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Unlike at any time in the past, the focus on self-development has more or less reached a feverish pitch. Cue the self-help articles, how-to guides and the millions of resources available online and offline for this very purpose.
Yet, what only a few of these articles, posts, podcasts or videos will tell you is that the real genesis of self-development lies in the all-important, yet underrated, quality of self-awareness, which is enhanced by mindful living.
Do you know who you are and what you’re capable of?
If you don’t know who you are, how can you know what needs to change?
At the heart of self-development lies the yearning to change. Unfortunately, with the self-help niche being a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s hard to trust, instinctively, which direction you need to go in.
That is, of course, unless you are in tune with your thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors and are aware of your strengths and limitations. This way, you know which areas of your personality require real change and which aspects of yourself you’re happy to leave the way they are - AKA self-awareness.
Self-awareness engenders kindness and compassion - especially towards yourself
One of the key aspects of mindful practices is the non-judgmental observance and acknowledgement of the thoughts, feelings, and sensations you experience, even when it proves to be challenging.
In this way, self-awareness is deeply rooted in mindfulness because it allows you to dig deep into yourself and understand why you react and respond the way you do to certain things.
More important, however, is the underlying kindness and compassion inherent to mindful living and self-awareness. They teach you to accept your thoughts and feelings as legitimate and process them in healthier ways. This serves a two-pronged objective: Becoming more self-aware while accepting parts of yourself you’ve struggled to accept.
Now, more than ever, this quality is one of the most important aspects of self-development.
You can’t become a ‘better person’ without understanding your real motivations and desires
Trying to become a better person, whether this means a better human being, partner, parent, child, caregiver, employer, employee or anything else, without knowing what your inherent motivations are is futile.
Even if your motivations are selfish, it’s important to acknowledge them and find ways of reconciling your needs and wants with the wellbeing of other people. Trying to avoid this awareness only leads to frustrating interactions, poor performance, and growing self-resentment.
Know yourself and understand if your self-development goals are a reflection of your own values or those of the world around you.
How you can become more self-aware
Self-awareness is a gift - one that you have to cultivate and work towards over time.
What can help you on your journey to better understand and know yourself is mindfulness, as opposed to absentmindedness. The latter is one of the greatest enemies to self-awareness and more meaningful living.
It’s too easy to get caught up in our thinking, hopes, fears, judgments and other thought processes that constantly remove us from our reality. Mindfulness helps us overcome these and be more ‘present’ in everything we do.
This helps us gradually understand parts of ourselves that, otherwise, lay hidden underneath the surface.
Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment fully, with all our senses. As discussed, this needs to be done non-judgmentally and purposefully. Self-awareness comes trickling in when you’re calm, grounded and your thoughts are clear, all of which takes place when you let go of the tight control you think you have over reality.
Unlock greater self-awareness for authentic self-development; the secret is mindfulness
Self-development is a journey that lasts a lifetime. Regardless, the only way to truly propel you on your way towards meaningful growth and happiness is self-awareness; the quality of knowing who you are.
Mindfulness has a very important role to play in both these processes. Luckily, it is a practice that can be harnessed freely. To unlock authentic self-development and receive support on mindful practices for everyday life, take a look at our resources and app today.