There are so many ways to speak to self awareness.
It is described as the act of perceiving, gaining knowledge, learning and understanding one’s thoughts, beliefs and motives. I like to think of it as honoring your true nature.
There is a lot of information on the interwebz about self awareness. It’s also used in a number of different contexts. In my grown-up job, I speak to self awareness most often when providing guidance and professional coaching to my staff. To honestly assess where they need to develop more skills to achieve their next milestone.
But what really gets me thinking is why do we need to be educated and coached on self awareness? Why do we need to consciously work on learning about ourselves? Where did we loose ourselves?
I think it is because we are so externally stimulated. We have amazing senses and highly functional brains so we can take in a lot. We are always doing, seeing, speaking and processing and that can take up a lot of space in our minds. This is illustrated in our tendency to identify ourselves with or in relation to something else. For example, we describe not our true selves, but ourselves by our circumstances. I am an artist. I am a utra-runner. I am a mother.
We also live in a highly competitive culture. We are taught that inadequacies lead to failure so we conceal our weaknesses. We desperately want to prevent judgement. So on-goes the hard shell and out goes the opportunity for true improvement, potential and contentment.
Here is the thing, being a mother, an artist or an ultra-runner isn’t what makes you tick. These attributes are on top of your true self. Honestly assessing where you can improve enables the potential to improve.
When you understand what is inside, you can start to see the why. Why you react in specific ways. Why you cannot make changes in an area that is causing you angst. Why you can’t achieve a specific goal. With the why, you can start to make changes.
We develop patterns and thought interpretations that aren’t always good for us. We do things that prohibit our relationships, careers and personal growth. Without self awareness, it is really hard to break these patterns. It’s really hard to reach your potential. The hard shell stays locked on.
When you better understand the root cause, the ‘inside’, you can better understand the reasons behind the patterns, thought interpretations, reactions and stumbling blocks. It’s like treating the cause of the allergic reaction instead of the symptom of the allergic reaction.
The what is self awareness. The why is potential. The how is meditation.
In my last post I wrote about the pause. I wrote about how meditation gives us the opportunity to practice pausing and when we pause we can create space. We just need a little space between us and the pattern, the stimuli, the cause, the action, the reaction.
In this space we can observe. We can pay attention. We can reflect. We can assess. More often than not, our responses are lightening fast and before we know it, we’re back to the same. Goal not achieved. Angst is back in full force. Our typical reactions prevail.
In this space we can start to get to know the why. We can look underneath the hard shell. We can start to converse with our true nature.
Meditation becomes the gateway to the inside.
When we practice meditation, we not only practice pausing, but we also practice going within. Meditation is a time to start to get to know our true nature, what is underneath that hard shell.
To change, to reach out potential, we have to pause and let ourselves be open and vulnerable. Meditation is the dedication to practicing this pause & vulnerability.
Meditate & be well.