Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Patterns of Our Lives

Do you practice self-awareness? Are you aware of your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions as they are happening? Do you consider yourself to be a highly conscious person? If so, what percentage of the time would you say you are completely “plugged in” and in tune to what’s going on with you and around you, and what percentage of the time are you “in your head” and running on autopilot? If asked to describe your characteristic way of thinking, feeling, and behaving would you be able to accurately identify your patterns? If not, you might not be as self-aware as you think.

Self-awareness is the prerequisite to personal growth. Without it we become disconnected from ourselves. So, think about it, what are your patterns? How do you react in novel situations? What do you tend to do when faced with a challenging task or circumstance? When thinking about a potential outcome what common beliefs or expectations surface? Do you tend to think positively, or do you more often than not focus on what could or will likely go wrong? How do you react when you receive constructive criticism? What does your communication pattern look like? How do you react mentally, behaviorally, emotionally when you’re in social situations, or when you find yourself in a situation where others may be judging you?

Speaking of judging, do you tend to judge others? Do you have avoidance tendencies? Do you look for and clearly see the good in others, or do you focus on what you perceive as their flaws? What do you spend most of your mental energy on? Are your thoughts consumed with your job, family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, the government, the weather? What moves you? Do you laugh a lot? Do you let yourself cry when the urge strikes? What do you do well? What things do you need to work on? Are you working on them? What are your hang-ups? What triggers you, and more importantly, why? Are you happy? If not, what role are you playing in that?

Spend some time this week thinking about and being very aware of you. If you don’t practice this regularly it’ll probably feel like you’re meeting yourself for the first time. Relish in the things you notice about yourself that you like, and honor yourself for being brave enough to take a close look at those things that you don’t.

We can’t make changes unless we know changes need to be made. And the only way to know is to be aware.


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