It has been brought to my attention that there may be some misunderstandings or misperceptions surrounding the subject of self-awareness, if and when the subject might come up. There are some that, without much investigation, have assumed that self-awareness is a New Agey, trendy, West Coast fad sort of thing. There are others who may associate self-awareness with self-indulgence or self-absorption. Indeed, these people may have encountered individuals that were actually practicing the latter two (indulgence and absorption) while professing to be developing the former (actual awareness). This is not unlike when we meet certain religious types that are practicing intolerance and condemnation while professing their charity and love towards all.
It kind of leaves us wondering in a less than positive way.
Every single day, each and every one of us are making lots and lots of choices. There are so many choices involved in each day that we actually form routines or habits around the ones that we have decided to no longer pay attention to, that are trivial or insignificant (in our opinion). Personal habits in hygiene, dressing, how we like our tea/coffee, what route we take to work, and so on and so on. We do these all without noticing.
When I speak of becoming self-aware, I am guiding people first into and with the practice of noticing themselves. The purpose of noticing is to bring our choices into the light of our consciousness. This is the essence of self-awareness.
The purpose of self-awareness is to increase the likelihood that our choices will not be in conflict with what we know to be true…true about ourselves in the present moment and true to the lessons that we have learned from life thus far. This is alignment. When we are not at odds within ourselves, we feel better. We have more energy. We feel healthier and truly we are. Because we are less and less at crossed purposes with ourselves, we are much less stressed or worried. Medically speaking alone, this is much healthier for us.
During this alignment process, there is a certain clarity that develops. We see more and more how the various elements of our life are interconnected. Those aspects of ourselves that used to seem to be disparate or disassociated or compartmentalized, gradually and gently become integrated. We grow and begin to have integrity.
These items, alignment, clarity and integrity, are not accent pieces that we are dressing our personality with so that we can ‘look’ better. These attributes are the benefits of pursuing self-awareness that are actually stripping away the layers of stylish or popular or merely familiar behaviors that we have draped across our real selves…layers that have been weighing us down, layers that have been suffocating us, layers that we didn’t even realize we were wearing.
Self-awareness is liberating. It is not, however, a casual stroll through the candy land of wishful thinking and fancy self projections. It involves the compassionate and yet consistent focus on the nitty gritty, nuts and bolts, aspects of what we are actually saying, doing and feeling in the real world. The more we are willing to make this effort, the more we will find ourselves choosing to be accountable and responsible…to our own self.
This is what is so liberating. We are no longer living up to someone else’s opinion of us.
We will take ownership of our choices. We will live owning ourselves.
A.Charles…I love the idea of layering …and removing those layers. This is such a stunning visual; “layers of stylish or popular or merely familiar behaviors that we have draped across our real selves…layers that have been weighing us down, layers that have been suffocating us, layers that we didn’t even realize we were wearing”.
Drape is a very powerful word here – these layers are not imposed, not attached, and can be peeled back to reveal the simple beauty that lies beneath. It may not be a casual stroll through candy land but, with a compassionate guide, it is a curious process involving growth and delight.