Understanding and Working on Self-Awareness

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Self-Awareness is the ability to be aware of how and why you make particular choices in response to certain things. Therefore, working on your own self-awareness involves learning your triggers, how to better react to certain situations, and how sometimes it’s better to not react to them at all. You may not necessarily learn how to prevent whatever those triggers are, but rather, you should learn how to change your response to them.

Understanding your own self awareness means better understanding not just your negative triggers, but also what you react to positively and why. It’s all about figuring out how to balance yourself in a way that you can have a cool and sensible approach to everything.

Self-Awareness Begins With Tempering Expectations

Believe it or not, you can actually react too positively to something. Many times in my life I have looked forward to a particular event with great anticipation. It may be a new TV show being aired or some big new project being given to me that can net me serious profit.

Sometimes, that show ends up being a let-down, and I’ll find myself reacting quite negatively to that disappointment. I’m fairly picky in what I watch anyway, so my disappointment is usually kept to a minimum. But, some people really get bent out of shape when their expectations are let down. Fortunately, I tend to keep my own expectations of television shows and movies to a minimum, anyway.

For example, I’ll go into a film without many preconceptions, which is why I tend to avoid reviews before actually viewing anything. I especially avoid spoilers – not that they’ll necessarily ruin the viewing experience for me. But then, I’ll go into the viewing with more precise expectations than I would have otherwise.

Understanding how you handle expectations is one of the first things to do when working on your self-awareness skills. Where I find myself not tempering my expectations enough is work opportunities. I’ve always taken every chance I get seriously, even if it’s a relatively small project, because you don’t know where even an order for just a single article can lead.

Unfortunately, many opportunities are exactly what they appear to be, a one-off deal. Stringing enough of these together to make ends meet is doable, but a struggle. Of course, there are much bigger expectations to temper – such as a brand new job, a new relationship, or another major life event. So, how do we better work on handling our expectations?

Understand Your Circumstances, Then Put Them in the Correct Perspective

As a former freelance article writer, social media manager, and SEO specialist, I can tell you you’re going to have projects both big and small fall through for one reason or another. While I always had high expectations for every single client I used to get, towards the end of my freelance career my expectations fell all the way down to simply getting paid. I’ve taken far less than I should in rate pay oftentimes just to get work, which often leaves me feeling like I’m giving away more of myself than I should. Unfortunately, the bills don’t pay themselves.

But, if I’m so aware I’m short-changing myself, then why did I do it for so long? A major part of this is I long had the expectation that if I asked too much, I wouldn’t get the project. If I asked too little, people will wonder why I’m doing it so cheaply and have a similar reaction. So, I eventually just got a little more than minimum wage, when I should’ve been getting twice as much. Even being self-aware of this, I continued this bad habit. Why?

I’ve had plenty of past experiences where work was offered, but I either mulled over it too long or I didn’t really offer much enthusiasm in my reply. In all those cases, I lost the work. Of course, the money wasn’t enough for me to be worth the trouble anyway, so I can’t regret it.

You learn in working freelance, the more time-consuming the project is, the more profitable it can end up being. The problem is, people consistently wanted to pay me a low hourly rate. Honestly, I’d prefer a flat rate, which is what I pushed for in my last couple of years in freelancing. Still, people want to pretend you’re a wage-earning employee more often than not. It is what it is, and eventually, I had to say goodbye to these clients; more like good riddance!

At least I was aware of how I handle these work situations, whether I’m being realistic or not with my expectations. Obviously, I can’t bank on a single opportunity going through. But, pickings can be so slim. For example, the autumn months tend to be the slow season for freelance content work, until the holiday season really picks up.

Finally, I came to the decision that I had to be more aware of my own worth. I jacked up my rate, and all but one of my clients balked and decided to move on. The problem is that by the time I figured this out, I was left with just that single client, who was willing to actually pay above my asking rate. Fortunately, that client became my life partner, so that worked out. Yeah, that doesn’t really happen much, but hey, you never know, right?

Be Aware When Things Are Getting Off-Track

I have a terrible tendency to get off-track. But, at least I’m self-aware that I get distracted and off-topic on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes, especially in the freelance world, it’s easy to get off-track when work that you’re expecting to come in simply doesn’t realize itself.

Remember, you don’t always win, and that’s OK. That’s just how life goes; you win some and you lose some. The trick is to win more than you lose, or when you win, realize gains that more than overcome the losses. Being aware of how you deal with failure is extremely important. You need to learn from it, not let it drag you down and keep you drifting off-track.

It’s important to focus on the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of decision making and understanding how aware you are of each of these things. How did you make your own decisions today? Have they been decided more from the heart or from your head? Or, did you do something just because you needed a lift or release?

For me, my greatest lift and release is writing. It’s the best way for me to recover my emotional, mental, and spiritual energy on a daily basis. For others, the activities may vary, but staying balanced and charged is key to keeping your self-awareness sharp. Make sure that you keep your self-awareness high as possible, so that when a decision needs to be made, you can not only make a much more aware decision.

You may think your life is incredibly boring and uninteresting. But, the more self-aware you become, you will always find something that you were not aware of with yourself before. We are each more important to the rest of the world than we realize most of the time. Once you become aware of your power and presence in this world, you can begin to not only improve yourself, but help to improve the lives of those around you, as well!

~ Amelia <3

Related: Self-Awareness Breeds Critical Thinking | Why I Quit Ghostwriting

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.

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