Examples to gain self-awareness

Here are a few questions and possible exercises that can help you become more aware of yourself and of others.

  • When speaking with others, do they ever take a step back from you?  This could indicate that they are protecting their personal space. Respect their need for space and refrain from stepping in toward them.  If interacting with someone of a higher rank, stepping into their personal space could prevent you from getting the next assignment or role.

  • How positive are your thoughts?  Pay attention to the line of dialog that plays in your mind when you are not speaking. Consider keeping a notebook beside you to write your dialog down on paper.  Then read through it.  What is the content of the ongoing dialog you carry with yourself?  If your thoughts lean more negative than positive, it could be possible that others at work and in your personal life perceive you as critical or negative?  What ways can you create solutions to the thoughts running in your mind?

  • Do you feel or believe that you are always right and others are wrong?  Or that the ideas of others are not as good as yours?  If this is the case, others may see you as uncooperative and difficult to work with.  Consider the reasons that you are unwilling to consider the ideas and solutions of others.  The next time the opportunity arises, allow yourself to entertain ways that the ideas of others could work.  Then share your thoughts with them.

Their villainy and my virtue

“As long as we maintain a picture of others’ villainy and our own virtue, we feel morally justified in our anger or frustration.” - Joseph Grenny, Vital Smarts

I read this quote as part of a response from Joseph Grenny to a reader about a specific situation in that reader’s life.  I stopped and re-read it because the truth of this statement has depth and extension into a myriad of life’s interactions with other people. 

  • How do you view those with political views different from yours? How do you speak about them?

  • What about those who have different religious views from you?

  • How do you see people who grew up in different parts of your country? World?

  • How do you view those who are really wealthy? Those who are in poverty?

  • What do you believe about the person who just cut you off in traffic?

  • What do you think about the person at work who doesn’t do what you expect or who seems to be guarding their turf?

The answers contain stories that you may have begun to believe. That belief will help you feel justified.  It may also keep you feeling tense and angry, giving the situation unnecessary energy and power that keeps you from living with contentment and peace. It may rob you of humor and joy. 

Are there any of your stories that might be worth re-examining?