5 Tips to Help You Acquire Personal Awareness and Enrich the Quality of Your Life
Conflict resolution professionals are trained in personal awareness, which helps them maintain impartiality and successfully assist others in resolving disputes. But it’s important for all of us to develop our own personal awareness. Having a clear perception of our strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivations, and emotions helps us to understand others and how they perceive us. Personal awareness can also help us prevent conflict in our personal and professional lives by enabling us to know how we respond to situations and individuals.
People with personal awareness are seen by others as professional and confident. That’s because they have recognized the significance of their roles, whatever they may be. As women, we tend to focus on breaking the glass ceiling rather than on the importance of other supporting roles. Often we feel that our performance in more traditional roles is not as valued by society. Personal awareness focuses on quality over quantity—it’s about how well you have performed your responsibilities, not how much you have accomplished.
The following tips can assist you in acquiring personal awareness to enrich the quality of your personal and professional life.
Know Your Role
Women juggle many roles. They fill each day with duties and events that require them to switch hats frequently throughout the day. Women in professional roles may find that they are less patient at home than they are at work.
Personal awareness helps us to recognize that we need to be present in whatever role we are required to take on at any given time. It is important that we are able to adapt and change our behavior as necessary. You may be a hard-core negotiator at the 8 a.m. court hearing, but you don’t need to be confrontational at the 4 p.m. PTA meeting.
But personal awareness is about more than your external actions. It also emphasizes an internal focus, because this is what allows us to engage with others in an appropriate manner. For example, a child psychologist may want to provide comfort to a child patient by hugging him or her, but resists doing so because it could ultimately misrepresent the role that he or she has in that child’s life.
We all have triggers (people or situations) that provoke strong emotional reactions. The key to being able to react with a thoughtful response rather than a knee-jerk reaction is to know what our triggers are. Perhaps a raised voice or indecisiveness pushes your buttons. Once you recognize this, you will be better able to manage your response and avoid a negative reaction that might lead to conflict.
Give Yourself a Physical Reminder
You can enhance your personal awareness by setting up physical repetitive practices that remind you to be present in the moment. This may be pulling up the blinds when you enter your office in the morning, or touching a pendant on a necklace your spouse gave you before responding to him or her in a heated moment. This repetitive, physical action allows you to pause, assess the situation, and determine what is needed of you.
Practicing mindfulness exercises can help you clear your mind and be present in the moment. Common mindfulness practices include breathing exercises, listening to a favorite song, or even just sitting for a period of time with your eyes closed. Professional athletes often use mindfulness exercises to visualize accomplishing a challenging physical goal. While you may not be trying to break a world record, the benefits of mindfulness can help you to be present in the moment and more aware of your thoughts and reactions so that you can avoid a potential conflict.
Explore Your Moral Limitations
The most important factor in achieving personal awareness is to know your moral limitations. You may encounter an ethically compromising situation or be asked to work with a person whose values do not align with your own. If you are aware of your personal principles, you will be able to react appropriately to whatever conflict may arise because of moral differences, in both your personal and your professional life.
Following these suggestions can help you enhance your own personal awareness, which will enable you to communicate more effectively with others, react appropriately in difficult situations, and alleviate conflict at work and at home.9