One Key to a Great Life: Self Awareness
One could argue that nothing is more powerful in your life than developing a profound level self-awareness. Self-Awareness is defined many ways, however it’s easiest described as having a crystal clear view of your personality traits. Your personality is built up of your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts and thought processes, beliefs, emotions, and motivations. Creating a massive amount of awareness around each personality trait will not only allow yourself to begin to view yourself in a new light, but it will also allow you to see how the world may perceive you.
It takes time, but as you begin to develop an honest awareness of yourself and your moment to moment thought processes, it allows you to assess your thoughts and emotions, and determine if they’re taking you in the direction you want your life headed towards. This is extremely powerful, as it’s the first step in TRULY mastering your life! Where you focus all of your personality traits, your attention to certain things, your emotions towards situations, reactions, thoughts, and behavior determine where you go in life. Becoming honest and aware of each trait then allows you to make changes you want. Until you are aware IN THE MOMENT of your thoughts, emotions, words, and behavior, it is difficult for anyone to make any sort of permanent change in their life. The key is total, 100% transparency with yourself. We can tell ourselves who we are, or who we want to be, but the most important thing is to actually listen to what we want.
How do we develop a better self-awareness?
It was best described by a fellow by the name of Gary van Warmerdam as “Think of learning to be mindful and self-aware as learning to dance. When learning to dance we have to pay attention to how and where our feet move, our hands and body motion, what our partner is doing, music, beat, floor space, and other dancers. Dancing isn’t learned from books and Self Awareness isn’t either. A dancer needs awareness of their body movements.”. In simple terms, you can’t be taught self-awareness and personal mindfulness. It is developed when you consciously pay attention to the way you express your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors from one situation to the next.
How can this benefit my life?
By practicing this state of mindfulness, you can have dramatically positive effects on your inner happiness, your social life, your relationships, and your overall success in life. For example, everyone has at least that one person in their life that does something so small and nonsensical, but it makes you twitch in anger? If you can begin to boil down WHY you have such an emotional and irrational reaction to this, you can begin to dig deeper into your insecurities.
Here is an example of mine that may help you: Occasionally my partner will leave small, yet cluttered messes around the house. The moment I see it, I feel a rush of anger come over me. But why? I could lash out and raise my voice…but that probably wouldn’t solve anything. So why does this bother me? Is it the act of her not cleaning the mess, or is it the mess itself that causes me to react? As I begin to unravel my thoughts, breaking down walls and barriers, I begin to understand that it actually stems from a negative association I created with "clutter" and "mess" in a painful time of my life. This gives clarity to an irrational emotion caused by an event in the past, something that doesn’t exist anymore, and allows for myself to better react to the situation, in turn giving me power over my thoughts and emotions.
In conclusion, if you’re finding that you have an emotional reaction of frustration in any sort of situation, try to notice and pinpoint the triggers that lead you to that emotion. Once you are able to evaluate what makes you feel a certain way (either positive or negative!), you can begin to course correct your emotions and actions. In time, with this heightened awareness it will become much easier to make subtle changes to your behavior and adjust your thoughts and emotions to better serve what makes you happy.
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