By Irene Conlan –
Self awareness is not for sissies. It is not easy. Self awareness is knowing why you do what you do, think like you think, react like you react, love what you love, dislike what you dislike. It means being aware of your thoughts, emotions, energy, spirit and body. This is what Richard Bach was getting at when he said:
We wait all these years to find someone who understands us, I thought, someone who accepts us as we are, someone with a wizard’s power to melt stone to sunlight, who can bring us happiness in spite of trials, who can face our dragons in the night, who can transform us into the soul we choose to be. Just yesterday I found that magical Someone is the face we see in the mirror: It’s us and our homemade masks.
Take off the Mask
Self awareness essentially takes off the mask, and learns who you are and what makes you tick, puts you in charge of your own life and your reactions. Who wouldn’t want that?
So what do you do when you want to learn something new? You study and you practice. Piano, for example. You study music theory, learn to read music (unless you’re a savant) and you practice, practice, practice.
If you want to learn to play golf, or tennis you learn the rules of the games and you practice.
If you want to be a writer, you learn your language—the grammar and the rules of punctuation—and you learn how to construct a story or an essay or a poem—and then you write and write.
How do you become self aware?
So how do you study self awareness? You study YOU and you practice paying attention until you come to some understanding of why you do what you do and think what you think.
You are the textbook and only you can read and understand it. To do that:
- You look at who you dislike and figure out why.
- You look at who you like or love and figure out why about that, too.
- You study what makes you angry in a certain situation or toward a specific person until you figure out what’s at the bottom of it. Eventually you will be able to take the energy out of it.
- You study what makes you happy and what makes you sad and you figure out why.
- You study why you overeat or don’t eat enough, drink too much, go on binges of any kind.
- You watch your thoughts and your speech. What do you think about in the quiet times. What do you say when you get angry, when you feel loved, when you are afraid.?
- You notice who and what “pushes your buttons.”
- You are aware of your moods and how often they change.
You leave no stone un-turned
I find that the best time to do this type of work is during meditation. That’s a time when you have more access to your subconscious mind and in a place that you may not be disturbed. There is no right way or wrong way to do this.
We have so many protective mechanisms that it is hard to find the truth about some things. One very helpful survey to give you some clues is on the website for Positive Psychology. You might take a look at http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx
You will find that this kind of study offers all kinds of rewards. If nothing else you’ll define what really makes you happy and once you know you can go for it!