We primarily grow as human beings by discovering new truths about ourselves and our reality.– Steve Pavlina
The scope of personal development and growth is a broad one. It is through the powerful impact of personal development and growth that we can grow and improve our relationships, our careers, our wealth, our health, and our happiness. At the very fundamental core of this broad and powerful pursuit is self-awareness.
What is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness is the conscious understanding of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and motivations. It is the ability to objectively analyze oneself from an external perspective, recognizing personal strengths, weaknesses, values, and worldviews. More than just introspection, self-awareness involves understanding how we are perceived by others and how our personal experiences, attitudes, and behaviors impact our daily life and interactions.
When we discover new truths about ourselves we expand our self-awareness. Think of self-awareness as a circle. Everything within and without the circle is the self. What is within the circle is what your current level of self-awareness allows you to consciously perceive.
As you expand your circle of self-awareness not only are you consciously aware of a greater portion of your self but also the borders of your awareness have expanded such that your self-awareness borders upon an expanded field of future discovery and growth.
The more doors we open the more doors we discover there are to be opened. Self-awareness is the very beginning of personal development. It may very well be the ultimate end.
Why is Self-Awareness Important?
A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.– Gandhi
The perspective we take on the happenings of the world and our lives largely determines for us the state of our world and our being. Thus probably the most vital lesson we can learn in life is the importance of what we think.
If you think about failure you will find reasons to fail and inevitably succumb to it. If you think about health and well-being you will make the conscious decision to take the path that leads to greater health and well-being.
Unfortunately, many of us do not consciously choose the perspective we take. Our thoughts, which may be considered covert behavior, may simply roll with life and become conditioned by events, the media, and other people around us.
If this happens we have given up our power as human beings to create our world and our life around us. In fact, we are using our own power against ourselves to make ourselves feel powerless. It is impossible for us to develop and grow ourselves if we lack awareness of ourselves.
How to Cultivate Self-Awareness
A person who is aware of himself is in a better position to predict and control his own behavior.– B. F. Skinner
Within Buddhism one of The Three Poisons is Moha or delusion. Buddhism sees the three poisons as the root cause of all suffering. Moha basically means not knowing what is going on within oneself.
According to Buddhism, Moha is the most fundamental of the three poisons. It is a lack of awareness that lies at the root of all our problems. The cure Buddhism proposes is to extend clarity and awareness down into processes that are normally unconscious.
It is mindfulness that Buddhism uses to achieve this aim. Mindfulness is the process of bearing something in mind. An awareness, which does not drift along the surface of things but is a thorough observation, observing without judgment, without habitual reaction or compulsion, but clearly acknowledges what is actually there in the flow of experience, noting its nature.
Thus one of the ways in which we can expand our circle of self-awareness is through the development of mindfulness. This can be achieved both through meditation practice and by making a conscious choice to actively be more mindful in our daily lives. In this way, through greater self-awareness, we become empowered to choose our own way and to grow ourselves in the manner of our own choosing.