Coping Methods Self Care

Self-Awareness Benefits & Strategies for Healing

Self-Awareness Benefits and Strategies | Hopeful Panda

The topic of self-awareness doesn’t often come up when talking about healing from abusive parents. However, learning self-awareness benefits and strategies can be very beneficial. It can even be argued that it IS essential for healing.

Self-awareness is crucial because it means being aware of the parts of you that need attention and care. It means being able to ask and answer – what am I thinking and feeling? When you’re more aware of your thoughts and emotions, you can get better at managing them.

Many abusers lack self-awareness and introspection. They are unable to reflect on their actions and feelings, thus unable to change their behavior.

So learning to be more self-aware can also keep you from continuing your parents’ abusive cycle. You can be aware of what tendencies or behaviors you might have picked up from them and learn healthy ways to cope so it doesn’t come out in toxic ways.

What is Self-Awareness | Hopeful Panda

The Benefits of Self-Awareness for Healing

So simply put, self-awareness is the ability to clearly and objectively see yourself and everything that makes you who you are and how all of them fit into your current life. In other words, self-awareness can be seen as mindfulness towards yourself.

Wanting to become more self-aware means paying attention and trying to learn more about yourself. There are many reasons why and how self-awareness is essential for healing and for living a more fulfilling life in general.

Benefits of Self-Awareness for Healing | Hopeful Panda

Self-Discovery & Growth

Self-awareness allows us to know our likes and dislikes, strengths and flaws, values and beliefs, and so on. And once we discover things about ourselves, we can work to pursue and embrace those things and use them to improve our lives.

We get the opportunity to make needed changes to not just heal but continue to grow and thrive.

Discovering and exploring aspects of yourself is also an important part of the healing process. Abuse tears away at our sense of self. We’re often left with who our parents shaped us to be, not who we truly want to be.

Being able to discover what our interests, likes, qualities, and everything else are instead of what our parents wanted them to be can be extremely empowering.

Additionally, having a clearer sense of what you believe and what you want makes it easier to identify, voice, and meet your needs. And being able to meet your needs demonstrates self-care, which is crucial for healing.

Emotion Regulation

More self-aware people are also typically more emotionally intelligent. Self-awareness allows you to be aware of your emotions, thus allowing you to better regulate those emotions.

You would know what you feel when you are feeling it, and what caused you to feel that way. 

In terms of healing, you know what your triggers are and how to cope with them. Being more familiar with your emotions also helps you learn about your thinking patterns. And this can overall lead to clearer thinking, better decision-making, and more self-control.

Meaningful Relationships

Self-Awareness Benefits for Healing | Hopeful Panda

Being more self-aware also allows you to see things from other people’s perspectives. You can see how your words and actions may affect other people. For instance, could your behavior be pushing people away?

Self-awareness allows you to become a better observer and listener of not just yourself, but also others. When you can detect and understand how other people see you, you will be able to create stronger and more authentic relationships.

Health and Happiness

According to research, self-awareness is correlated with higher levels of overall happiness.

Being more self-aware means being more mindful of your decisions, thoughts, and actions. That and the combination of all of the benefits mentioned can decrease your overall stress and increase your general confidence and self-esteem.

You can seek out your true desires to increase your motivation and enjoyment in life.  You can align your thoughts and actions with your desires, passions, and goals. In other words, being more self-aware can help get what you think, say, and do all in agreement.

Self-Awareness vs. Self-Consciousness

Sometimes, it is possible to be so self-aware that it becomes self-consciousness.

Extremely self-conscious individuals are very aware of their actions, feelings, and thoughts. As a result, they often suffer from more stress and anxiety.

Also, while they may be very aware of what they’re thinking and feeling, they might struggle with knowing what they truly want or how they should go about it.

So self-awareness, in a general sense, is typically healthy. Self-consciousness, on the other hand, is not so much. The key is to find the middle ground to reap the most benefits. Be self-aware enough so you can take care of yourself physically and emotionally, but not so much that it starts affecting you negatively.

