Become More Self-Aware in the Next 3 Minutes

Deciding to be alone is always the hardest part

Photo by Houcine Ncib on Unsplash

Everyone wants to be self-aware, but no one wants to be by themselves.

Unfortunately, if we never spend time alone, we’ll never know who we are.

Often, it’s not being alone that’s hard, it’s deciding to be alone. The prospect of loneliness — what we might feel when no one’s around — scares us so much that we never make time for it.

We might end up alone by coincidence, but we don’t plan for it, and we definitely don’t plan for it frequently. Thus, we rarely ever get there.

Once we actually are on our own, however, almost always, we realize: “Hey! This isn’t so bad. The world is still turning!” And then we learn something new about ourselves.

One such thing you can learn in the next three minutes, and it might not even require physical solitude. All it takes is finding your reflection.

Grab the small mirror in your bag or stand in front of your large one at home. Go to a restroom or turn on your laptop’s camera. You could even use the front cam of your phone, look at its shiny back, or stare at a window.

Wherever you can find it, once you see your twin inside the glass, take a deep breath. Sit or stand straight. Close your eyes. Inhale through the nose, hold for a second, then exhale through your nose as well. Then, open your eyes.

What you see right now is your face at rest. What does it look like? Is it a happy face? A bored face? A sad face? Are you smiling? Do you look grumpy?

Whatever it looks like, without realizing it, this is the face you’re wearing 95% of the time you’re awake.

It’s the face people see when you pass them in the street. It’s the face looking at your screen as you work, at your phone as you chill, and at your TV while playing games. It’s the face behind the windshield of your car, the face that walks into a grocery store, and the face that looks at new people as you meet them for the first time.

Unless…you change it.

If you don’t smile, people won’t see you smiling. If you don’t laugh, no one knows you’re having fun. If you don’t look focused, how should we know not to interrupt you? Facial expressions matter.

Knowing ourselves is our responsibility, and it starts with the look on our face.

It may seem small, but every day, that’s the message we’re carrying into the world. If we want to change that message, we first have to know what it says.

Self-awareness is something we all aspire to, and yet, because of what’s necessary to get there — being alone — we shy away from it at the same time.

Today, spend three minutes with the person in the mirror. Get to know them.

Take a bathroom break, pretend you’re fixing your makeup, or spend a long time “preparing for a selfie.” It’s okay to make up an excuse. If it helps you know yourself better, it’ll be worth it.

Self-awareness is a skill. It takes practice, and to practice, we must make time. Staring at yourself in the mirror won’t be the end of it, but it sure is a start.

I write for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists. For my best writing and book updates 1–2 times/month, you can be my email friend:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store