Posts tagged: Understand yourself

Video: 3 techniques to becoming more self-aware

We recently talked about the many benefits of cultivating more self-awareness and what it takes to see ourselves more fully. It’s not always an easy task, but there are plenty of ways to do it.

We thought of five exercises. Tasha Eurich, who wrote the book on self-awareness, outlines three other ways to think about becoming self-aware from a more strategic point-of-view. Have a look below:



Tips to help you keep it real
Bust through obstacles on your way to greatness with Unstuck Tip Cards — four reusable decks that help you fight procrastination, stop negative thinking, boost productivity, and get more creative.
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What cultivating more self-awareness can do for you

Anyone who’s ever been stuck at brunch listening to someone bragging about a date they had the night before knows how important and elusive self-awareness can be.

The term itself is loaded and complicated. The Oxford English dictionary defines it simply as “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.” But there is a lot more to self-awareness than being in touch with yourself.

The power and challenges of self-awareness

The power of being self-aware is that it helps you become conscious of your own habits and decide if you need to change them. It also helps you realize when you’ve told a joke that quite didn’t land or pushes you to speak louder when you sense that someone can’t quite hear you. But it’s a difficult balance; becoming too self-conscious can be just as dangerous as not being aware enough of your own tendencies.

Making matters worse, people are less self-aware than we think
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How to keep the darkness out of your self-reflection

Self-reflection can help you live a life aligned with your goals and values, but it can also leave you stuck in self-blame and obsessing about failures.

Like learning a new exercise, you might need to adjust your technique so you build strength instead of injuring yourself.


Hazard: Self-criticism and judgment

Alternatives: Take the perspective of a neutral observer to ask what’s behind your actions, forgive yourself

“If it is done poorly, without awareness, we will go into self-judgment,” said Gary van Warmerdam of “This is in fact what a lot of people think self-reflection is. They look at what they did that day or how they procrastinated and they judge themselves as lazy, unfocused, or wasteful. This kind of beating oneself up emotionally is not self-reflection.”

“Real self-reflection avoids the self-judgment about what we find. This requires a mindfulness state of a neutral observer,” Warmerdam said. “In that state of awareness we can
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The ultimate guide to successful self-reflection

Whatever the form – a daily journal, a gratitude list, or something more involved like a retreat – experts agree self-reflection is the foundation for success and happiness. It’s how we identify what we want from our lives and evaluate our progress toward those goals.

It’s not easy though. Self-reflection can tip into self-criticism for our bad choices or we can get paralyzed considering daunting changes, leaving the lure of 24/7 distractions to tempt us away.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there

Self-reflection is like life’s GPS. Without it, you can find yourself speeding down the wrong road. “In the short term, you can achieve a goal by determination, being strategic and assertive, having a strong work ethic, and being willing to make sacrifices,” said Melanie Greenberg, a licensed clinical psychologist and the author of The Stress-Proof Brain. “But in the long term, a
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Why ‘sorry’ may actually be one of the hardest words

 Elton John, Chicago, Adele, and Justin Bieber all agree that it can be hard to say you’re sorry. What everybody else agrees on is that it can be absolutely infuriating when someone doesn’t apologize when you think they clearly should. Or, instead, when someone delivers one of those patently half-hearted non-apologies.

But if you’ve been on the receiving end of a lackluster apology (or never received an apology at all) for an offense, there might have been more than just stubbornness or selfishness at play.

One reason that some of us resist admitting fault has to do with the fact that apologizing can be a scary thing to do. It forces us to be vulnerable and it gives another person the power to reject our efforts to make something right. “Fear-based thinking leads us to believe that apologies are a sign of weakness,” we
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Why nostalgia is good for your self-esteem

We’re all familiar with that overwhelming sensation that bubbles up whenever we hear a certain song, eat a certain food, or maybe walk down a certain street. It’s that feeling of emotional homesickness, best known as nostalgia.

But nostalgia gets a bad rap. The word itself — a bittersweet combination of nostos (a return home) and algos (the accompanying pain) in Greek — emphasizes the sadness of memory. And for centuries, it’s been labeled a disorder and attributed with negative thinking and depression.

However, researchers have recently come to believe there is more of an upside to nostalgia than a downside. Looking back at your life isn’t just about feeling loss, but also has the potential to deliver a sense of meaning and self-continuity. For example, revisiting old pictures can remind us of memories that are positive; we see ourselves among the networks of friends and family that we’ve built across our lives and we feel rooted.
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Jealousy is a gift — embrace it

We’re raised to think of jealousy as something to avoid. If we’re jealous of someone else’s life, it must mean we aren’t grateful for our own — right?

Jealousy can in fact be a positive emotion, and an opportunity to shift our perspective. When we’re jealous of someone, it’s usually not so much about what they have, but about what we perceive ourselves as not having. As Julia Cameron wrote in her creativity guidebook, “The Artist’s Way”:

Jealousy is always a mask for fear: fear that we aren’t able to get what we want; frustration that somebody else seems to be getting what’s rightfully ours even if we are too frightened to reach for it.

3 questions to ask about your jealousy

The next time you feel yourself becoming jealous, consider it an opportunity to ask yourself:

  1. What am I afraid of?
  2. What do I really want?
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How guilt paralyzes us

Change is hard. Earlier this year, reporter Libby Copeland investigated the science behind why we resist change, and then we asked you to write in with your stories of being stuck. We got fascinating responses, and we are diving deep into one of those stories here. You can go back and read the first four parts, covering how our discomfort with uncertainty, our fear of loss, our habits, and our relationships can get in the way of us making a change.

Lynne emailed us a few months ago because she felt enormously conflicted. At 55, she wanted to start a new life across the country with her second husband, a move that necessitated leaving her small community, her job, and most of her five grown kids. She wanted to go, but she didn’t want to go. “Just when I think I can do this, everything in me wants to scream
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