Social awareness plays a crucial role in our interactions with others, yet some people seem completely unaware of the impact they have on those around them. They may unintentionally upset people in various settings, like at work or within their family, yet remain puzzled when confronted with negative reactions.
Their lack of empathy prevents them from understanding how their behavior affects others, resulting in the person continuing their behavior which ultimately results in the same unwanted outcome. It is a vicious cycle that can be hard to break and hurtful for all involved.
To increase social awareness, one effective approach is to operate on two mental levels simultaneously—similar to a computer that is running a main program while having an additional program running quietly in the background.
The main program involves conveying a specific message, such as asking your partner to complete a task within the home or to do something for a family member. Meanwhile, the other program encourages you to envision how you may appear and sound as you deliver this message. You are simultaneously asserting yourself while ensuring you do so in a positive yet kind manner.
A valuable technique I frequently employed in anger management courses involves patients imagining there is a video camera recording their daily interactions. I then encourage individuals to ask themselves:
- “How am I currently presenting myself?”
- “How do others perceive me from their point of view?”
- “Is the message I intend to deliver the same as the one they are receiving?”
By adopting this dual perspective, you can develop a heightened sense of social awareness, leading to more positive and effective communication with others and within your relationship.