In this essay, we will discuss the importance of self-awareness and other forms of awareness in building quality relationships.
Communication plays a vital role in developing any kind of healthy relationship, regardless of what phase the relationship is in. “Ineffective communication causes an interpersonal gap that is experienced in all facets of life and in all sectors of society” (Bolton, 1987, p.4) Communication can be divided into two categories which is verbal and non-verbal. Verbal is the spoken language whereas non-verbal includes gestures, body language and facial expression. Effective communication can be established when this two types of communication complement each other. We will discuss how self-awareness and other-awareness can be applied to heighten the ability in our skill in communication to bridge gaps in a relationship. After all, working on a relationship starts with working on ourselves. Types of Awareness
Self-awareness is being conscious and being able to connect to our feelings and actions. By accepting and understanding our thoughts and interpretation processes, we will have a clearer picture of what we want to achieve. And this will undoubtedly help in making wise and sound decisions in a relationship. It is just like driving a car! In self-awareness, we have to be in control of our thoughts, speech, emotion and behavior. For driving a car, you would have to be mindful of our foot on the accelerator and brake, our hand grip on the steering wheel and our attention to the oncoming traffic ahead and environment around us. Until you know the mechanism and how to operate the car, then only will you be able to steer towards the intended direction smoothly. Self-awareness also includes our innate habit of self-disclosure. This helps us to share information with other people to personalize our relationship and at the same time to gain information from others. The interaction is constantly evolving and changing as two people respond to each other. I personally view self-disclosure as a ‘pendulum-effect’ as I would interpret my converser’s response before corresponding accordingly. This is also known as the norm of reciprocity. “All interaction is based on a cycle of perceiving what the other is doing, deciding how to respond, taking action, and then perceiving the other person’s response.” (Johnson, 1990, p.3) Other awareness would simply be having the ability to put ourselves in another individual shoes to be able to see from their perspective. We can only do this if we pay attention to the ‘other’ in the relationship to understand their perspective and outlook on the world. By being aware of others, we will be able to bridge gap in a relationship by creating mutual understanding and respect. Self-Awareness
Each individual built their own self-awareness based on their past and recent experiences. To connect with our own experience, we need to base it on the lesson learnt from it. For example by actually experiencing a rollercoaster-ride, we can learn by tuning into the parts that help to relate to the experience: •
Thoughts- Tales of freak accidents on amusement rides
Feeling- Enjoying the euphoria and adrenaline rush, excitement •
Sense of worth- Being ridiculed for being timid, being complimented for being so calm and brave •
Fears- Phobia of heights, butterflies in stomach, feelings of vertigo and nauseous
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid (Appendix 1), the fourth and fifth level is Belonging needs and Self-esteem needs is linked to self-awareness.
Firstly we shall look into the Self-esteem needs which basically are the need for value and to count for something. The experiences we had since young till the present make us perceive what our sense of worth is. We will perceive if we had done well or not, and come to terms with our capabilities by comparing to others. Sometime along the way, we come across experiences which had evoked criticism and negative remarks,...
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