Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Self awareness is not about looking deeply within your internal chamber of secrets and hidden motivations trying to discover "your true self." It's quite the opposite, when done properly.
It should be an open, honest, candid, and on-going self observation of what drives you to take the actions you take, to think the thoughts you think and to feel the emotions that bubble up inside you.
Confucius described the process as: "By three methods we learn wisdom: first by reflection, which is noblest; second by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."
People with high levels of self awareness have a clear and definite grasp of their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as an elevated sensitivity to observe what motivates, de-motivates, satisfies, delights, annoys, and angers them.
With a solid sense of self awareness, you multiply your predisposition to go after the opportunities that are right for you (by leveraging your strengths, values and inner motivational tactics) and minimize your chances of pursuing activities that are likely to have unsatisfying or potentially harmful results.
There are four parts to the self: mind, body, heart, and soul (alternatively referred to as mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual).
Your mind never stops racing; never stops talking to you. There are times, of course, when a quiet mind would be an absolute blessing. Unfortunately, unless you excel at meditation this is not to be.
The mind and spirit are in constant battle for your body (and hence for what you probably think of as yourself). The mind tries to "talk" you into doing things with what appear to be "rational arguments." The spirit counteracts with "gut feelings" or emotional outbursts in an attempt to get its way. Neither is always right or wrong.
When you can see yourself as if watching a reality movie of yourself (i.e. not in a dream, but as if removed from your body), this is the perspective of the spirit. As Sri Ramana Maharshi said, "The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards it becomes the ego and all the world."
Very few people seem to pause and consider who they truly are, or could be. Most seem too concerned with projecting a picture of themselves to the world around them, and then working hard to maintain this concocted (and sometimes contrived) image.
Years ago St. Augustine wrote, "People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering." This is undoubtedly more true today than it was in his time some 16 centuries ago. And if it is true for you, it need not be any longer. The Project You Life Journey will help you to stop passing yourself by.
This article is excerpted from the book Project You: Living A Determined Life.