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What would life be like if we all had incredible self-awareness? Self-awareness is an extremely crucial skill in relationships and life. Think about it, recognizing and understanding our emotions can serve us well in our marriages. Better yet, being able to express our feelings and share them openly with others can deepen our connections to people. Our ability to identify, experience, express, and release emotions can create increased intimacy. With increased self-awareness, people are also able to develop effective coping mechanisms. Being cognizant of our moods and those around us give us an opportunity for change before the emotions overwhelm us.
Researcher and author Daniel Goleman has written much on emotional intelligence. He believes that people’s success has less to do with intellect and more to do with character and emotional awareness. In fact, Goleman is convinced that deficient emotional skills may be the main reason marriages fail. The emotional skills that he’s referring to are empathy, emotional communication, reading social situations, and regulating one’s own emotions. Managing emotions can be a full-time job and it should be, but over time the task usually becomes more natural. So how do we raise self-awareness?
One exercise I use with couples to raise emotional awareness is selecting an emotion a day to watch for in yourself or others and then sharing it with your spouse. We all experience between 10-15 emotions per day, but pay very little attention to them. It may be helpful to ask yourself throughout the day what emotion was triggered by each experience and work on expressing it with someone. Journalling can also be a way to increase our self-awareness through writing about our thoughts and feelings. When our self-awareness is raised we can enhance our relationships by paying attention to others’ verbal and nonverbal reactions to our interactions. When we recognize the subtleties in our conversations and have greater awareness of our emotions, we can anticipate greater connections to people. Awareness increases intimacy and intimacy increases passion. Start paying attention and reap the rewards.