Three Steps to Awareness in Your Life!
What does “awareness” mean to you?
The Oxford Dictionary says the meaning is “having knowledge or realization”.
What happens to you when you are aware? Do you have a sense of feeling of what you want and what you need? What is your vision? How do you see yourself now?
Through thinking and visualization, you can see that the way you communicate with your family, friends and clients can change your life.
Today I am going to talk about being aware of your “self-talk” and view of yourself. Specifically, I am going to address three areas of awareness you need to know:
- Awareness of how you talk to yourself.
- Awareness of how you view yourself.
- Awareness of how you feel about your body and self-image.
Awareness of how you talk to yourself.
I used to think that I was special, that I was able to do anything that I wanted and that life was not really giving me all that I asked for. What was I doing wrong? What was I doing right?
What I learned is that I was not talking as lovingly to myself as I talked to others. I would tell others how wonderful they were, how special they were and how I could envision them as something special that they could not see of themselves.
As a result of this, an awareness of themselves that they had not had before, had suddenly taken hold and they were able to see themselves in a new light that enabled them to accomplish even more.
When the veil is lifted, one can see. I lifted their veil and their vision of themselves improved – and so did their lives.
I then realized after seeing this succeed time and time again with my friends and my family, that I should perhaps begin trying this on myself. I reviewed my special skills, talents and personality traits and learned to “talk to myself” in the same way I had encouraged others.
A funny thing happened at first. I began to argue with myself! I actually had trouble believing some of the great things I was saying about myself. This phase is referred by psychiatrists as “self-doubt”. As paralyzing as this may be, it is still a healthy and necessary step in becoming self-aware.
By identifying three positive traits in yourself, you have proven that you do indeed have these special gifts. Self-doubt assesses the degree to which you value these gifts. It is a good idea to ask your best friends to help you identify these three traits.
For example, you look in the mirror and tell yourself “You are beautiful”. Fine. You have established that you believe you are attractive. Now you begin to compare your assessment with what society and your friends consider to be definitions of that word.
Yes, I am beautiful, but as beautiful as a fashion model, a centerfold, an actress, that young blonde next door with all the boyfriends? By doing this you are examining an “objective” measurement based on external scales. The assessment that ultimately defines your statement “I am beautiful” is “subjective” and this entails more than the superficial definitions of beauty your self-doubt identifies.
How is this possible? Well, no-one knows yourself better than you. When you tell yourself “you are beautiful” you are not simply talking about your hair or your nice smile. Your definition goes far beyond that.
You are including your inner beauty, your soul, and your heart. This is a far more honest assessment of your proclamation and, as such, confirms your statement and removes self-doubt from the equation, leaving you with a confidence you never had before.
Awareness of how you view yourself.
Self-awareness is having the ability to be conscious of your individuality; your distinctive personality, thoughts, feelings, and actions. It is having the knowledge of why you do what you do, and the motives behind these actions.
The first step in being aware of how you view yourself is to list three things about yourself that you believe defines who you are. Do that now.
What did you come up with?
If you said things like I am attractive, I am smart and I am a good mother, this is a good start, but inherently incomplete. You have identified aspects of who you are that are usually defined by others. A true awareness of yourself requires you to view yourself as only you can see.
Examples of these are: I enjoy helping the needy, I lie to get out of problems, I need to be more understanding. These are aspects of who you are that those around you may never tell you. This is true self-awareness. And it doesn’t have to be negative. It just has to be true. And only you can know.
Awareness of who you truly are and how you relate to everything and everyone will enable you to gain understanding and self acceptance. You'll know when and how to allow, cope or deal with any situation.
When you begin to develop this kind of self-awareness you will discover what you never have realized about yourself and how you've participated in creating your life today. The difference now is you can control your future destiny by truly knowing who you are.
Here are a couple of methods of helping you achieve self-awareness:
Keep a journal: Write down your experiences each day. When you’ve done this, go back and read them. An amazing thing will emerge – you will begin to see patterns. Similarities in what you’ve written. Things like subject matter – you may always choose to write about funny things that you experienced, or things that made you angry. You may notice you always add a personal review of the situation – “what an idiot”, “he was the cutest dog I ever saw”, “I really admired that”.
These represent the gold nuggets of self-awareness you’ve been panning for. The patterns are lines on the blueprint of who you are. You will see that you are essentially and intrinsically happy, cynical, charitable, jealous, etc. And these are all good. Even the bad is good because being aware of this is the first step to improving yourself.
Another method is to study people. Not just people you trust and admire, but everyone, perfect strangers. Listen to their language and speech. Watch what they do. Do you recognize behavior in them that you do as well? Is there any trait that is useful to you and can be modeled? Are they doing something that you are not? Keep your eyes and ears open to new possibilities and learning.
A great method that really works for me is to observe your behavior when you are under pressure.
What do you do when you are under pressure or when someone pushes your buttons? How do you talk to yourself outwardly and inwardly? Do you go into a rage or do you hide under the covers? Did you blame yourself or others? Look at your reactions from an observer's point of view. This will provide an objective perspective few of us provide ourselves with. How do you evaluate yourself?
Awareness of how you feel about your body and self-image.
Moshe Feldenkrais wrote in his book Awareness Through Movement that “Each one of us speaks, moves, thinks, and feels in a different way, each according to the image of himself that he has built up over the years. In order to change our mode of action we must change the image of ourselves that we carry within us.
“What is involved here, of course, is a change in the dynamics of our reactions, and not the mere replacing of one action by another. Such a change involves not only a change in our self-image, but a change in the nature of our motivations, and the mobilization of all the parts of the body concerned.”
This can be achieved through four components of action: movement, sensation, feeling, and thought.
In order to think, for instance, a person must be awake, and know that they are awake and not dreaming; that is, they must sense and discern their physical position relative to the field of gravity. It follows that movement, sensing, and feeling are also involved in thinking.
In order to feel angry or happy, a man must be in a certain posture, and in some kind of relationship to another being or object. That is, he must also move, sense, and think.
In order to sense--see, hear, or touch--a person must be interested, startled, or aware of some happening that involves him or her. That is, they must move, feel, and think.
These are the basic “mechanics” of self-image awareness. Once you have employed these methods, you will have a clear definition of your feelings related to your self-image and constructively lay the groundwork for growth and improvement.
By Karen Toth
Stretch Your Life