“Self-awareness” is fast becoming another buzzword that one needs to have in the pocket in the current world of ‘cool’ stuff to possess. Consider if you are a human being and alive, you are already self-aware. You don’t have to learn anything new.
Only humans have the ability to direct their attention and thinking inwards or the ability to look at themselves. You can always increase the degree of self-awareness.
Self-awareness can be defined as one’s ability of being aware of different aspects of the self including situations, traits, behaviours, and feelings. Essentially, it is a psychological state in which one becomes the focus of attention.
You can enhance your self-awareness by practising the following approach. Before you go the approach, participate in this small thought experiment.
Thoughts Experiment: “Think of your favourite car. Only one car but anything. What colour is that car?. Say that aloud. Now observe that as you were doing that experiment, you were also aware of your thought and thought processes. The first step in developing self-awareness is noticing that you are different from your thoughts. You have these thoughts. Once you can identify your thoughts don’t try to control them but start observing them.
The approach to cultivating self-awareness starts with Observation – it is the process of noticing or perceiving (something) and registering it as being significant.
Step 1 Observe: Start with observing things around you like your laptop, phone, people around you etc. Also start observing your own thoughts as well, observe the speed at which the mind processes the information, the judgements and the continuous running commentary in your head.
Step 2 Pause: Once you have practised observing, start the practice of PAUSE. It is a reflective practice that can be done in the midst of the action. Come to the present by falling still and connecting mind with senses. The best way to do it is when you want to pause, hold your breath, connect your mind with your senses and slowly leave your breath.
A combination of Observe and Pause will help in developing your self-awareness. There is a huge volume of literature, numerous courses and workshops on developing self-awareness. You can further enhance your self-awareness by practising meditation and mindfulness techniques.
In the current fast-paced world, if you are feeling overwhelmed with work and multiple priorities you need a break. Don’t be afraid that if you brake too hard and stop suddenly the vehicle behind you will come and crush you. No – it is all happening in your mind. The only way to navigate the high-speed traffic in your mind is to brake hard, take a PAUSE and start again. Slow down if you want to go far.
About Raghavendra (Ragx/Raghav) Mithare is a professional coach and serves as an agility coach with an Integrated Energy company. Views expressed are his own.
He is also a trained yoga teacher, and a student of design, technology and philosophy.