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?
Many people who lack self-awareness make a habit of dismissing the difficult questions in life like:
- Why am I here?
- Who am I?
- What do I really want to do in life?
- What is the meaning of life?
- Why do I have to die?
- What happens when I die?
- What brings me deeper meaning in life?
- What issues do I need to heal to live more fully?
- How do I find inner peace and balance?
- What kind of a person am I?
- How can I help resolve the formidable issues facing humanity?
When people are confronted with daunting, complex, challenging questions that make them uncomfortable, they often stick their heads in the sand. Some individuals spend their whole lives avoiding even thinking about these issues, not realizing that it’s crucial to find the answers in order to live meaningfully and happily.
The more you know yourself, the easier it is to contemplate even the most mystifying conundrums because you can draw upon a deep reservoir of inner knowledge, understanding, and insight which allows you to think creatively and expansively. What will you do to answer the difficult questions in life?
Self-awareness means looking inside yourself rather than relying on outside influences, entities, or events to make you happy in life. Countless people spend inordinate amounts of time living based on what some outside person or entity tells them to do, or reacting to whatever circumstance they find themselves in, rather than charting a course based on who they are deep inside and what they find meaningful and fulfilling. The key to being truly happy in life is being able to look inside yourself and:
- Define who you really are.
- Discover your true inner voice.
- Determine what you really want to do in life.
- Figure out what you need to do to live authentically.
When you do these things you’ll live life based on what’s inside you rather than always reacting to outside people and situations. It’s up to you whether you live life consciously or passively. What will you do to look inside yourself?
If you possess a high level of self-awareness you’re probably not living superficially, which means that you enjoy life on a deeper level. People who don’t know themselves well tend to think, feel and behave in ways that are almost exclusively superficial and, ultimately, unfulfilling. The more you understand yourself the easier it is for you to go below the surface and appreciate the nuance and complexity inside and around you. There are many benefits to going deeper:
- You get to live your life based on your real dreams, talents, and abilities.
- You get to connect with others on a more meaningful level.
- You enjoy fulfilling conversations and interactions.
- You know more about yourself and understand others more completely.
- People know the real you.
- Your relationships are based on deeper interaction.
- You share yourself with the world.
- You’re genuinely happy.
Some people go through their entire lives living superficially and miss out on all the rich, gratifying experiences that living more deeply provides. What will you do to keep increasing your self-awareness and move beyond living superficially?
You can increase your self-esteem by developing your self-awareness. For example, you’ll be a more confident, courageous person when:
- You know who you are deep inside.
- You know what you want in life.
- You follow your passions.
- You live authentically.
- Your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are positive.
- You have healthy boundaries.
- You value yourself because you know how amazing you are.
- You steer clear of people who try to sabotage your progress.
- You genuinely like yourself.
When you do these types of things you feel better about yourself. A lot of people encounter unnecessary difficulties and heartaches in life because they move away from who they really are deep inside. The more self-awareness you possess, the more you’ll enjoy life as the real you and the happier you’ll be. What will you do to keep increasing your self-esteem?
If you’ve ever had a horrible neighbor you’re familiar with someone who lacks self-awareness. People who behave negatively don’t know what else to do so they work out the hurts from their past and present on everyone they encounter. Here are some of the characteristics of horrible neighbors:
- Pursue self-gratification before thinking of others.
- Don’t consider other people’s needs.
- Lack empathy.
- Poor boundaries.
- Arbitrary rule setting, what’s OK for them to do is not tolerated from others.
- Act like bullies.
- Lack basic interpersonal skills like communication or problem solving.
- Refuse to change behavior, don’t believe in change.
- Think the world is a tough, hard place and that everyone is out to get them.
- History of poor relationships.
The reason I’m writing about this topic is that it’s a powerful test of your ability to take care of yourself rather than getting sucked into another person’s negativity. For example, you have the ability to steer clear of your neighbor’s negative behavior by:
- Realizing it’s not about you.
- Learning how to manage your emotions.
- Reminding yourself how great you are.
- Healing your own hurts.
- Deciding that you’re not going to react negatively.
- Living your life positively.
- Behaving with kindness and compassion.
- Continuing to pursue your dreams.
- Making plans to leave this mess behind.
- Focusing on your own personal growth.
You have a lot of power to behave any way you want when you encounter people who try to make things difficult. What will you do to move past the horrible neighbor?