Are you hard on yourself? Do you find that you judge your progress or pace if life? Is your inner voice telling you that you’re not “there” yet—but that you should be? If this sounds familiar, now’s the perfect moment to pause to give yourself some much-deserved compassion and loving kindness by expanding your self-awareness.
I know firsthand that the journey of life can incredibly challenging. Just when you think you’re through the rough spots and life will be easy, another challenge seems to come along. You might find yourself saying, “Hey, Universe, I’ve had my share of troubles thrown at me! Could you ease up just a bit? Please!”
The idea of self-growth can seem painfully out of reach when the rigors of daily life keep you stuck and doing your best just to survive. If this is resonating with you—if you want to move forward but just feel too exhausted, overwhelmed, and fearful—have hope. Self-awareness and joyful fulfillment wait for everyone—not just those who seem to “have it all together.” In truth, the most lasting joys in life ultimately come from the learning and growing that happen when we slow down and embrace life’s challenges. It’s the journey—the overall process—that can foster incredible joy.
5 Strategies to Boost Self-Awareness
With a few basic tips—and lots of practice—you’ll be able to foster greater self-awareness and joy in your life. As you embrace these tips, it’s essential that you shower yourself with loving compassion—indeed, self-compassion plays a huge role in the creation of lasting joy. No matter what stage of life you’re in, the following tips will help you find and embrace your authentic self—that beautiful, joyful self who is waiting to be discovered and set free.
1. Set Positive Intentions Daily
Pause every morning to set a positive intention for the day. This is a vital first step, for the way you begin your morning will set the tone for the entire day. Whether you choose to set an intention for greater courage, flexibility, self-care, or compassion, allow yourself to nonjudgmentally notice the spaces in your day where you can bring this intention to life. The more you pay attention to your positive intention, the more it will take hold in your life as a whole.
2. Make Self-Care a Priority
Allow yourself a bit of self-care every day. This is a critical step, for self-care gives us the rest, psychological nourishment, and rejuvenating energy that allows us to be at our best. When you engage in self-care, you are telling yourself, “I am important. I deserve to treat myself well!”
Self-care needn’t be expensive or time-consuming, it simply needs to involve a bit of time that you have devoted to yourself to engage in something that feels nourishing—this could be time for reading, exercising, having a manicure, or playing in the garden.
3. Tune In to Your Emotions
Make friends with your emotions. As you learn to listen to your emotions, you’ll find that every emotion has a message. Sometimes we are afraid of the messages within our emotions—or simply don’t understand them—so it’s important to slow down to listen.
For example, you might be feeling angry because your partner consistently breaks dates with you. Many people are afraid to notice or feel their anger, so they push it aside or ignore it. However, this gives anger greater power, for it then festers and often turns to resentment. So, if you are feeling angry at your partner for not making your dates a priority, you might say, “I am feeling hurt and angry that you consistently break dates with me. I feel disrespected and sad when this happens. It’s important to me that you honor our dates—I deserve to be respected.” In this case, the anger clearly has a message: It hurts to feel disrespected! I want to be treated with kindness and respect.
The more you learn to make friends with your emotions—the more you honor your emotions—the more your self-awareness will grow!
4. Focus on Healthy Boundaries
Learn to notice when your boundaries feel too weak or too rigid. This is a process, so be patient with yourself. You might need to have strict boundaries with someone who tends to take advantage of you, and you might be able to have more fluid boundaries with someone who is emotionally aware and respectful.
When you feel as though your boundaries are not being respected, speak your truth with compassion. For example, if someone in your life ties you up with long, negative phone calls, you might say, “I feel really tired right now and am ready to get off the phone. I’ll be free to talk again this weekend for a half hour.” The stronger your boundaries become, the stronger you’ll feel inside.
5. Listen to Your Inner Voice
As you move forward on your journey, learn to listen to your instinct. Your inner voice knows a great deal about you and your needs. Although it might be tempting to let others make decisions for you, learn the power of taking input from others and using whatever is helpful to make your own decision. The more you take this approach, the stronger and more powerful you’ll feel.
As with all journeys, the challenges are part of the beautiful adventure. Allow your conscious self-work to unfold in its own way. Your journey to greater self-awareness is a process—embrace it every day with open arms. Trust that you have the power to move forward slowly and steadily—getting closer to the life of your dreams one step at a time.
When you’ve mastered the tips here and find yourself ready for the ‘next step’ in your journey to self-awareness, grab a copy of my book Joy from Fear. With real-life examples, easy-to-use tools, and life-changing exercises, Joy from Fear will help you understand your relationship with fear so you can finally embrace it and live a life filled with freedom and lasting happiness.