Day 17: Self-Awareness: Pt. 2 - Why We Don't Embrace It
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Photo Credit: Tom Hussey
"Books can guide you but your heart defines you." – Jay-Z
If the rewards from yesterday's Dose sounded so damn good, then we got to ask "why don’t we chase self-awareness more than we do."
This morning, we'll dive into exactly why, but to sum it up it's uncomfortable, difficult, scary, and not common. All of these will initially make us shy away from it, but once we get over those emotional fears, what's waiting on the other side is more than worth it.
Play close attention because a lot of what we will talk about is your brain tricking you away from everything you actually want in life so it can stay emotionally cozy.
"Emotionally cozy" might sound good in the short-term, but let's get real, you can't bullshit yourself on your death bed.
A little discomfort now will go a LONG way in making sure you don't have to.
Self awareness Is (Temporarily) painful.
Real habit change comes from taking a candid look at our shortcomings. And let's be honest, no one wants to admit we suck at things – especially in our perfectionist society.
Unfortunately, unless we know where we're falling short, we can't change them.
EXPLORING ourselves IS SCARY and requires uncertainty.
If you fall into the narrative told to us, you believe that you have to have it all figured out. Becoming self-aware about unresolved feelings threatens everything we thought we were supposed to be working towards – that "self-assured, got it all together" person.
It requires us to step out and use these three devil-ish words: "I don't know".
And without a commitment to working through it, we build mechanisms to ignore these feelings, thinking that if we shy away from them for long enough, they’ll go away.
Reality check – they don't.
They just burrow deep inside our lives and manifest in a million different ways (ie. flipping the bird to that "asshole" that cut you off in traffic...)
I strongly encourage you NOT to bury these feelings as they'll never truly go away.
Instead, sit with your uncertainty. Work through it.
Do the dirty work to figure out what's causing the feelings and figure out ways to find stable footing in them.
It's from that place that we do our best growth.
At the very least you will learn more about yourself and how you can live in closer alignment with who you really are.
WE BUILD A SELF-IMAGE OF HOW WE WANT OTHERS TO PERCEIVE US.
It is extremely difficult to humbly admit a shortcoming instead of fabricating a tale to mitigate the blow.
You might view yourself as someone who is always on time, but in reality, you’re often late to appointments. It's so much easy to come up with "justifications" then it is to admit you're constantly not living up to your commitment.
Self-awareness is about focusing on the reality of your actions, behaviours, and habits, and not on the story you tell yourself – no matter how juicy it is.
Part of this is to justify to ourselves, but also it's to appease others.
Generally, when we are late, we know the reasons we throw out there have no weight, but still we throw them anyways to save face.
Breaking this justification is really tough to do, but your ability to call yourself out on the things that don't align with who you want to be will not only help you build stronger and more honourable relationships with people, but they will allow you to course correct significantly more quickly.
The pursuit of self-awareness is difficult and requires dedication.
To be conscious of who you are, how you think, and what you do is invaluable because it leads to self-knowledge, and in turn, change.
And isn't that what we all want?
This is why in practices like Alcoholics Anonymous and most cognitive behavioural therapies, there is a commitment to first helping the individual become self-aware—to be conscious of their fears, thoughts, behaviours, mustering the courage to own it, and using that awareness to facilitate the behaviour change.
The dedication required us to change our mind AND behaviour and can sometimes be the fight of our lives.
But, at the end of the day, it's a choice and if you want it bad enough, you can make it.
Know that it's in our nature to habituate and create routines, so that our brain exerts less effort and spends less energy. The potential danger in this is that we get too comfortable doing the wrong things, and if we are unaware of it, we have no desire to make it right.
What makes this pursuit even more difficult is that it isn't a popular topic in our culture. In very few places is it championed, so when you do step out you kind of feel alone.
As you move forward with Damn Early Days, just know that your commitment to your own self-awareness will single-handedly be one of the most powerful things you can gain from this.
And you're not in it alone.
Take 5 and go drop your thoughts on self-awareness in the Facebook group and then go throw on the jam below and get after it!