A big part of practicing self-awareness is being able to examine the complexities in the world through thinking critically and considering issues from more than one perspective. It’s easy to look at everything from one point of view, you just make a quick decision based on what you’ve always thought, but I prefer living in a world where things don’t always have an immediate answer.
A lot of people are afraid of dealing with complex issues like death or self-awareness, but it’s in those types of difficult topics that we discover the meaning of life. It’s simpler to subsist avoiding the deeper issues in life but we stay stuck at that level, which doesn’t lead to great meaning or fulfillment. I’ve found it far more productive to welcome ambiguity and discomfort and use them to learn and grow.
How do you deal with complex issues?
Ongoing progress means that we strive to build self-awareness and expand our knowledge and understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us. We consciously work on growing and are open to new experiences and insights. It’s the opposite of saying we’re fully cooked or that we can’t be taught new tricks.
It’s been my experience that people are capable of doing anything they decide to do as long as they keep an open mind. If someone wants to follow a certain path or reach a given goal, all it takes is deliberate action over time to make it happen. The tragedy is that, even though people have the ability to follow their dreams, they often settle for a version of themselves that stopped evolving in high school.
Although it’s more difficult, the key to being truly happy in life is to continue developing as a person and becoming more self-aware. It’s the difference between staying stuck doing the same thing over and over, and constantly exploring new and exciting horizons. What do you do to keep progressing?
A lot of people believe that pride means being as outwardly tough and invulnerable as possible. They’ll insist they’re proud of doing something or being a certain way even when they’re not. This type of thinking produces people who can never back down, admit being wrong, or change their minds. They present a strong facade but are internally shattered and lack the self-awareness to change direction.
True pride is not how much bravado you project or how strong your shell is, it’s how you actually feel about yourself deep inside and how genuinely balanced and fulfilled you are. People who are willing to take a look at who they are and make the necessary adjustments are much more likely to live happily than those who only focus on projecting invincibility.
Being proud means really being at peace with yourself by living life as the real you, not just pretending you’re doing it. Pride is the ability to feel great about who you are as a person at every level, without any rationalizations or qualifications. What do you think about pride?
Experiencing kindness as a child is a major part of being able to practice compassion as an adult. People who have not had families where kindness was the norm tend to be skeptical that it exists because they didn’t experience it in their formative years.
Kindness is really just another way of saying that you treat people with love, you care for them as if they are precious and deserve great tenderness and respect. It’s the only way to live a truly fulfilling life because, when you treat others well, it tends to create positive vibes in the universe.
People who value self-awareness often think in terms of how to increase the kindness in the world, whether it is by writing about love or challenging injustice. What do you think about experiencing kindness?
There are a lot of miserable people walking around because they’re doing what their families tell them to do, what their friends want them to do, or what some external being compels them to do rather than focusing on building self-awareness and living authentically.
The true key to happiness is to be yourself and live as the real you. Over many years of coaching individuals who value self-awareness, I’ve noticed that people cause themselves all kinds of unnecessary grief and tension because they don’t live in a way that reflects who they really are inside.
When you’re the authentic it opens all kinds of doors, you meet people who understand where you’re coming from and what you’re doing. You project positive energy when you’re following your passion. Since I let go of being someone I wasn’t and became a poet, I feel better about myself and connect with people who value what I do. I really like it when people like the real me instead of some artificial persona.
What do you do to be yourself?
Self-awareness is a major component of healthy family functioning because, the more people understand themselves, the easier it will be for them to get along with each other and interact positively. We’ve been led to believe that families are about order, control, hierarchy, respect, tradition and other words that put people in boxes rather than encourage them to be themselves and live joyfully. People in restrictive families are often asked to do things like:
- Keep secrets.
- Sublimate their own identity to fit the group.
- Follow rules, no matter how unreasonable or arbitrary.
- Be in constant conflict and call it love.
- Occasionally do nice things for each other.
- Have no effective problem-solving or conflict resolution mechanisms.
- Talk only about approved subjects.
- Blindly defer to people who may not know what they’re doing.
- Only express approved emotions.
- Negative behaviors are tolerated.
These types of actions are common in many families but don’t lead to celebrating individuals and helping them discover who they really are deep inside. When family members possess a high level of self-awareness they likely promote behaviors such as:
- Talking openly about difficult subjects.
- Building one’s own identify and being accepted.
- Worrying less about rules and more about critical thinking.
- Treating each other with kindness and empathy.
- Consistently doing nice things for each other.
- Understanding how to fix problems and resolve conflicts.
- All conversation topics are valid and important.
- Everyone is equal.
- All emotions are welcome.
- Positive behaviors are the norm.
There is a vast difference between the type of interactions that result from the first list and the second. The higher your level of self-awareness is, the more likely you are to move away from power and control to encouraging everyone to be his or her amazing self without restrictions or conditions. What will you do to improve your family functioning?
Your level of self-awareness is deeply connected to your conscience because you can never escape the psychological toll that behaving negatively takes on your life. For example: If your job requires that you do things that hurt people, you can’t run from it or pretend it’s not happening, it affects you regardless of how hard you try to ignore or justify it. The same applies to thinking or behaving negatively in your personal life: If you damage others, you impact the quality of your own life. Some people try to compensate for negative thoughts or behaviors by giving to worthwhile causes or doing kind things for their immediate family or friends, but the relief is temporary at best.
A more fulfilling and rewarding approach is to consciously do things that lead in a positive direction like behaving kindly toward others, practicing compassion, or helping people thrive. When faced with a choice, select the option that does the most good for as many people as possible and do nice things without expecting any personal gain. Self-awareness means that you’ve taken the time to be so comfortable with yourself that you give freely and treat others wonderfully. What will you do to develop a healthy conscience?