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Being Self Aware



The blog article was published in Good Therapy.org - http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/art-and-importance-of-self-awareness-120213

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” 
- C. Jung

One thing is for certain; each person has his or her own views, thoughts, and emotions. Even though we are so different we experience similar patterns of self analysis which makes up who we are today. These patterns are typically created by the end result of our behaviors and viewed either negatively or favorable by our strongest critic, the almighty self. It’s amazing how our growth is determined by how the self translates our actions.

Self awareness is the ability to formulate a summary of our behavior based on past and current thoughts and emotions. It allows us to understand what’s going on in our heads and why; self-victimization prevents us from accepting that we’re responsible for it, and for what we do as a result.

Being self-aware is the ability to see our true self without blinders. This is the first step in being true to our self.  It requires empathy, patience, strength, humility, and love. One of the hardest things to do is to see our self as fallible but that is what we are. We all make mistakes and we all have our triumphs. The great ones are capable of seeing both polars and learn how to merge them together to make them a better individual.

As humans we generally spend our life living within the two hemispheres or poles of self-thought. On one side, we play out our lives as victims due to painful events in our past and learn to feel powerless when confronting obstacles. These thoughts are considered victimization thoughts and look different for each individual:
  • Justifying events and ways in which you were wronged.
  • Complaining about a difficult event in our life without looking at the role we played in the circumstance.
  • Obsessing about sad events to justify negative behaviors and feelings of anger, sadness, and shame.
  • Vocalizing and telling sad stories to gain approval and avoid potential judgment.
  • Taking the stance that others need to change for things to improve.
The other hemisphere is the empowerment thoughts, which requires self-awareness
  • Consciously allowing your self to let go of thoughts of victimization.
  • Taking responsibility that we may have played a role in difficult events from our past.
  • Responding proactively in the future based on our education and experience of past events.
  • Establishing our own emotional competence and development instead of relying on others to fill this void.
  • Taking full responsibility and course of action for our decisions.
  • Take the stance that change will only happen when we work on our internal and external self.
The fundamental difference between self-awareness and self-victimization pertains to our acknowledgment that we have been hurt. Self-awareness is about observing our response to what happened; self-victimization is about feeding into the story of what happened.

Tips to Achieve Self-Awareness
  • Emotional awareness – understand what we are feeling and what is being triggered within us so we can appropriately asses what is occurring and how to respond in an affective way/space that voids previously negative responses and patterns.
  • Recognize negative and damaging thoughts/cognitions so we can censor them.
  • Recognize our behavior tendencies and possible patterns so we can make appropriate adjustments prior to previous negative actions and/or outbursts.
  • Come to terms and learn about our expectations, beliefs, and assumptions which affect the path we choose and our actions.
  • Regardless of past events and the pattern, accept responsibility for our actions and the role we played in the outcome.

The Man In The Mirror
When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t a man’s father, mother or wife,
Whose judgment upon him must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in life,
Is the man staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test,
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But the final reward will be heartache and tears,
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

-Dale Wimbrow, 1934


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