In marriage, we often put so much of our focus on our spouse and their needs that we fall out of touch with our own. The problem is, that kind of thinking leads us to expect our spouse to do the same thing for us! When they don’t, this can lead to resentment and conflict.
The best way to truly care for one another is to become more self-aware in addition to being attentive to your spouse. Although it may seem counterintuitive, self-awareness actually leads to better love and a happier marriage.
Let’s talk about how that works.
SELF-AWARENESS CULTIVATES EMPATHY
Being self-aware helps you to be more empathic and aware of your own feelings. If you’re in touch with how you feel, you’re more likely to be highly empathic of others–especially your spouse. When you’re in touch with fluctuations in your own emotions and energy levels from day to day, this can help you better walk in your spouse’s shoes.
SELF-AWARENESS SLOWS REACTIVITY
When you have high self-awareness, you’re less reactive to others’ actions, especially during a conflict. You’re also more likely to stop and think before you jump to conclusions.
Self-awareness helps you be more in tune with your own weaknesses and flaws. When you’re self-aware, you may check in with yourself during a conflict rather than immediately pointing the finger at your spouse. This can help you become less likely to project your own problems onto them, too.
SELF-AWARENESS ALLOWS FOR RAPID COURSE-CORRECTION
If you’re self-aware enough to look at yourself with honesty, tough love, and self-compassion, you can quickly correct your own problematic behaviors, beliefs, and reactions. Through self-awareness, we can become healthier in our own relationships.
SELF-AWARENESS HELPS YOU KNOW YOUR OWN NEEDS
So many times in life, people aren’t self-aware enough to know what they want–either in a general sense or specifically. Being self-aware helps you to know your own needs and desires. If you know what you want and need from day to day, you’re able to ask others for help. We can’t expect our spouses or the other people in our lives to guess our needs–we have to be able to express them.
HOW TO BUILD SELF-AWARENESS
When we’re more empathic, less reactive, willing to course-correct, and aware of our own needs, we can better love our spouses, family, and friends. Here are a few techniques for building your own self-awareness:
- Be radically honest with yourself. Sometimes, we set aside our own needs and wants to please others. This can cause us to deny our feelings. Being honest with yourself can help you get back in touch with how you feel, which is key to self-awareness.
- Spend time alone in silence. Quiet your mind daily. Praying and meditating can be especially beneficial for helping you connect with yourself and others.
- Journal regularly. Writing about our feelings for a few minutes every day allows us to process events and interactions in a healthy way.
- Talk. Whether it’s to a trusted friend or to a licensed counselor, talking about our feelings and experiences can help us become more self-aware.