For today's Friday Feature, we're gonna continue our SEL Spotlight series. This series is meant to level-up your knowledge of what Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is and stand behind SEL as the key driver to living a wonderfully balanced and successful life. If you missed any posts in this series, you can still read about self-awareness and self-management, two of the five competencies that make up SEL.
As opposed to self-awareness, which is one's ability to focus and reflect on oneself, social awareness is the ability to see others by taking another person's perspective. The ability to take another's perspective is incredibly powerful as it allows for empathy, building meaningful relationships, communicating effectively, and guiding us to behave appropriately across different environments and situations. Having strong social awareness helps us to respect others and appreciate diversity.
Technically, strong social awareness leads to your ability to interact with others in the most efficient and proper way possible. If you know the person you are interacting with, you can make adjustments to nudge a favorable outcome. You might already do this without knowing it. Think about the way you approach your mom vs. your boss when trying to resolve a problem. Is there a difference? Social awareness also helps us understand how to behave in different places. For example, while eating popcorn in a movie theater is totally expected, eating popcorn at the library would be very frowned upon (sorry, Madam Pince).
If we want to get touchy-feely, having strong social awareness allows us to feel what others are feeling and this feeling leads to a deeper understanding and connection with others. When we understand others better, we can communicate more effectively, build stronger relationships, and make decisions that aren't tunnel-visioned. Think about someone who really, no really really gets you, and think about how good this feels. This is social awareness in action.
Many of our training programs at Odyssey actively build social awareness. From our Feeling Decoder program, which helps kids and parents read facial expressions, to Kindness Keeper, which promotes service, we're big believers in not only knowing ourselves but also paying attention to others. Fully owning both is the winning 1-2 combo.
Stay tuned for the next iteration in this series where we'll review Relationship Skills. Bring it on!