Key Challenges Faced With Introspection And Gaining Self-Awareness
Tasha Eurich, an executive coach, researcher, psychologist, and author, told Harvard Business Review that research shows 95% of people believe themselves to be self-aware even though only around 10% of people are. (Great IdeaCast) That is quite a gap between perception and reality. That means 85% of people are lying to themselves about being self-aware, whether they realize they're lying or not.
So, perhaps the biggest challenge we face as we attempt introspection to gain self-awareness is ourselves. We are our own biggest hurdle. The only way to move forward in self-awareness is by understanding your behaviors, reactions, and how you can better relate to other people, make good choices, and improve through personal growth. You have to deliberately expand self-awareness to do this.
First of all, what is self-awareness? It's a clear-cut perception of your personality, thoughts, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and beliefs. It's having a deep understanding of your thought processes and triggers. When you are self-aware, you are awake to the impact you have on your own life and the lives of the people around you.
And, what is introspection? It's the reflection that comes from self-awareness. It's based on the internal insight that we shape based on the examinations of your thoughts and feelings. Meanwhile, retrospection requires advanced metacognition skills. It's a much deeper dive into your feelings, and it's an active look at past events. Where you draw conclusions to constructively acknowledge what you have learned.
Your story binds you. It shapes your identity. It influences the way you relate to the world, whether it's in relationships, work, or otherwise. We store old news and allow triggers to bring those thoughts and feelings back to the fore, regardless of reality. That's what shapes your beliefs. That is what contributes to your perception of reality.
The Key Challenge
Ultimately, the key challenge you will face with introspection and self-awareness is you.
Self-awareness, retrospection, introspection… they're wonderful but sometimes they are inaccurate. Why? We base our internal quest on poor assumptions. As we become further entangled by our stories we are easily distracted by repetitive thoughts. We are too busy drowning in beliefs, assumptions, and perceptions we have borrowed from others. So, we begin at the wrong starting line, thus leading us to ask the wrong questions. You won't gain self-awareness if you can't ask the right question.
When you start by asking why you open the door to justifications and excuses. You have an assumption to jump on, you take it personally, and formulate answers based on biased data. It feels true… yet it's wrong. Sometimes confidence can overtake rightness. When you continuously ask why you find ways to reinforce the reasons without investigating whether they are rational.
There are two distinct types of self-awareness and both are necessary to see yourself clearly.
· The Actor's View
This is who you think you are. It's what you think your values, aspirations, motives, fears, drive, and reactions are.
· The Observer's View
This is the version of you other people know based on obvious behavior and actions.
The difference between the two can be great, but they're not related to each other. Just because you have a clear view of who you are doesn't mean that you have a deep awareness of how others see you.
There is usually a gap between these two things and we communicate one thing while doing another. It's the gap between the actor's view and the observer's view where the most hurt is caused. Your perception of the world is a reflection of your self-awareness.
It's time to do the work.
· Ask what, not why.
· Confront limiting beliefs, no matter how deeply held they are.
· Permit yourself to be vulnerable.
· Don't make assumptions about how well you know yourself.
· Commit to seeing things through different eyes.
· Pay attention to your self-talk.
· Get comfortable with discomfort.
Through self-awareness, you can shape your identity and mindset. Don't be afraid to explore yourself.