When you’re aware of your behaviour – you can do something about it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a criminal or a politician, if you have no awareness of how your behaviour impacts on your outcomes, you will continue blindly on your way to prison or losing your seat.
If you’re in a relationship, continuing to ignore that your behaviour is impacting the quality of that relationship is an almost certain guarantee that relationship will fail – particularly if the other party is acutely aware of your behavioural imperfections. By the way, it doesn’t matter whether the relationship is a romantic or a business partnership.
Most of us are self-absorbed, which I suspect is the default human position. Self-absorption allows you to look after your own interests, to push your own wheelbarrow regardless of the obstacles on your path. A little self-absorption is, no doubt, good for you. Total self-absorption is a recipe for disaster in a world based on relationships.
Image by rafael H. | unsplash.com
Slow down and observe yourself.
One way to become more self-aware is to slow down and pay attention to the way people respond to you.
Do people ignore you? Are they afraid of you? Do they resent your intrusions? These are not good signs if you notice them. On the other hand, if people welcome your participation, willingly work with you and want to be around you, it’s probably a good idea to continue doing what you’re doing.
It’s also a good idea to reflect on what it is that you are doing that elicits whatever response you get from others. A little reflective downtime can help you identify behaviours that work, and others that may need some work.
Another way to get an idea of how your behaviour impacts others is to ask them.
If you manage other people, you know how easy it is to be critical of their behavioural shortcomings. Well, guess what? Other people have been making their own assessments of your behaviour. Asking them how they see you is one way of finding out if you need to consider making a few changes. This one requires a little emotional maturity and a willingness to be vulnerable.
You might get a shock or a surprise. But, it won’t kill you unless you choose to die of embarrassment.
In my opinion, it’s better to risk a moment of embarrassment than to continue blindly on being an embarrassment to everybody around you.
Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend, and Everyday Project Management.