Round One. I have so much that I want to share with you. I want to get into my baggage, what I’ve had to work through, and what I am working on. My hope is the things that come up resonate with you, in addition to this being therapeutic for myself.
Before we can begin to dig, there are a couple key topics I feel we need to start with over the first entries. For me, these items are essential to constructing my reality that I intend to share. I will be transparent, though not at all times consistent. I hope my own complexities serve as support in times you feel uncertain. I say this, because that is all I really wanted and want during those moments in my life. To create this dynamic, I have to define what the foundational base of me is, how and why I operate this way; And I promise the topics aren’t childhood traumas. That’s still a lot though, right? I know. I hope you can remain patient with me throughout this journey as you learn about me and, I, about myself while we progress through. Here we go.
The most important concept, no debate, is awareness. Without it, there is no knowledge of where we are in our current space. And without knowing where we are, we lack the ability to change. It is impossible to change that which you are not aware of. Awareness affords an ability to identify and creates opportunity for intention. When we want to make adjustments in our lives, no matter small, or big, it begins with awareness. As simple as it is. The power of awareness cultivates the amount of control we perceive we have in our lives.
We’ll define awareness, simply as being intentionally conscious of yourself. Yourself consisting of thoughts, emotions (feelings), and actions. And we're really going to dig into each. These different aspects making up you often operate from autopilot, or habit. This is because it is our brain’s most efficient and least effortful way to perform. Most of our lives do not differ much from day to day, so our behaviors, or interactions with our world do not either, unless something altering the routine occurs. It’s like the old adage: nothing changes, if nothing changes. Knowing behaviors are consistent, the behavior we want to create is to challenge our thinking and habits constantly.
A way to increase awareness is to receive information from the outside. Just as we receive factual information (e.g. 1 liter of water weighs 1 kilogram), we can also receive information about ourselves. For example someone says to you, “you scratch your face before you say something that bothers you”, previously you may not have been aware of this, doing it unconsciously. Now that you have received this information you will become more cognizant of whether you do this, or you may not think about it. Either way, now having the perception shared with you, it is your choice how to proceed.
I think if someone offers me information about myself it is valuable to investigate the accuracy. Unless it is absolutely ridiculous, then I disregard it. But the purpose is to become more aware of self, to be an observer of the self. This is how we create perspective and clarity. Taking note and questioning your feelings, thoughts, and actions, as you would if you were talking with someone else. Or simply put, metacognition. This intentional self-evaluation promotes better understanding of the self. By this I mean becoming conscious and more aware of things that previously you were not, or learning about yourself. Someone may attempt to give information, but if we are not ready to receive it, then we can’t. This is like the phrase 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make’em drink'. Until we are in a space prepared to absorb information, we cannot reach certain levels of understanding. These higher levels of understanding we have to come to on our own
Being prompted towards greater awareness by outside sources is only one way of increasing awareness. The goal is to be aware and evaluative of the self without it. Self-awareness and self-evaluation are the beginning.
One of my recent enlightenments stems from being extremely private and a contributing reason as to why this blog has come to life. A soul that will remain nameless sent me a picture of a pack of pens being opened up, the ones where you have to peel or rip the back open. Sometimes when you rip the packaging, you do not actually open them; Another layer is still there since the paper part of the packaging has not been punctured. Harder to describe than see (but see figure 1 below). This newly made friend (using loosely) sent this to me, “This is what it is like trying to get you to open up”.
I knew what I thought, so I did what any scientist would do and took a poll on my Instagram story. I intended to find out the perceptions of what I put on display to the world. The poll confirmed, like the pens, I don’t open up. So, this was my point of awareness. I even checked with those closest to me for confirmation, because surely they didn’t really think of me like this. But they said, “yeah it’s true”. So from then, I have been trying to grow and dig within myself on an emotional level and being more open about sharing.
The Challenge: So I challenge you to, if you are comfortable, ask someone to tell you about yourself. Feel free to make note on what they say, but take one item and attempt to come to a greater awareness of it. Gain some clarity on it. Some examples are: you don’t like to be touched, you’re standoff-ish, or maybe even being sensitive about a specific topic. Expanding on the sensitivity example, when the topic comes up again consider whether the information is accurate. Are you sensitive about the topic? And maybe even begin to think about why that may be?
Awareness is a necessary and critical part of our life course as we change, morph, and become better. In working through awareness we journey from the outside in. We examine our actions, then what thoughts cause us to act that way, and finally what feelings/emotions are stemming the direction of those thoughts. It is important to penetrate every layer of what we are made of, so when the time comes to grow and build, we start from a base of authenticity and understanding. This way, we are able to design ourselves into exactly who we plan to be.