Increasing Self-Awareness

How we see ourselves informs how we react to different situations and how we relate to other people. Think about the skills, knowledge, experience and personal attributes you bring into your work with children and young people.  At a deeper level, you need a sense of who you are that is grounded in reality. Think about both your abilities and characteristics and identify what you see as your “signature strength” i.e. What are your natural qualities and characteristics?

Factors which may get in the way of increasing self–understanding include always insisting you are right so that you risk not seeing any shortcomings; having excessive pride which can lead to your putting unrealistic expectations on yourself, which in turn can lead to excessive pressure, and finally unfulfilled potential because you think that you are not up to the challenge.

What can you do about this? It starts with identifying your strengths and making a conscious effort to use them. If this is not possible, think about how you can approach your work so that you can use your strengths as much as possible; simply identify your natural abilities and apply them at work. Enhancing and building upon them will make work more satisfying.

Think about how you can make the connection between your work and personal life, so that you are able to integrate elements of each. You may also find it helpful to practice relaxation techniques.

Working with teachers and social workers illustrates that the top priority for workers involves receiving recognition for their performance and being treated with respect. Self-awareness helps when dealing with criticism because you can either see it as an opportunity to learn and in doing so avoid the risk of future failure (leading to disappointment and feelings of failure) , or you can simply not take on other people’s criticism if you see it as not being valid.

People with a strong sense of their own identity have higher levels of work satisfaction, personal well-being and over all life satisfaction. Higher levels of self-awareness are associated with confidence is one’s ability to use judgement. Low self-esteem and under-estimating your abilities can inhibit you in looking for new opportunities and achieving your potential, you also tend to blame yourself for everything that goes wrong and it can be associated with depression.

On the other hand people with an inflated self-image often feel at odds with the world and their arrogance can drive people away. Learning how to work more mindfully can increase levels of self-awareness, which in turn can improve the way that you work with children and young people.