Author Gemma Leigh Roberts explains why getting clear on your beliefs and understanding how they direct your emotions and behavior is the first step in enhancing self-awareness. Use the Belief Identifier tool to help identify your core beliefs.
- Often, we find ourselves in situations where we feel something is right or wrong in an instant. Perhaps you've seen a colleague be treated unfairly and you feel the situation is completely unjust or maybe you've been asked to complete a project at work and you immediately know the best course of action. At one point or another, we all feel that we just know something to be true despite not having all the facts about the situation. This feeling of truth of knowing the right way to do something is based on beliefs.
Your beliefs are your trust, faith or confidence in someone or something. They have an acceptance that something is true. Your beliefs are so strong, they'll often cause you to react to situations quickly almost like a reflex. What's surprising is we don't always know how to identify our beliefs and we don't always take the time to dig below the surface and find out what's going on. Why is it so important we understand our beliefs? Because the first step in building your self-awareness is understanding and identifying your beliefs enhancing your self-awareness will enable you to make accurate self-assessments, manage your emotions and understand how you come across to others whilst building your self-confidence.
Your beliefs will impact how you behave and interact with others. Your beliefs also direct your emotions. If you believe something to be right or wrong, that will cause an emotional response for you. If you want to build your self-awareness, you need to make a conscious effort to identify and understand the strong beliefs that you have. You can do this by reflecting and using the ABC model which is a simple coaching psychology tool that I use with clients.
You can download the Belief Identifier worksheet in the Exercise Files or you can work through the exercise with me using pen and paper. I'd like you to think of a time when you've had a negative experience lately. Firstly, what was the activating event, the situation that you found yourself in that led to you reacting negatively? Write down as much as you can about the event but try to be objective with no emotional attachment to the scenario or people involved.
If the activating event was someone pulling out in front of you in the car on the way to work, this would be what you would note here. At this stage, don't delve into how you feel about the event or how you reacted. Next, identify your beliefs. What did you believe to be true about the situation? In this example, your belief may be that the other person's behavior is inconsiderate, dangerous and wrong. You may have even stronger beliefs and think the person driving the other car is an idiot or shouldn't be allowed to drive a vehicle.
Finally, what were the consequences of your beliefs? What happened in the situation because of your beliefs? How did you behave? What was the impact of your behavior? In the example of the driver, maybe you felt anger start to rise and you couldn't stop thinking about the unjustness of the situation. Perhaps you found yourself in a bad mood after the event snapping at colleagues or ranting about your experience which affected your productivity at work.
This exercise has two purposes. Firstly, you'll delve into identifying key beliefs. Secondly, you can clearly see the effect of your beliefs and not the activating event have on your behavior. It's often not the event itself that causes us to react rather the beliefs we have about the situation. Complete this exercise reflecting on a positive event also as this will help you to identify positive and negative beliefs.
When you find yourself in challenging situations, take some time to complete this task after the event reflecting on your beliefs and the impact they had on the situation. This practice will help you to enhance your self-awareness over the long term.
- Identifying beliefs to enhance self-awareness
- Stepping outside of yourself
- Self-awareness strategies
- Reflecting and enhancing self-awareness
- Identifying the ripple effect
- Managing stress
- Seeking feedback to boost self-awareness
- Choosing your self-awareness strategies
- Top tips for self-awareness success