How to Be More Self-Aware

Self Awareness Strategies | Hopeful Panda

Self-Reflect

Self-reflection, also known as introspection, is the act of examining your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to gain a better understanding of your motivations and patterns.

While self-awareness is usually seen as something that develops over time due to life experiences, you and I both know that isn’t true. If it is, our parents who are much older than us should be aware of their hurtful behaviors and how to be accountable for them.

Sure, life experiences could help increase self-awareness. But if a person cannot self-reflect, then no amount of life experiences or time can ever help them become more self-aware. In other words, having the ability to self-reflect is crucial.

Journal

One often recommended and effective way to self-reflect is writing or journaling.

Journaling helps you become more aware and intentional, allowing you to identify, clarify, and accept your thoughts and feelings. It helps you discover what you want, what you value, and what works for you (or the opposite).

You can write about things you are good and not-so-good at; accomplishments you’re proud of or what you want to achieve; what makes you happy, angry, excited, or sad; or your beliefs, values, passions, desires, and goals.

How you want to write to be more self-aware is up to you. It can be free-flowing entries, bullet lists, journals, guided journals, or poetry. Refer to this huge list of journal prompts for ideas. Also, check out The Hopeful Planner and 100 Days Journal in the Shop designed to help you process your day-to-day and more.

Identify Triggers

Whenever you’re feeling an unpleasant emotion, check in with yourself. Be present enough to notice your thoughts, feelings, and emotions so you can better recognize them in the future.

Try not to push them away. Avoid going to self-destructing lengths to avoid feeling. Instead, listen to what your mind is trying to tell you. Understand where it came from. Then, try to establish some healthy ways to cope.

Related: How to Deal with Emotions in a Healthy Way

Identify Inaccurate Thinking & Self-Talk

A major source of a lack of self-awareness is the inaccurate mental processes that many people engage in.

It’s important to identify these inaccurate thoughts and self-talk because they warp how you see yourself and the world. Try to see things with an open mind in a new perspective. Learn how to stop your negative self-talk.

Ask “What” Instead of “Why”

To be more self-aware, focus on asking yourself questions in a more intentional way.

For instance, asking “why” might not always be effective since many of our internal processes remain shrouded in our subconscious or unconscious minds. Instead, ask “what”. By doing this, you can objectively assess whether external factors or specific actions are causing certain outcomes.

For example: Instead of asking “Why do I keep failing?” at something, ask “What are the circumstances causing me to fail?” and “What can I do to change them?”.

Reflect on Your Values

Think about your values, opinions, beliefs, desires, and goals. Are they your own? Or are they influenced by other people?

Take me for example: I used to value family because of the blood we share. I was always told “Blood is thicker than water” growing up. I believed I had to take my family’s side no matter what.

I grew up in a family where bad behaviors were tolerated and enabled because of shared DNA. But that means nothing, especially if it’s used to justify hurting people.

What I truly value now is still family, but my chosen family. We are close because of the love we share. That’s what’s important to me. What about you? Do you truly believe what you think you believe?

Think about where your values or beliefs originated from. Abandon those that were forced upon you and replace them with the ones you truly value.

This could be difficult if you grew up around certain things that were a significant part of your life like religion, cultural beliefs, or even moral values. You might accept it as truth and live by it. But try to think for yourself.

Forget about what your parents, friends, or spouse value.  What do you value?

Reflect on Your Past

Who we are today is strongly determined by our past experiences whether we like it or not. And that’s unfortunate for those of us with abusive parents. But it’s something we have to face.

Think about how your past shaped who you are and what you want today. Think about how it shaped how you think and view the world and yourself.

Accept that the past influenced who you are. But recognize that you can change things about yourself that you want to change.

Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness Exercises | Hopeful Panda

Meditation is often used to improve your mindful awareness – being present in the moment and focusing on yourself and your surroundings rather than getting lost in thought.

There are many different types of meditation. It can be a good way to learn more about how your thinking process works. It’s also a good way to identify your thoughts and feelings and learn to sit with them without judgment or reaction.

