Self Awareness

Articles, audios and videos to understand and develop it

The gap between having a thought and choosing not to believe it is self-awareness. Self-awareness is a state of perception and has to do with how you see and feel things internally. Being aware of your thoughts and emotions from a conscious observer state as they happen is a degree of awareness. Some people have thoughts and can think about their thinking. This is called -meta-thinking. This is a level of awareness. It means they can observer their thinking, analyze it, see the limitations of assumptions, and consider alternative perspectives.

Self-awareness also means being present with your emotions. Having an emotional reaction and then afterwards realizing you got carried away is lacking self-awareness. The self-judgment, guilt, and feeling bad for over-reacting, is also a lack of self-awareness. It means that your mind runs thoughts out of control and takes you for an emotional ride. You might know it is happening which is good one level, but being able to change perspective, and not believe those thoughts is much greater awareness and consciousness.

“Do you feel you are self aware?”

If you don’t have much self-awareness it would be like only seeing in black and white. Someone explaining self-awareness would be describing what it is to see colors to a person that only sees black and white, or in gray scale. They might misunderstand in a couple ways.Continue reading

First, they might not know they are color blind and think they already see all the colors that there are to see. Since they don’t know any colors outside their perception, they assume, “I already have this seeing thing all figured out.” A color-blind person doesn’t know what they are missing. A non-self-aware person doesn’t know they are missing things.

Second, they might just be confused. They don’t see these colors you are talking about, and no amount of explaining with words will allow their eyes to see more colors. Having the intellectual concept of colors, and not being about to see them leaves a person feeling a dissonance about what they are being told.

Third, a colorblind person might get angry with you for telling them they are not seeing colors. They assume they are seeing reality and reality is in the grey scale of colors, and that is all there is. Varying shades of gray are colors. The person who talks about seeing “colors” or anything differently than grayscale looks crazy and should be called out for their nonsense.

A fourth understanding might be curiosity. I know you are telling me something about the world of color, and I’m going to assume that it describes reality for you. I’m curious and I want to know more. How can I explore the version of the world that you see? If I am truly missing these elements of color, I’d like to know how to see more.

It is the fourth person in this scenario that is acting with the most self awareness. She knows that she hasn’t experienced everything in the universe that others have and are open to learning more. The most aware people assume they know the least, and therefore can absorb more understanding and insight.

The question I’ll ask you is, “Do you feel you are already self aware?”

It may be interesting to see how you, or your mind wants to respond. You might notice the impulse to say “Yes.” Which part of you has the impulse to say “yes”, and which part is noticing this impulse? It is the ego that has the impulses. It is your awareness that is noticing these impulses.

If you answer Yes, then you are less curious, and perhaps less likely to learn anything new that would help you grow.

What do you notice about your response?

  • What thoughts do you have?
  • What emotions do you have in seeing your impulses to answer the questions?
  • Is there a reaction emotionally?
  • Do you feel you have been tricked or set up?
  • Can you watch your mind have these thoughts and reactions without identifying with the mind?

Noticing these aspects of thoughts, reactions, and emotions are aspects of self-awareness.

The Ego believes that it is self-aware

The ego is strongest in the 1st and 3rd scenario. “I already have this seeing thing figured out.” If this is the case you are watching the ego give a response without necessarily doing any research or without an objective self-evaluation of your self-awareness. Yes, you have your life experience, and you may be able to be aware of some aspects of yourself. But is what you see 100% of the color spectrum of what you could see with more self-awareness? It is an interesting challenge. One in which you don’t get to learn anything new until you first genuinely assume a mindset that you don’t have a full picture. This willingness to be an open-minded beginner is the opposite to the default setting of the ego.

This is a self-awareness evaluation

I’m leading you through an exercise and seeing if you notice when it is your mind/ego that responds and how you respond or observe from a conscious perspective. If you are operating consciously you are in a state of awareness and can watch the mind have its impulses. Awareness can observe the ego mind, but the ego mind does not observe awareness.

You might be aware these questions are set up to see if your ego impulse responds, and if you notice your ego from a conscious/aware state. If you do, you likely notice that there can be two responses. One from the ego, and the other that is more thoughtful and takes time. Your consciousness may be comfortable not knowing how to answer because it realizes that there are no objective measurements. The more you develop the latter in your decision making the better your will be your choices in life.

If you are reading quickly then you probably aren’t answering the questions and noticing any emotional impulses or responses. A lack of responses doesn’t mean there is great consciousness, but could be that you are focused on reading information and not engaged in the questioning process.

Why your Self Awareness matters

Why should you care about self-awareness? It’s your ego and unconscious beliefs that operate out of impulse. They will cause you emotional reactions and sabotaging behavior in your life. Self-Awareness is the antidote to the misery and self-sabotage your ego and unconscious beliefs cause. Here are some examples to give you a better understanding through context.

