Introducing Yourself to You: Self-Awareness and How to Cultivate It

by | Dec 11, 2023 | Adulting, Anxiety, Counseling, DBT, Highly Sensitive People (HSP), Online Therapy, Self-Esteem

Introducing Yourself to You: Self-Awareness and How to Cultivate It

By Gianna Calo and Kaelyn Dicks

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In today’s world, our attention is regularly being called upon. There are new trends on social media, global controversies, work–related stressors, daily social situations to navigate, and much more. When we are given so many things to address externally, it’s not uncommon for many people to lose touch with what’s going on internally. This is where self-awareness comes into play. Being self-aware allows us to be better at monitoring our emotions, intuitions, and sensations so that we are then able to address our circumstances so that we can show up as the best versions of ourselves possible. 

What is Self-Awareness?

Over the years, self-awareness has gained a lot of attention in several areas of life— whether it be the workplace, relationships, or social scenes. It is known as the ability to reflect on yourself through an objective lens. The term is constantly being tossed around in conversations, but what exactly is true self-awareness? There are two ways in which you can actively be self-aware: internally and externally. When we are internally self-aware, we can recognize what we value. Having internal self-awareness means knowing our needs, strengths, and weaknesses. For example, you can sense and identify when you feel frustrated with somebody. This helps us navigate what to do next to cope and also learn our patterns. 

External self-awareness on the other hand is an attentiveness toward how you are being perceived by those around you. An example of exteroception is being aware of your surroundings, such as the bustle of the coffee shop you’re sitting in or the arguing of family members in the background. A lack thereof may mean you’re often surprised by what people say when they express the impression you give them, but in access, having a high level of external self-awareness could potentially lead you to prioritize the needs and wants of the people around you over your own. While there are two different approaches to understanding self-awareness, the reality is that it’s important to find a balance between them. Practicing self-awareness is a critical process that affects all aspects of our lives and well-being. It is a skill worth learning for the sake of creating a life for ourselves that we enjoy living.

Benefits of Self-Awareness 

When you cultivate the skill of self-awareness, you’re able to grasp a bit more firmly who you are and why you do what you do. Exploring self-awareness provides a plethora of benefits for our emotional and social wellness! Let’s look at a few areas self-awareness helps to improve: 


As we embark on the process of cultivating self-awareness, we gain the ability to analyze and map out how we function in our environment, which in turn helps us develop and grow as people. We then can acknowledge the parts of ourselves we want to either change or utilize more often. Having self-awareness also means that we can narrow down the tactics we choose to use for said self-development. For example, you may know that journaling just isn’t your thing, it isn’t a habit that sticks, so you may choose to chat with a therapist instead for working out your problems.  

Empathy and Relationships

An integral part of cultivating self-awareness is ensuring that we are aware of how we affect others and make others feel. This requires empathy, cognizance, and some emotional intelligence, which are qualities that are useful in building meaningful relationships. In the workplace, for example, taking small steps to show you’re paying attention to your coworkers, even if they are simple actions like eye contact or open body language when they’re speaking, can build a level of companionship. The importance of balance between internal and external self-awareness comes into play here. When we know how behaviors and tones of voice make us feel, that then gets translated into how we behave and moderate how we speak to others. The work we do to understand ourselves is transferable to understanding the people around us.

Communication Skills

     Knowing yourself better means you can recognize the way something someone does affects you. You become better able to understand your reactions and can then explain to your loved ones what their behaviors mean to you. The empathy you gain also helps you in your delivery of this information, so you can communicate your truth in a way that is conducive to building the kind of relationship you want to build with whomever you’re speaking to.

This applies to people-pleasing behaviors as well. Having self-awareness enables you to know what your non-negotiables are so people-pleasing becomes less of a habit. Let’s say you struggle to say “no” to an overbearing family member. As you take the time to study yourself and how much you say “yes” even when you don’t want to, you learn that taking action to set boundaries is crucial for maintaining your well-being.


As you grow and learn, you continue to develop your sense of self, you become more conscious of what is true for you and what isn’t. No one can know you better than you know yourself, so when you develop this balanced level of self-awareness, you can more confidently gravitate towards what resonates with you and away from what doesn’t.

Ways to Cultivate Self-Awareness 

If you struggle with self-awareness and want to look into how you can practice it, look no further! Here are five ways you can nourish self-awareness and weave it into your life. 

– Create Time 

To practice self-awareness, you must create the time and space to do so. This takes effort, but dedicating the time to be alone and work on yourself matters. 

– Practice Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is a big part of self-awareness. In our everyday lives, it can be easy to say or do things that we aren’t proud of or may regret. Being mindful of yourself as you go about living life allows you to make more informed decisions in terms of your behaviors. 

– Get Feedback

Another good way to improve self-awareness is to seek insight from honest and trustworthy loved ones. They can help guide you and answer any questions you may have about your behavior. This of course involves careful choosing of whose opinions you trust. You don’t want to ask anyone who may not have the right intentions. Remember to stay open-minded as you could hear something you don’t necessarily want to.

– Journal 

Lastly, journaling out your emotions and thoughts about your self-awareness can help you process them. Journaling gets your thoughts out of your head so you can quite literally observe them and reflect.

When we take the time to consider how we affect the spaces we’re in and how those spaces affect us, we are taking one more step toward awareness, but being self-aware takes practice. In the meantime, it may benefit you to reach out in search of a therapist as a trained and objective voice of reason. 

To discuss how therapy could help you during this season of your life, please contact me or schedule your free 15 minute consultation.






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