View Yourself From Another Perspective

Viewing yourself from a bird’s-eye view or another person’s perspective can help you gain some insight into how you interact with the world around you that you may not realize.

View yourself from different people’s perspectives. Try to do it with a variety of people since how we talk and act varies around different people in different settings. How do you act in school with your classmates, at work with your boss, or home with your spouse? How about while waiting in line at the grocery store, receiving a package at the door, or giving your coffee order?

Write down how you think different people might see you. Think about how you act differently around different people and why.

Please note that while this can help you be more aware of your behavior around different people, it’s also important not to get hyper-fixated on it and let it turn into self-consciousness.

Take Personality & Psychometric Tests

Personality tests such as the Enneagram assessment can help you understand what type of traits or characteristics you have. The results of these tests could shed some light on who you are.

But please remember that the results of one test or even a hundred tests aren’t meant to represent you as a whole. The depth of who you are surpasses the scope of any test.

Ask for Feedback

Write down some subjective words you would use to describe yourself like kind, sensitive, insecure, and resilient. Try to avoid using objective terms like parent, student, or Asian.

Then, ask someone you trust whether your description of yourself is accurate. Are you seeing yourself too positively or negatively? Ask if there’s anything that doesn’t fit you or anything they’d like to add.

If you don’t want to describe yourself first, you can also ask people to give you open, honest, and objective feedback about you. Try to ask people whose opinions you would trust. In other words, please do not ask for your parents’ or any other abusive or toxic person’s view.

Listen

Some people who’ve experienced trauma get so wrapped up in their issues that they have trouble seeing beyond their own experiences.

They may end up trauma dumping or pushing people away with their self-pity or negativity, even potentially leading to toxic or abusive behavior. So it’s important to be able to listen.

Learn how to listen to others as they speak. It will give you a sense of what they are feeling and how they perceive you. This can also help you become more empathetic and understanding of others.

It’s also important to learn how to listen to yourself. When you feel a certain way, your mind is trying to get your attention. Instead of pushing the feeling away, listen to it and address it. It will only get worse if you ignore it.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Visit New Places | Self Awareness Benefits & Strategies

Getting out of your comfort zone forces you to be more aware of your actions and, perhaps, thoughts and feelings. Try something new. Visit a new place. Broaden your horizons!

We tend to stick to our same old routines because we are comfortable with the familiar. Most of us dislike change and transitions, which is normal. But while structure and routine are important, being stuck in the same old can create a narrow mindset. So it’s important to also be open to new experiences.

Trying new things increases your mental flexibility. Visiting new places and unfamiliar settings forces you to be more self-aware. Doing things you don’t usually do makes you more resilient.

Getting out of your comfort zone in whatever way you prefer can give you a new perspective. It forces you to think and act differently than what you’re used to so you can adapt to the changes.

You will notice how things are different than what you’re familiar with. This helps you learn about yourself and how they’re influenced by your upbringing, culture, and current environment.


Conclusion

Being self-aware means being aware of who you are and what motivates your actions, thoughts, feelings, and passions. The various self-awareness strategies in this post can hopefully help you learn to be more self-aware and mindful of yourself and how you live.

I hope you can use this as an opportunity to dig deeper and find yourself under all the effects of abuse that may have manifested. The more you discover about yourself, the more you can heal.

Self Awareness Benefits and Strategies for Healing | hopefulpanda.com

Support Hopeful Panda

Hi there, I’m Estee. Having grown up with an abusive mother, I know how isolating, frustrating, and hopeless everything could feel – back then as a child and even now as an adult.

I am always trying to better understand and manage the effects of the abuse I experienced. And this journey I’m on inspired me to create Hopeful Panda. Learn more here.

A lot of time and effort is put into this blog. If you enjoy my content or find it helpful, please consider making a donation or becoming a member. Your support helps me continue providing free content for all. Thank you!


Begin your healing journey with The Hopeful Planner
Hopeful Planner