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Building Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence in Teens

by | Oct 13, 2020 | Teenagers | 0 comments

Self-awareness and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) are very important life skills that help teens to create a happier life. Developing high Self-Awareness and EQ are natural outcomes of working with a life coach.

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

EQ is the ability to understand and regulate emotions and use that understanding to guide thinking and actions. Teens with high EQ are better able to self-regulate and self-soothe. They develop empathy, which helps them create healthy friendships and resolve conflicts peacefully. They have a clearer understanding of themselves, others, and situations, which helps them make wise choices. (For more on EQ, check out my audio course Boost Your Teen’s EQ.)

What is Self-Awareness?

EQ is an essential life skill and can only develop when self-awareness is strong.

Self-awareness is the ability to observe our inner thoughts and feelings, while also monitoring how they influence our external experiences. This awareness is a game-changer for teens and not only builds their EQ but also gives them a greater sense of control over their lives. They begin to realize how to take charge of their thoughts and use the power of self-awareness to create a happier life.

How Self-Awareness Helps Teens?

Consider this example of a teen who practiced self-awareness to achieve a goal:

LilyAnne was sixteen when she started coaching. She came into my office full of self-doubt and feelings of not-enoughness. While she had many hopes and dreams, she was afraid to take healthy risks for fear of failure and rejection.

As her self-awareness developed, she became aware of her self-talk. She started to recognize that by telling herself something bad would happen or she would fail, she was holding herself back from exciting possibilities. With this awareness, she was able to shift her focus onto more honest, helpful thoughts. Through thoughtful conversations and coaching processes, she learned more about her inner-qualities. She realized she felt so much better when her self-talk highlighted her qualities and abilities.

She began to tell herself, I can do hard things and I am a smart person who can figure things out. This enabled her to take healthy risks, namely the one she really wanted to take: trying out for the school play. Using self-awareness (and EQ) she nudged herself out of her comfort zone and to the audition. Her nervousness did not disappear, but she practiced what she learned, did her best, and landed a small role. Shortly after, she came bounding into my office exclaiming, “It worked! What you taught me about changing my negative thoughts into more positive thoughts worked! I got a part!”

LilyAnne’s experience highlights what can happen when teens gain self-awareness. Without it, she would have stayed stuck in the web of self-doubt and not-enoughness. With it, she gained a sense of capability, strength, and joy!

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Proven Ways to Increase Your Teen’s Self-Awareness:

  1. Help her become aware of her thoughts. Ask questions like, what are you telling yourself about yourself? Is that helping? If not, what would be a more helpful message?
  2. Encourage her to process her feelings. Talking with a neutral person, like a life coach or therapist, can build self-awareness and broaden perspective. Journaling is another helpful tool for processing experiences and emotional reactions.
  3. Talk about strengths and weaknesses. (Remember to acknowledge that everyone has weaknesses.) Share what you see in each other. Discuss how strengths can be used to overcome weaknesses and what additional practices can develop certain weaknesses. Share a “Strengths Story:” a time when you used one or more of your strengths to get through a challenge or tough situation.
  4. Do regular check-ins. At the end of each day, share a high and low. Talk about the feelings and thoughts that were triggered by each. Illuminate how those thoughts and feelings impacted the situation.
  5. Ask one of my favorite self-awareness building questions:
    – How do you talk to yourself about yourself?
    – How did you use a strength today?
    – What value is reflected in that choice?
    – If you had a magic wand, what would you change? How would that change impact you? What action can you take that might initiate that change now?
    – What qualities do you admire in others? Which of those qualities do you see in yourself? 

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