Emotional Intelligence

Self Awareness: Where Happiness Begins.

7 Mins read

The key and secret to happiness begins with the art of being self aware. Self awareness is the most crucial part of every individual’s existence and its where happiness begins. Self awareness is the clear but most forgotten pathway to happiness.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

I started TheMindComplex to help my readers find a way to live their best lives as best as they can. My aim is to advocate for the importance of self-awareness, mindfulness and emotional intelligence which are the criteria in which TheMindComplex is based upon, the 3 pillars of fire you may say.

I have seen my family and friends, even myself, fail to do what was best. We have been so blinded by the society around us; into thinking that what is socially needed, acceptable or recommended is what is best for us.

If you are reading this article, am betting that you have been googling words related to; “how to be happy”, “the key to happiness”, “the secret to happiness”, “what happiness feels like”, or something of the sort.

Am also sure that you have realized there is no one answer to that question.

Some articles will tell you that the secret to happiness (not as if there is one), is friendships and relationships, some will say it is contentment, some will say it is God or religion, some will say that it is success or accomplishments, but its good to know that none of them say money.

Weird right, I mean we all chase after money because it gives us what “makes” us happy but none of us is willing to tell anyone that it’s the source of happiness. Food for thought.

So what is it, if we really want to be truly happy, what should we focus on, what should we put emphasis on above all else or even better, is the concept of happiness really so complex that we have to google or write endless articles about it?

Well, lets see what I have to tell you. I am not a spiritual guru or an expert in happiness and self improvement, but what I am is a thorough breed researcher and enthusiastic adviser, so you can believe me when I tell you I hunted down every possible answer to this very desperate question that has haunted many philosophers and thinkers throughout the centuries.

Hence, thanks to their works- the likes of Aristotle, Gandhi, Plato, Socrates, Jesus(the Bible of course) and the very many social scientists and psychologists, I have compiled their thoughts and came down to one simple conclusion and it is simple :

“when i discover who i am, i will be free.”

– ralph ellison, invincible man.

What Is Happiness

Happiness is the feeling of contentment, fulfillment and appreciation of one’s life that is not fleeting or dependent on any fleeting or unstable criteria.

I believe that many of us don’t know how to define happiness. psychologists at Hiram College did a research that showed how many people associate happiness with inconsistent and fleeting emotions such as joy, pride, gratitude, appreciation and even drug induced highs.

Just because you occasionally smile, feel joyful, get appreciated and get compliments about something, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are happy. That is why there are people who have everything any average human could want but they aren’t happy.

In one of the studies the researchers asked cocaine drug addicts if they truly felt happy when they were under the influence. The answer was a yes. But they also went on to ask them how they felt when they were not under the influence, the answer was no.

So they asked them if they would be happy if they were always under the influence 24/7, they said yes. The researches concluded one thing when they compared this study with others that were related to non-addicts: happiness isn’t happiness if it is dependent on something or someone.

The truth is that we all chase for happiness in one thing, whether it is a person, a family, a friendship,a relationship, a job, a material thing, a career or even money.

We convince ourselves that if we attain those things then we will be happy, but the truth is, if our sense of happiness is predicated by something that we don’t have and that we can lose if we ever possess it then that is not true happiness.

That is why most people become very unhappy when their romantic relationships come to an end. It is okay to be sad after a relationship, but if you become unhappy because the relationship ended, then you were looking for the right thing but in the wrong place.

One of my favorite actors, Will Smith once posted an awesome caption on his instagram; in his post talked about how being happy is a personal responsibility that everyone needs to undertake instead of putting on someone or something. Check it out:

Let me quote him; “We (Him and his wife, Jaden Pikkett Smith) decided that we were gonna find our individual internal private separate joy and then we’re gonna present ourselves to the relationship and to each other already happy. Not coming to each other begging with our empty cups out, demanding that she fill my cup. And demanding that she meet my needs. It’s unfair and it’s kind of unrealistic and can be destructive to place the responsibility for your happiness on anybody other than yourself. “

I couldn’t have said it better myself ?

Where Happiness Begins:

1. Self Awareness

Self awareness Definition:

Self awareness is the skill of having a clear view of who you are, your personality, that is your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

Self Awareness is where happiness begins. It is an art through which you get to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment. 

Self awareness is the basis and beginning point to happiness. This is where the basis to what makes you happy and fulfilled is formed.

Why Practice Self Awareness

Its important to practice self awareness because this is where happiness begins. What we like what we enjoy and what our principles are and what our personalities are are based on how self aware we are.

Self awareness will help you identify the following characters and attributes in you:

  • what you value the most in life
  • what gives you the most joy
  • what you value in relationships
  • what kind of work gives you the most fulfillment and joy
  • what you think about the world around you and the universe in a whole(existentialism)

Just to name a few.

In short the question of being self aware is to make sure that you are focusing your attention, your emotions, reactions, personality and behavior on where you want to go in life.

How to develop self awareness

how to become more self aware
how to become more self aware

The first step to being more self aware is to get to know your personality. Your personality is your basic natural traits that describe you, the many tiny character traits and differences that separate you from others.

These character traits are described in detail by two major psychology based theories:

  • The Big Five Character Traits – is based on 5 character traits i.e extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neurotic-ism.
  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI) – the MBTI inventory is one of the most widely used psychological instruments in the world. It is designed to identify a person’s personality type, strengths, and preferences. The questionnaire was developed by Isabel Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs based on their work with Carl Jung’s theory of personality types.

These are the two mostly used personality theories and they have test built for them so that anybody can take them so that they can have a clear clue to who they really are.

You can easily find them online, check them out and get to know your personality.

NB// The accuracy of these tests are based on your honesty and accuracy. If you are unsure of yourself I recommend you take them at least 3 times and from two different platforms for a clear answer. Happy hunting ?

These are the online personality tests and guess what, the are 100% FREE:

The first 3 are based on the MBTI test while the last one is the one based on the Big 5 theory.

The second step to being self aware is to practice being who you are.

And no, am not talking about changing yourself because that is not where happiness begins, am talking about always doing what is in accordance to your personality and always changing those things that are not.

Why am I saying this, most of us try to change who we are so that we can fit in or stand out in the crowd. Trying to fit in or stand out is a terrible approach to being happy because the truth of the matter is, we can’t change who we are!

We can only change our behaviors but not our personalities.

A person who is an introvert can learn to go out more often but he/she will still be an introvert, an introvert who makes an effort to go out more often so that he/she can have a meaningful social life. Get where am going with this? Am saying, PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE!

You can practice by trying new things out, going to new places, meeting with people who have the same values as you and changing your toxic circle and relationships.

The third and last step to being self aware is to be accountable to yourself and others.

You can do this by keeping a journal, having an accountability buddy or joining a support group.

Being accountable will help you to stay on track so that you don’t get distracted by what may come your way on your road to self awareness.

Happiness begins when you chose to be who you are rather than who you think you should be.

Acceptance, contentment and personal pride is essential if you want to be happy.

I hope this article was as helpful as I thought it would be, read on to find out if am capable of helping the world or not?.

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About author
I'm a psychology enthusiast and a fried chicken lover. I write bite sized articles unpacking the complexities of the human mind. The mission is to advocate for what's more important in life - the pursuit of the truth and the highest good one can do with that truth - for themselves, the people around them and the society as a whole.
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