Suppose you get frustrated with people you work with. Do you know why? Do you know how to change that emotion? Do you know the beliefs you have that create that feeling of frustration? If you do, then you have what I would call self-awareness. If you have a greater degree of self-awareness you would also have the ability to change those beliefs and eliminate frustration. Some awareness allows you to see thoughts and emotions. More self-awareness allows you to see your beliefs causing thoughts and emotions. A higher level of awareness allows for changing your beliefs and emotions.

Awareness would allow you to look inward and identify the type of expectations you have about a situation or co-workers. Awareness also gives you that ability to discern that gap between expectations you have about a co-worker and reality.

Awareness of emotions

Frustration is the result of a gap between what the mind expects, and the reality of a situation. It also has the assumption that the expected should be happening instead of reality. It assumes that there were no obstacles, challenges, or problems that would have interfered with achieving the expected outcome. Maybe the expected result could have been achieved. But the mind often discounts challenges in training, competency, other events, or that other people have the same capabilities, priorities, and resources to achieve the expected. An aware person, when finding themselves frustrated, will investigate the training, resources, and priorities of the people doing the work. An unaware person will apply some judgments, criticisms, complaining or anger to the situation. This unaware person will believe this will motivate people to get their act together. An aware person is better at perceiving other’s emotions and knows that over the long term criticism has a demotivating effect.

A Self-Aware person will at least consider that there may be a good reason why expectations were not met. They will put their attention on a resource problem instead of assume people are screwing around. This is a much more useful and efficient use of energy over getting frustrated, running negative thoughts in your mind and venting those emotions to others.

Top managers and executives have high level of self awareness. With that awareness they are able to monitor their thoughts and emotions and weed out the ones that are unhelpful. They can shift their perspective to the viewpoint of their employees and customers and understand their experience. This allows them to manage expectations and solve problems in a team oriented way.

Understanding, observing, and being able to change those seemingly small things, like expectations in your mind is an indication of self-awareness. Awareness not only makes you much more efficient person at getting things done, it makes you a better person to work with, and emotionally happier.

Conscious awareness vs. the mind

The mind is a busy and complex place. We likely have 20,000-60,000 thoughts a day. They can be self judgments, that create guilt and shame. Thoughts can be about imagined futures and expectations that lead to successful achievement or disappointments. We make decisions that affect our emotions, relationships, career, and financial well being. Since the mind runs in automatic mode the way to improve this process and outcomes is somewhat limited. The mind needs an improvement process an oversight or adviser to itself. The way to improve and grow the mind is through conscious awareness.

To do this mental oversight and improvement you need to have self-reflection skills about what the mind is doing. Sometimes side programs of the mind like self-judgment can hijack this process and it derails any chance for change or improvements.

Self awareness is the ability to observe not only your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, but your nervous system response and body language as well. By noticing what is going on at these levels you can make changes ripple outwards to manifestations in your life.

Self-awareness is the ability to identify the false identity and false thinking the mind projects such as “being right”. It is the conscious awareness to step out from behind the ego “idea” of “self” and see your “self” differently. I realize that there are different versions of “self” in this sentence. It can be difficult to look inward and see these different versions of “self” that we might have, but this is what self-awareness allows you to do. It gives you “color vision” instead of the black and white version of yourself. It means seeing the different aspects of yourself without judgment. There are tremendous advantages to separating your Self from your mind’s, or ego’s version of “self.”

Self-awareness or consciousness is what is cultivated in mindfulness practices and meditation. It allows you to get your ego reactions of fear, anger, frustration, and self-important agenda out of the way and work more effectively with people.

Self-awareness allows you to quiet your own mind, be calm, and listen to others. This is vital in negotiations, and your own personal relationships with your partner, children, or parents. Self-awareness is what you have more of when you have less ego.

How would your life be better if you had less ego?

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Self Awareness Exercise

Moving out of your mind’s version of your “self” and seeing those versions from a neutral observer.  As you develop in awareness you experience yourself more as consciousness directing the mind instead of the mind defining you. 

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#19: Understanding the spiritual journey

All self help, personal development, growth, and self awareness work is part of the Spiritual Journey. That’s because Spirit means Life. The mystery of the Spiritual Journey is that it happens within the realm of your perceptions, mind, emotions, and consciousness.

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#11: The ego mind and consciousness

Understanding the ego mind and consciousness means becoming aware of the way our mind dreams. The ego mind has more than just thoughts and beliefs; it has emotions, memories, visual images and a life of its own. When we believe what our imagination dreams we can get lost in a world of illusions.

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January 1, 2007

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