Practicing Self-Awareness

In my last post, I talked about how we create unhealthy belief structures and how those structures influence our reactions to certain people, events, issues and ideas.

You react to a person, they react to your reaction, others react to both of your reactions.

If you find yourself reacting strongly, that’s an automatic alarm that you need to start searching internally for the reason behind that reaction.

It may boil down to something as simple as learning acceptance for other human beings and reacting from a place of unconditional love, no matter how much you disagree with with the subject.

Your reaction to that subject puts more energy out into the world–will it be constructive energy or will it be destructive energy? That energy will either perpetuate the cycle of negative energy, or it will shift course to something more positive.

So what is it exactly that we are supposed to change about ourselves that will affect change in the world? 

It goes so much deeper than simply “change your thoughts” because our thoughts are a product of our beliefs and our beliefs are often a product of our wounds and trauma. Until we heal our personal trauma, we’re not going to be able to change our beliefs about ourselves, and thus, we won’t be able to change our thoughts about ourselves or the world around us, and if we don’t change our thoughts about the world around us, we’ll never take any actions toward changing the systems we live within. But you’ll never be able to even recognize those beliefs based in core wounds until you learn how to become aware of them! 

How do we begin this process of self-inquiry? What kind of tools can we implement to help us along the way? 

I used the following article as an exercise in self-awareness. The results were intriguing!  Try it out for yourself:

Read the following article. Instead of immediately coming to a conclusion about whether it is right or wrong, simply feel what you feel and become aware of that feeling. Is it a positive reaction? A negative reaction? Or are you neutral?

Especially if your reaction is negative, study that reaction. Think about why you are reacting that way, what is the underlying belief (NOT the rationale, the BELIEF) that caused it and what would your reaction be if it weren’t for that belief?

If you need a refresher on the difference between a belief and an opinion, see my last post.

Feel free to comment with your self-observations, how you reacted initially, how you questioned that reaction, and what you learned through the process of questioning it.

Here’s the article:

self-awareness-exercise

Now that you’ve read the article and followed the directions above, you can comment with your observations. Feel free to do this before you read the rest of the post, so as not to forget. And if you find yourself talking about what you think about the article’s subject matter itself, or any of the people involved, you’re doing it wrong!

Only focus on yourself, what you feel, and the belief behind what you feel, not your rationale. 


Through my observation of the comments on the article as well as the comments and sentiments found within the article, I found this to be an interesting example of…well, a lot of things, really.

1 – Of how we’re conditioned by society to think.

2 – Of how different people can view something and see it completely differently depending on their own frame of reference.

3 – Of how people automatically assume the worst (in essence, fear has seeped into our lives and colored our view of many things).

4 – Of how we’re quick to judge a person and their character based on our own interpretation without even remotely examining said person’s actual motives, intentions, or point of view (which are the primary determining factors of whether or not they believe something is right or wrong).

5 – Of how morality is fluid and utterly dependent on the individual.

6 – Of how society and culture influence our view of our natural state.

This exercise is a demonstration of HOW to go about sorting out your beliefs, pinpointing them, examining them, being able to recognize them and see how they are affecting your view of the world and your life as a whole, and then determining whether or not those beliefs serve the definition of who you really are or who want to be.

It’s also about recognizing that the attitude and beliefs you have about others are really beliefs you have about yourself. Everything we do is an opportunity to decide who we are or who we are not in relation to other people. Those beliefs that we are projecting out onto others are really beliefs that we have about ourselves. In that action, we are making a statement about who we are.

When we become self-aware, we are able to more consciously decide who we are by re-examining and discarding beliefs that aren’t really us.

Once you master this you can be anyone you want to be, because there will be no more self-limiting barriers. You’ll be able to to touch those walls of ego you built with your fingertips and watch them crumble before your eyes.

It changes the very foundation upon which your worldview is built. You’ve become the change you wished to see, and now you are seeing it.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Xo,

Ash

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