“The universe contains three things that cannot be destroyed; Being, Awareness and Love”
~ Deepak Chopra
We are all familiar with the concept of being awake. However, there is a big difference between being awake and being aware! I know I’ve experienced times when technically I’ve been awake but maybe not as alert and tuned into what was happening as I should have been. If you are driver, have you ever driven from A to B and not been fully aware of the journey? If so, you’ll know what I mean. This Inc article highlights the consequences of lacking awareness.
Why is self-awareness important?
Self-awareness is about understanding your own thoughts, emotions, needs, wants, habits, behaviours and motivations. The more you pay attention to them, the better you’ll understand yourself and why you do what you do. This New York Times article shares some interesting insights into the importance of self-awareness.
Awareness is relevant in all areas of our lives
It’s important to remember that awareness is relevant in all areas of our lives. In a business context, how often have you experienced a process or campaign failing because one department lacks awareness of the impact of a decision on another department? In relationships it is common to hear one partner complaining because the other partner was not aware of their feelings towards something. There are also times when we bury our heads in the sand because we don’t want to be aware of something challenging. As a coach, it is extremely important to be aware of what is not being said, as well as everything that is said. It is important to be aware of the client’s body language and tonality when speaking. All of these help a coach gain insights into the client and prompt further questions.
Those examples highlight the importance of having awareness of yourself and what’s going on around you. I’m not suggesting that having more awareness will solve all your problems, however, it is the initial step in making positive changes. When you are more aware you are in a better place to make conscious decisions and choices.
How do I become more aware?
- • Be aware of your inner world: develop a practice of being aware of what’s going on internally. Get into the habit of asking yourself questions around why you have certain thoughts and emotions and why you do the things you do. Take your time, be honest with yourself and listen to the answers
- • Be aware of your emotions: consistently realise your emotional state. Try to detach yourself so that you are almost an observer of your emotions. Name your emotional state and notice changes in it. Think about them in more detail. Why did they happen? Do you experience that emotional state regularly? What happens when you are in that state? How do you feel about that?
- • Be aware of your own body: pay attention to your physical feelings. Notice them, listen to your body and give it what it needs
- • Be aware of other people: watch other people’s behaviours. What do they do? How do they live? What are they feeling? Develop your understanding of the reasons for their actions and attitudes. Remove titles and judgements and see each person as a unique individual. Listen to and learn from other people.
- • Be aware of your environment: notice what is going on around you in your community, city, country and globally. Seek to learn as much as possible.
As advocates of journaling, we recommend that you journal around your awareness. By writing about your thoughts, emotions and observations you will be able to maintain a stronger focus on them. It will provide great learning and insights that will help you to grow as a person.