Don’t cringe, but how well do you truly know yourself and your effect on others? A thought-provoking new book claims that self-awareness is key to a happier and more successful life.
My friend Mags* laughs like a mime artist: wide jaw, no sound, jazz hands. It’s a joy to watch. She makes a mean salted caramel brownie and never judges. I value her friendship. But Mags has a habit of turning every conversation back to her. Had a bad week? Mags has had a bad month. Psyched about your promotion? Congratulations! Did you know Mags is on track for one, too? It used to infuriate me, but I realised long ago that Mags doesn’t mean to be self-involved – she simply has no idea how she can come across to others.
But before you dismiss this sort of behaviour as something you’d never do, bear in mind that being intelligent, successful, empathetic and sociable does not make you immune. I thought I was enlightened when it came to my shortcomings. I know I’m bossy and that if I don’t eat every three hours, I’m best avoided. So I was shocked when my husband informed me (after much badgering) that I can be ‘slightly self-obsessed’. Apparently, I talk about work incessantly. But I’m self-employed and my husband is usually the first person I’ve spoken to all day, so it’s hardly my fault if I occasionally navel-gaze, right?
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