are not self-aware, how can we know we are being the person we would like to be?
What are YOUR Blockages to INTERNAL self-awareness?
It might be SELF-CRITICISM
This is when we are internally self-aware, but immediately move into criticism, and it becomes a painful experience that we don’t want to repeat. This could sound like: “I am aware I am feeling angry about work, but I am taking it out on my partner. I’m a terrible person”
Another block might be the FEAR OF FEELING EMOTIONS. When we are internally self-aware and big, scary feelings come up that feel uncontrollable, we learn it is safer to not look, or to only look for a second. Like the example before, I’m taking my work anger out on my partner, and I have the thought that I’m a terrible person and then I FEEL shame. I can’t tolerate that feeling, so I block the self-awareness and stop being curious.
What blocks EXTERNAL self-awareness?
This seems to be dependent to a certain extent on feedback from others. How well we receive feedback often depends on our self-esteem. Do we feel strong enough to receive constructive feedback?
What blocks have you had to self-awareness? Share in the comments if you feel comfortable doing so.
Eurich, T. (2019). What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It). [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: