What is Self-Awareness?

Dear Integral Meditators,

Self awareness is one of the foundation tools for both mindfulness and meditation in general, and Mindful Self Leadership in particular. As the article points out, self awareness is relatively easy to understand, not quite so easy to do!

Yours in the spirit of self awareness,

Toby


What is Self-Awareness? 

Self Awareness is a commitment to be aware of your reality; that is the world of your feelings, needs, desires, ideas, evaluations and behavior. Self awareness acts as the foundation for mindful self-leadership because if it is only by becoming aware and getting to know yourself thoroughly that you will be able to lead yourself effectively by engaging in authentic decisions and actions that will lead to your self-fulfilment.

Self awareness is a challenging task for most of us because we have been training ourselves to see only what we want to see about ourselves for a very long time. We have invested deeply in NOT seeing the things that make us uncomfortable about ourself and/or that threaten our self-image. Examples of what we choose not to see might be:

– If I have a feeling that I have been taught from childhood is ‘bad’ (eg: jealousy), then I will have been training myself not to see my own jealousy for a long time, because to admit to being jealous would to be to admit to being a bad person
– If I have been taught that in order to fit into my social group I need to ‘sacrifice’ my needs for the needs of others, then I (often unconsciously) train myself to deny and not see some of my deepest desires for self fulfillment
– If I lack confidence in myself I may discard or deny my own opinions in favor of what someone else says; I will not value or trust my own perception, instead I will turn away from awareness of it.

So self awareness is about ‘standing naked’ in front of the mirror of your own awareness and accepting all of the feelings you have, as well as the needs, desires, creative power, behaviors and ideas that you have without editing.

Questions for beginning the process of self-awareness

If I am more honest with myself about the way I feel about X (pick your own subject) I might realize that –
If I look more openly at the way I behaved today when X (pick your own life situation) I can see that I –
If I am honest with myself the thing I desire most in my career, relationship, X (pick your own life situation) is –

Sit for a while with any of these sentences. Try and listen to all the answers that come back in your mind without editing or judging them. If you like you can actually write them down. Notice that some of the answers that come back you will feel comfortable with, some very uncomfortable. Sit with them both, sit with them all; be aware of the totality of your experience of your feelings, behaviors or desires.

What might be the consequences of what you discover through self awareness?

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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