SEL Stage One: Self-Awareness
What really is self-awareness?
To be self-aware is to be conscious of yourself. Overall, that means being conscious of your general feelings towards yourself, others and life; your core beliefs and values; and the good and bad thoughts currently influencing your belief system. And trust me, in today’s day and age we definitely have both good and bad beliefs we need to fix.
On a day to day basis, self-awareness means being conscious of what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, and what behavioral patterns you’re continuously acting on each day. Believe it or not - this is hard to do! Maybe because our conscious minds only take up 10% of our brain power (sheesh). It’s a skill you grow, and it takes practice.
Why is self-awareness important to teach my child?
Self-awareness is work for the brain and takes practice, which is why teaching a child this skill when they’re still young is incredibly beneficial. It’s easier for them to adapt to this way of thinking. Recognizing their thoughts and feelings will impact behavior and encourage them to make better decisions and take positive actions. This helps guide them through other stages like Self-Management and Responsible Decision Making. It also helps them build healthy relationships, because being self-aware forces you to have a relationship with yourself. And guess what - you can’t nurture self-love or build self-esteem without being in a relationship with you!
That’s why so many of us adults struggle with self-awareness and love! How many of us have gone through life on autopilot, without actually acknowledging ourselves. Some of us lack so much self-love that the idea of acknowledging ourselves throughout the day is actually dreadful. God, do I really have to spend time with THAT guy? ME??
As a result, many of us adults have made it a habit to live life merely reacting to our reality, but not creating it. When we’re more aware of ourselves, we actually equip ourselves with the ability to recognize unhealthy patterns and make change - change course - so we don’t have to hate ourselves in the first place for repeating the same mistakes. Like….continuously binge eating before bed while binge watching crappy tv into the late hours instead of sleeping early like we keep telling ourselves we’ll do….yeah, we’ve all been there.
The key to self-awareness is honesty! Being honest with yourself allows you to recognize your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Start by teaching your child the importance of self-awareness by teaching your child the value of truth. Lies, including lying to yourself, leads to deception and illusion. It's like driving with a beautiful day painted onto your windshield. You’ll likely get into an accident and hurt yourself or others for not seeing the reality of where you’re driving. If you only paint a blue sky on your windshield, you might still crash when there’s actually a storm! If we are aware, we can know what proper actions to take to handle situations as best we can and make the day beautiful.