Do you know who you are and why you do what you do? Do you know how others experience you? Too often we pay too little attention to understanding ourselves and in the process we hurt others around us and are often not remotely aware that we did so.
Each of us impacts those around us. We cause them to experience emotions like joy, acceptance, grace, condemnation, irrelevance, judgement or any number of positive or negative emotions. Self awareness is the ability to understand how others perceive us and what they experience in our presence. Awareness is the first step toward ensuring that our impact on others is what we desire it to be.
How we impact others is directly connected to our ability to understand our own behaviors, motives and attitudes. Many of us are not completely aware of why we say and do what we do. This can be because we speak and act before we stop and consider what we are doing and why.
Years ago I learned that when I responded quickly, I often did so without the diplomacy I truly desired. What I said may have been true but it was blunt and hard. I actually put a post-it in front of me in many meetings that said KMS. Keep Mouth Shut. Practicing KMS allowed me to consider what I was going to say and how I was going to say it.
When I was in contentious situations, I leaned to not only KMS but to respond to a frontal attack with a question. It gave me time to think about my response and to invite dialogue rather than to respond out of emotion, thus bringing down the tension rather than contributing to it.
I also learned that when someone "Pushed buttons in my emotions" the issue was not what they said (no matter how irritating or out of order) but something in me that caused me to react to their statement. Thus I started to become more aware of my own emotional responses and seek to understand why my emotions were struck by their words.
Those who best understand themselves and who learn to regulate their emotions and responses become healthier versions of themselves. Self aware individuals often have more influence than non-self aware individuals because their responses are more mature, better regulated and in understanding how others experience them they can avoid behaviors that push people away and focus on those that bring people closer.
Leaders who develop healthy self awareness tend to create healthier cultures in their organizations than those who don't. Do some research, and become more self aware. It will not only help you but it will bless those around you.