In this episode Willard responds to comments regarding increasing your self-awareness versus increasing self-indulgence. The simple shift in the definition can make all the difference in the world. Which one do you perceive as selfish? And which one do you think is self-less? Join us as we explore the answer.
Today, we're going to discuss increasing you self -awareness.
Over the course of this series I have gotten so many emails from people who were sharing with me their perception that teaching self-awareness is actually leading to all the problems that we are having in our society right now. They said this because they believe that increasing your self-awareness is more about what I would refer to as increasing self- indulgence. I wanted to address that in this video because my belief is that through increasing your self-awareness you actually become more self-less. Granted, in the beginning of the journey we can be very selfish. I know that in the beginning that it was all about me. It was all about me getting better, it was about finding ways to change my life because my life was a mess. That is where my focus was when I started my journey. And in time that has shifted. I didn’t wake up one morning wanting to save the world, it shifted gradually.
It actually started off with someone else noticing that I was making changes in my life and then approaching me and asking, "How did you do it? Can you teach me?" And I was so grateful for the changes that I had made, and the way that my life was developing that I was more than happy to share with them what I had learned because others had shared their experiences with me. And over time it has become a passion to share the things I learned because I know how different my life is now, from what it was then.
I can agree with the argument that many people are making when I approach it from the idea of self-indulgence. I agree that because many people are very self indulgent and it is leading to many of the problems that we are having in society today. Things like greed, dishonesty, taking advantage of others for one’s own benefit, all these things that are done to serve one goal. Mainly because people want to make themselves look good to others.
But increasing your self-awareness to me is something totally different. As an example, I just received an email right before we got ready to sit down and shoot this episode from someone saying that they have come to realize that looking inside is now the answer to everything. They shared that they realized if they have problem with someone, the problem probably lies within themselves and their belief system rather than with the other person. Now if that person was not on their journey of self -awareness, increasing their self-awareness, would they have recognized that? How many people do you know that are looking at themselves who would come to the realization that when something or someone else makes them angry, it is not the other person or thing at all. The problem lies within themselves and their belief systems or their perception and the way they are interpreting things.
By developing that self -knowledge and through increasing your self-awareness, do you believe that this person will be able to improve their communication and begin improving their relationships with other people? I believe the only way that we can make a major contribution to others around us, whether it is people in our family, people in our community or around the world is by first increasing your self-awareness about ourselves.
Another strong argument for the importance of increasing your self-awareness is that it gives you the genuine ability to help another person.
Very early in my recovery, I remember sitting down in a psychologist's office at the rehab that I was in and he wanted to take me through a session. The very first thing that I asked him was, “Before we start, are you a drunk?” His answer was, “No, but I have a degree from here and I have a degree from here, and I have a degree from here…” I was very rude with him in the way I responded, and I'm not going to demonstrate it here, but my reply basically was that there was no way that he could help me if he had not been in my shoes. My belief was that if he didn't know what it was like to wake up every morning, feeling what I felt, needing the alcohol, needing the drugs, there was no way that he would be able to understand and communicate to me. And I walked out of the room.
I believe that only by living the life of extremes that I have lived; Only by increasing my self-awareness and by looking at why I did those things and what happened as I grew from those experiences; Only by doing that, will it allow me to help other people. So, I counter the idea that increasing your self-awareness is about self- indulgence with the argument that the only way that you can truly help another person, is by taking care of yourself, first.
Jerry even made the reference when we were preparing to shoot this that when you get on an airplane, as they go through the safety instructions they tell you that if there is a loss of pressure in the cabin, when the oxygen masks drop you are supposed to put on yours first, before you help somebody else. If you are passed out because you were trying to help someone else first, you're not helping anybody. Again, you have to take care of yourself, before you can help other people.
I invite you to take a look back at your own journey of increasing your self-awareness, whether it has been with our series Self-Awareness 101 or your own journey of personal development and self-awareness. Take a look at the things you have learned, the things you have become aware of. Maybe one of the things that you have learned is about recognizing that when something happens to make you angry, it has nothing to do with the external but it has something to do within you. Or maybe you have learned something about your belief systems and how you have had some beliefs that have not supported you. Maybe you've learned how to take away some of the stress and the pressure through the basic meditation exercises that you have learned about.
And what I invite you to do is take a look around your environment and see where you can share these things you have learned by increasing your self-awareness with somebody else. Don't force it on them, because that is just not a way to make people receptive, but if you see somebody who is stressed out at work, offer to teach them a breathing exercise. If you see two people who are in conflict in communication, share with them what you've learned about active listening skills.
Increasing your self-awareness is great for helping yourself, but an even more important benefit is about the ability to pass it on to others, paying it forward.
So I look forward to your feedback, I look forward to connecting again soon.
Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:
Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: Establishing Personal Boundaries; It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode