what self-awareness isn’t

what self-awareness isn’t

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)

Self-awareness is vitally important when it comes to embracing the assignments God has for your life. Knowing your strengths and your struggles offers you insight into areas where God wants you to invest your energy and areas He wants to shape and sanctify. However, some of what you call self-awareness might actually be unhealthy and damaging to your identity in Christ and how you walk confidently in that identity.

I wanted to share with you a list of qualities compiled by author, Holley Gerth in her book The Powerful Purpose of Introverts to help discern what is self-awareness and what is something else. As you read this list, ask God to reveal to you areas where you are leaning away from a healthy self-awareness and more into something hurtful to yourself and those around you.

Characteristics of Self-Awareness

  • Confident
  • Believes everyone is made in the image of God
  • Seeks to understand self and others
  • Has a healthy knowledge of strengths and weaknesses
  • Able to look inward, outward, and upward
  • Attentive to needs of others and self
  • Often experiences contentment
  • Shares self for greater good
  • Encouragement
  • Healthy interdependence
  • “We win together” mindset
  • Thinks, “We can learn from each other
  • Differences are opportunities to connect
  • Sees God as both loving and good
  • Growing into the best version of themselves
  • Looks in the mirror when it’s helpful

Characteristics of a Self-Critic

  • Insecure
  • Believes others are better than self
  • Others tell them who they should be
  • Exaggerates weakness, ignores strengths
  • Afraid to look at self because fo what they might see
  • Ignores own needs
  • Often experiences shame
  • Withholds self out of fear
  • Condemnation
  • Unhealthy comparison
  • “I lose, you win” mindset
  • Thinks, “You’re right, I’m wrong”
  • Differences are threats
  • Sees God as harsh judge
  • Stuck in the same cycles and struggles
  • Never looks in the mirror

Characteristics of Being Self-Focused

  • Prideful
  • Believes self is better than others
  • Tells others who they should be
  • Exaggerates strengths, ignores weaknesses
  • Always looking at self
  • Ignores needs of others
  • Often experiences frustration
  • Leverages self for personal gain
  • Condescension
  • Unhealthy competition
  • “I win, you lose” mindset
  • Thinks, “I’m right, you’re wrong”
  • Differences are inconveniences
  • Sees God as personal genie
  • Thinks nothing about them ever needs to change
  • Stares at the mirror and sees no one else

I’ve found when I’m self-critical or self-focused, I have an extremely skewed perspective of God and others as they truly are. A healthy self-awareness starts with an accurate (not some convoluted or confused) image of who God is. When I see God for who He truly is, I learn to see myself and others (strengths and struggles) in light of the gospel–a masterpiece still in process.

4 comments found

  1. It’s entirely possible to read the list of characteristics of Self Awareness and genuinely believe it’s an accurate description of myself, while the reality is that I am nothing like that at all. In my experience, those with the least amount of self awareness are the most confident that they have it. Here’s what I have learned; if I can’t remember the last time someone gave me some feedback that kind of hurt my feelings, I might be lacking self awareness. If I can’t remember the last time one of my friends expressed a very different opinion, told me they think I’m wrong, or said they didn’t absolutely love my ideas, I might be lacking self awareness. Self awareness is gained by being connected to people who love you enough to tell you when you aren’t all that, when you being rude or selfish, when your slip is showing. If no one has done that lately, chances are good that I’m lacking self awareness.

  2. This is a much needed antidote to my being a negative self-critic. The article & Scriptures, 8 Phrases You’ll Hear From A Determined Jesus Follower, is a huge encouragement to me. Thank you, Bobi Ann!

  3. I understand that the Self Critic can be a tool of the enemy to keep us from being all God has for us. But on the other side of the issue, I’ve found that I can identify with everything on the Characteristics of Self Awareness list and also Characteristics of being Self Focused at the same time. Because my lack of self awareness – by definition – makes me blind to my lack of self awareness. I have to screw up my courage and ask those who love me (enough to tell me the truth), to please tell me if I’m lacking self awareness. Here’s what I know for sure; if I can’t remember the last time someone in my life pointed out a blind spot, a prejudice, a selfish act or attitude, or any other kind of character defect, then there is a high probability that I’m lacking self awareness. I’ve probably surrounded myself with yes-people/ fans and friends, who don’t want to have hard conversations for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons may have to do with my own unapproachability, AKA lack of self awareness. Regardless of their reasons, if I’ve not heard the hard truth in love lately, I’m probably lacking some self awareness.

    1. I love your insight and willingness to have someone help you be more self-aware. I agree that by definition those who are not self-aware are the last ones to know!!

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