Self-awareness: everyone thinks they have it, but in reality most people go through life hardly ever noticing how they truly feel. The fact is that the majority of our thoughts and actions are on autopilot. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Our habits, routines, impulses, and reactions carry us through our lives so we don’t have to stop and think about it every time we leave the house, or meet a new person. The problem is when we’re on autopilot for so long that we forget we’re on autopilot. Because when we’re not even aware of our own habits, routines, impulses, and reactions, then we no longer control them; they control us.
The first and most important step in personal development is consequently self-awareness. This is because personal development of any kind means change in your actions, behaviours and attitudes, but for something to change for the better it must first be recognised as a problem. Achieving self-awareness of any personal foibles that may be holding you back is the first step on the journey. It will provide you with a powerful tool to help you transcend those blockages and realise your full potential.
Lack of self-awareness and limiting thinking to an undemanding level is a convenient device to fool oneself into feeling problems does not exist. Because maintaining a fragile and undesirable status quo, even if it’s horrible, is at least familiar. However, change even when desired is tricky and the more transformational it could be in your life the more difficult it is to achieve. This is true even when you know that your existing patterns of behaviours are dysfunctional. But if you are unwilling to challenge yourself and find courage to step into the unfamiliar you run the risk of remaining slightly unsatisfied and unfulfilled for the rest of your life.
In this article I list thirteen of the most common indicators that something might be stopping you from living your best life. They are not accusations; everyone has at least one of these symptoms and most of us have more. But once you know where to look, you’ll find beating them that much easier. Use them as prompts for self-reflection and encouragement to explore a better way to be.
Firstly DISCOUNTING. This is a typical unhelpful head-in-the-sand behaviour. Are you aware there might be an issue but ignoring its importance? Do you accept the problem but believe that you can’t change because it’s simply too difficult, too dangerous or just too damn uncomfortable—so it is easier to pretend it does not exist.
DENIAL. A variation on the discounting syndrome is combating personal dissatisfaction and performance at work, or at home, by making yourself believe, and I mean truly believe, that everything is fine and refusing to see, despite the strong hints, that there are problems up ahead?
DISPLACEMENT is struggling with internal anger and frustration by putting it onto other people? Was someone damaging, nasty or unpleasant to you at work or at home, perhaps way back in the past? – Perhaps you’ve developed kick-the-cat syndrome rather than addressing the core issue.