What is self-awareness (自我察覺)?
It is a process of self-exploration that brings unconscious to conscious. It is like a person having an internal dialogue (not the same as self-talk) with his/her inner self. “That’s the way I am” and “I already knew that I have been repeating this behavior/emotional experience” are example statements of self-understanding. Yet, an intellectual level of understanding does not ncessarily bring change.
Without self-awareness, we would just keep repeating the same old patterns of behavior that do not bring any joy, contentment and growth, and also limit ourselves to see other possible options in life.
Self-awareness involves the person taking an active role in a reflection process to examine what pushes them internally to behave or feel in the way they do, explore the “private logic” behind their certain emotional experience, and gain insights about their assumptions, strengths and limitations. Practicing self-awareness allows us to think, feel and act intentionally, instead of living unconsciously, and so, passively.
What are the elements to develop self-awareness?
An openness to looking within yourself is critical. Do you have a genuine curiosity about your yourself (i.e., thoughts, feelings and behaviors? We would not be able to live a life of autonomy if we do not regularly reflect on who we are and how we are doing.
A “space” for developing self-awareness is another critical element. In addition to having a physical space (time and place) to engage yourself in reflection, psychological space is also necessary – allowing oneself to be with the emotion/issue (be it negative or positive).
Self-awareness can be learned and nurtured. It takes time and effort. And there is no “short cut” to develop self-awareness. Nevertheless,self-awareness is valuable to your becoming a better person, leading better social, career and family lives, and in the end it is beneficial to your overall mental health.
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