Three Takes on What Self Awareness Really Means
I first heard about self awareness through my workplace when I was trying to work through a fairly troublesome period of me playing victim.
In the role of playing victim, I used to get caught up emotionally in disagreements at work.
I was very conscientious and very capable as far as getting tasks done, but I was unable to put my own point of view across at work.
Because I was unable to put forward my point of view, I would not say anything thinking that I was keeping the peace.
However, eventually, all the times that I had kept quiet would pile up into a giant mountain of resentment, the release of which could be triggered by a small event - kind of like the straw the broke the camel's back.
My first understanding of self awareness was explained to me something like this.
Self awareness means that the communicator is aware of their own position and also the position of the other party.
Self awareness simply gives each party 'time' to respond.
An analogy was drawn for me from sport where in a game of squash, an inexperienced player often is unable to get themselves set up for a play.
An experienced player has time to move and get set for the next play.
This understanding helped me greatly, but it wasn't the end to my understanding of self awareness.
The second time that I came to understand self awareness more fully was when I was at a very unhappy point in my life.
Of course, I had everything to be grateful for, but I was not being responsible for my life and feeling a little out of control.
I recognized an old cycle begin in my behavior and I recognized that the feeling that I was having was because I was having major values in my life competing.
That is, I was aware of the problem and I was aware of what the outcome was going to be if I continued with the old pattern.
Only problem was that the only way I could alter the outcome was to stop moving forward.
The third time that I came to understand self awareness in much more detail was as a result of what I can only explain as my mid-life enlightenment.
Not yet, but almost 40 and working on self development, I began to undertake meditation activities simply by observing nature and the environment.
I noticed a heightened level of self awareness in all kinds of situations.
I had the most intense experience in an airport departure lounge.
Sitting in the lounge I was reading a book and every so often I would look up and look around me.
I could feel the people around me.
I could understand their mood.
The ground crew were waiting on the plane to be cleaned and so on and so they were a little late with getting ready to begin boarding.
As the minutes ticked by, I could feel a kind of relaxed, chilled sense around me.
People were chatting or snoozing or reading.
Then, I noticed that one of the flight attendants walked up to the exit door her security card in her hand.
I could feel people begin to register- something is happening.
Then, as the door was opened and the flight attendant opened first one door and propped it open and then the second door and propped it open, the entire mood changed in the lounge.
Everyone began to gear up in preparation and there was a buzz in the air that accelerated.
Also, as part of not playing the victim anymore, I managed to notice when I was emotionally engaged by the actions of another person.
Instead of being overwhelmed in my own feeling of whether it was right or wrong, fair or unfair to me and so on including feelings that I had done something wrong, I was able to identify the old cycle begin to happen and I was even able to correct it by recognizing the position of the other party communicating the message and also to thank them for sharing their point of view.