Last month I broached the topic of ‘inner voice’ and how, amongst other things, raising your awareness can help to tame that voice inside and use it to your advantage. This month I’m going to talk some more about ‘awareness’, ways in which we can heighten this internal sense, make the most of the strengths within us and use it to improve our experience of life.
So, what do I mean by awareness?
- Rather than something intangible, almost ethereal, which only goes on inside your head, how about thinking about awareness as an action, something which you can consciously choose to do and do with purpose.
- Get curious about yourself – the way you think, behave and generally operate. Take time to practice stepping back from your own thoughts, putting yourself in the role of an observer – see how that feels, what do you notice, are there any themes or recurring patterns?
- Whatever you find, there’s nothing wrong with it. Try to acknowledge and accept yourself exactly the way you are right now. The more you understand, the more you can learn about yourself, the easier life can become.
- Get curious about your connections to and impact on other people – none of us operate alone in a vacuum (thank goodness) and, sometimes, it may feel like we can be in reasonably good control of our own thoughts but that things are turned upside down via the behaviour of others. What can you learn from the behaviour of others (things you might want to try out or some realisation that you’re a pretty good human just as you are) and what do you notice about the strength of your reaction to others?
- Regularly come back to your awareness practice, particularly at times of stress when it might feel most difficult to do so – it’s not a one-off exercise, it’s for life. Establish what works well for you in terms of utilising your strengths and mitigating any thinking habits which don’t serve you well.
Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
What can be achieved through awareness?
We may find it difficult to acknowledge them sometimes, but we all have strengths – to what extent have you set your life up to play to your most positive attributes? It might be something that you’ve thought about or done at work but, by raising your awareness about who you are and the way you function in all aspects of your life, there’s an opportunity to develop your feelings of self-worth and increase your ability to sustain contentment.
By knowing more about yourself and the circumstances in which you thrive, you can design your life to run as easily and simply as possible, in such a way that you conserve mental energy and spend as much time as possible in a state of calm, with plenty of space for living in and appreciating the present moment.
Resilience and flexibility is another benefit of well practiced self-awareness – you can develop the ability to stay afloat in times of challenge and stress and, by knowing your best coping mechanisms and the traps to avoid, not be fundamentally rattled when things don’t quite go your way or as planned.
I’ve already mentioned the significant influence that others inevitably have on the way we feel. But self-awareness can be seen as one of the key elements of emotional intelligence and the ability to manage ourselves better can then have a significant knock on effect on the impact we have on others and the quality of our relationships.
Raise your awareness to live life on purpose, not by accident.
We can probably all think of people we know who appear to have good awareness, who know themselves well and seem to find it easy to work their own way out of problems (they may not agree that it’s easy).
What’s stopping you from becoming one of those people?
Other posts this month will discuss awareness in more detail, including:
- Living consciously
- Harnessing the power within
I hope you enjoy and do let me know if there’s anything on this topic, or others, that you’d like to hear more about.