"Each time you meet an old emotional pattern with presence (awareness), your awakening to truth can deepen." Tara Brach
Being aware of ourselves is more than just being alert or paying selective attention. When we practice self-awareness we are not afraid to look at our strengths and weaknesses. In fact, we can be very interested in knowing more about what makes us strong and how we limit ourselves or let others impose limitations on us. Being more aware we can challenge how we are limited and promote what helps us thrive.
"What I learn when I practice self-awareness is that I can over-rely on a few of my favorite strengths. In the past, I avoided facing up to a few of my limitations and allowed them to oppose my potential for several years. I paid a higher price than was necessary for allowing myself to remain limited. When I was ready to face the limiting beliefs and behaviors head-on - I felt brave. My desire to overcome the limits outweighed the fear of where they came from and how deeply rooted they were." -D. Daigneault
Practicing self-awareness can become an asset. We still need to be brave but that is preferable to feeling afraid and surrendering to old programming that isn't serving us well.
Image by Mathieu Stern - Unsplash
Being more self-aware includes paying attention to your thoughts. Have you ever noticed when a thought and feeling pair up in your mind and that pairing weighs you down? It can seem automatic and therefore unchangeable but thought/feeling pairs can be changed. It takes a little practice and more self-awareness to begin to make changes to the thought/feeling pairs you want to change. Changing the pattern of thinking that has been problematic for you can be done, one pair at a time. Thought + Feeling = good or bad internal experience
A simple and useful visual about changing our thought/feeling pairs is in this article: https://www.thepitchkc.com/kc-voices-how-to-defeat-the-feelings-that-are-wearing-us-all-down/
Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps has written about Compassionate Self-Awareness (CSA) in two books available on Amazon. On her website drbecker-phelps.com, she states, "There are many therapeutic approaches that can help. However, they all begin with some form of increased self-awareness. This is essential because, as in any other area of life, to solve a problem, you must get to really know it."
Dr. Becker-Phelps explains that, "One powerful way that you can gain a richer appreciation for yourself and begin to change is by increasing your self-awareness in 5 basic areas called STEAM: Sensations, Thoughts, Emotions, Actions, and Mentalizing. The last domain, Mentalizing, is essentially the ability to understand people’s behaviors by understanding and connecting with underlying thoughts, feelings, desires, and other inner experiences. Importantly, you can mentalize yourself and other people."
I appreciate the work that Sim at Unstoppablerise.com is doing on self-awareness. His focus is on the impact awareness has on men but the following excerpt from one of his articles is applicable to all of us. He shared three things that come from self-awareness.
Self-awareness gives rise to three things:
Appropriate levels of action – An individual with high levels of self-awareness will be able to calibrate his or her responses to any given situation. An example would be lowering your speaking voice while in a library or church. An individual without any level of self-awareness cannot do that.
Areas of adjustment – A person can adjust his or her response to their environment by noting the distinct thoughts and feelings in response to that environment. This, in turn, can shape self-development.
Preservation of self and group enhancement – At any given moment, an individual is on a spectrum of pain or pleasure. Self-awareness allows the individual to adjust themselves relative on this spectrum to be a more effective person in their family, community, and the world at large.
Four Archetypes of Self-Awareness
Internal self-awareness is of our values, passions, aspirations, reactions, comfort in our environment, and how we impact others. Do you know about the difference in internal self-awareness versus external self-awareness? External self-awareness is about understanding how we are viewed by others. Higher external self-awareness can mean more empathy and perspective taking skills.
Dr. Tasha Eurich created this chart that shows four types of self-awareness with a few areas for improvement. (https://hbr.org/2018/01/what-self-awareness-really-is-and-how-to-cultivate-it)
The following articles are a great place to begin learning about self-awareness.
1. What is Self-Awareness and How to Develop it. https://www.developgoodhabits.com/what-is-self-awareness/
2.What is Self-Awareness and Why is it Important? https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/self-awareness-matters-how-you-can-be-more-self-aware/
3. What is Self-Awareness, and How Do You Get It? https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201903/what-is-self-awareness-and-how-do-you-get-it
4. Worksheet to help gain Self-Awareness Through STEAM by Dr. Becker-Phelps.
To gain more self-awareness, look for our So Worthy Activity Journal on the main page today.
The book is a companion to our free So Worthy App available May 2020.