Click below for a resource to help you assess how others perceive you and how you may more graciously represent Jesus to others.
I’m excited to write on the topic of self-awareness because it’s not a subject that gets much airtime. Nor does it seem to be on most people’s radar. Truly, once past our teen years, how often do we assess how others perceive us?
I define self-awareness as the ability to accurately understand one’s own values, personality, habits, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. And as I focus on things of significant importance for the fourth quarter of our lives, I think this topic deserves strong attention. Here’s why.
I believe it addresses a question I’ve been considering for quite a while. Why don’t young people have more friendships with older folk? Is it that they don’t appreciate past generations or have a respect for the elderly? While there may be some truth to that, I believe there is another reason for the separation between the generations. Sadly, it’s a separation I see even in our churches.
The Impact of Self-Awareness on Relationships
Could it be that as we age, we don’t pay much attention to what may be making us unappealing? Could greater self-awareness and self-examination help us recognize things about ourselves that could be keeping younger ones from showing much interest? I’m convinced it could.
Here are some examples of what has the potential to either draw people to us or away from us:
- Our real, lived-out beliefs.
- Our personal hypocrisies.
- Our speech pattern (i.e., Do we talk too much?)
- Our body language.
- Our listening skills.
- Our attention span.
- Our willingness to give advice on topics we know little about.
- Our personal hygiene.
- Our interest in others (i.e., Do we ask questions or just talk about ourselves?)
Becoming More Self Aware
All of us have had conversations with those who don’t recognize how they come across to others. And I think it’s safe to say, none of us wants to be that person! The good news is if we become aware of our shortcomings, we are never too old to do something about them.
But first, we must WANT to work on ourselves. Being self-aware must become part of our commitment to continued growth and improvement. It’s when we don’t pay attention to what makes someone attractive to be around, that we can become stale and uninspiring. Plainly stated, if we’re boring and only talk about the “good old days” or our own accomplishments, a listener can easily lose interest. And friends, if we’re not interesting, most won’t be interested in us.
Recently, a friend of mine pointed out a speech pattern they noticed in my podcasts. I was completely unaware that I kept repeating the same phrase repeatedly. I’ve made a note of it and am now in the process of trying not to repeat that phrase as often.
I’m so thankful my friend was willing to provide constructive criticism. But one of the unfortunate parts of aging is that we often become set in our ways and don’t welcome the feedback of others. As a result, others don’t provide it or choose to challenge us. It is as easy as any other season of life, perhaps easier, to get stuck and become self-absorbed as we get older. If we’re not careful, unhealthy habits can become deeply attached to our personalities. These can result in “flaws” that limit the relationships we could have.
How Self-Awareness Benefits You And Others
It’s my opinion that the only thing limiting our present and future lives is us. I challenge you to intentionally think about and ask others about what could help you become more effective in your relationships. I believe doing so will open doors to an increase in how God might fill your life and make you even more fruitful.
Don’t let a lack of self-awareness limit the opportunities God may have for you. CHOOSE to use the wisdom and experience He’s given you to inspire others and be the kind of man or woman the younger generations will enjoy being around. Yes, it will take some effort. But those efforts will keep us relevant AND allow for meaningful relationships with all kinds of people – young, middle-aged, and seasoned.