I define self awareness as the ability to honestly evaluate and accept your strengths and weaknesses. Self awareness does not preclude self improvement. You should always strive to be a better you. Self awareness is a constant that should accompany you every step of the way on your journey.
But self improvement has its limits, and it’s precisely when those limits are reached that self awareness takes on its critical role. Many, if not most of us, grew up in loving homes with parents who treated us like royalty and considered us to be the greatest thing to happen to the world since the invention of the dishwasher (I’m responsible for cleaning up after dinner so you can understand my feelings…but feel free to substitute your own favorite invention). They told us that we can be and do anything we want to in life as long as we set our minds and worked hard at it. They did the right thing by encouraging us and building our self esteem, for the most part. But maybe they should have also told some of us that there might be some things that we should not pursue because you just can’t be good at everything?
I love watching the talent contests on TV like American Idol and the X-Factor. But I’m always puzzled when an adult gets up to perform and makes a total fool out of him or herself. Granted some of these folks are just “nuts” and maybe some are even staged to get a good laugh, but then there are those men and women who are clearly sincere in their desire and belief that they can sing. But they can’t. That’s ok, not everyone can sing. The comically tragic part of all this is that even after humiliating themselves before the snickering judges and millions of laughing TV viewers, they still don’t get the message. They leave the stage continuing to believe that they have talent and if they just work a bit harder they will one day hit it big. It’s sad because talent just doesn’t work that way. You either have it (at least the raw material) or you don’t.
What’s even sadder is that I know people who in one way or another suffer from the very same lack of self awareness. They truly believe that they have talents or abilities that everyone else clearly recognizes that they don’t. Most of us would love to let them in on the secret but we’re too scared of hurting them and being jerks. The few who do muster up the courage to give it to them straight often end up being ignored and feeling like even bigger jerks (judging by how some frustrated readers refer to me on social media for sharing my opinions on this blog, I’m the biggest jerk in the world).
Here’s some news: not everyone (that means you) is a genius (despite what your mama told you). Not everyone has musical talent. Not everyone can play major league baseball. Not everyone can be a surgeon. But that’s ok. You can excel at whatever it is you’re good at, and leave the other stuff to others. Successful business people live by this. If you’re a master techie but you realize that you suck at marketing you can team up with a marketing maven who doesn’t know how to reboot a computer and create a successful enterprise. It’s the people who think they can do it all (but can’t) that end up failing.
Dating is no different. You need to be self aware of who you really are in order to be successful. This is especially true for those of you dating in NYC, where people tend to be very particular about their specific requirements for a dating partner. You need to identify the crowd that you identify with where you think you’ll have the best chance of meeting the right kind of partner for you. In order to do that you need to do a self awareness check.
There are nice folks out there who believe they should be dating men or women in a particular social scene or crowd, when they really don’t belong in that scene. So they continue trying and wasting months and years chasing after something they’ll never attain. In some cases they might have a shot if they make drastic changes in themselves and their lifestyle, but without the self awareness they don’t even see that possibility. So they keep on spinning away with nothing to show for it other than a few more grey hairs and a lot of frustration.
Take some time to do a self inventory check. Recognize your strengths and your weaknesses. Try to implement a plan of self improvement, while continuing to be self aware every step of the way. You might be doing the right things already. Maybe you’ll find that you need to change course. It’s all about self awareness.
PS – If you have a friend who you feel is missing some self awareness in a particular area, consider having a talk with them about it.