Every week there is a different booth on the quad promoting awareness of a cause. For this I am eternally grateful, because were it not for such booths I never would have known there were such things as breast cancer, arthritis, poverty, or hunger. I would advocate a different type of awareness, though – one that an unfortunately large number of people lack – an awareness that could bring radical changes to human interaction – and that is SELF-awareness. Not sure if you’re self-aware? Want to raise your level of self-awareness? I’ll walk you through a few basics, but the journey is one you’ll have to make largely on your own.
There are two dimensions of self-awareness: internal and external. We shall start with external. Are you aware of the ramifications of your words and actions upon the lives of others? One unfortunate symptom of a lack of self-awareness is verbal diarrhea. The unaware will often speak for long periods of time without giving a thought to what they are saying, whether or not what they are saying makes sense, or if the fact that they won’t shut up about what they are saying is annoying their trapped audience, causing their audience pain, or making themselves look far less intelligent than they might be. If you’re afraid you may suffer from this particular symptom, remember this: before you speak, think. If you need to speak, do so slowly, then stop and think some more. Take a look at the face of your listener. It should reflect whether or not it’s safe to continue. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”
On a larger scale, external self-awareness concerns your impact on the world, both positive and negative. Stop and think about the effects of your consumption, your action, and your personal interaction. Do you live wastefully? Are you having a positive impact on the lives of others? To be idealistic, how can you be a positive influence on the world?
The trickier dimension of self-awareness is internal awareness. Internal awareness can be achieved through the discipline of introspective reflection. If you are already a frequent flier on Introspection Airlines, you are well on your way to internal self-awareness. If not, I encourage you to take large chunks of time, or even just a few minutes several times a day, to reflect upon your thoughts, feelings, and reactions toward the day. Journals can be very helpful with introspective reflection. If you think you don’t have time for introspective reflection, consider the mundane, mechanical activities you do throughout the day, such as driving or walking somewhere, cleaning, or showering. Such times are excellent for letting the mind get lost in itself. Internal self-awareness will help you better understand yourself, your desires, your beliefs, and your interaction towards others.
Let’s make December Self-Awareness month. Let’s make January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November Self-Awareness month. You have a Self. You are a being. Be aware of it. Don’t fall into dangerous the trap of self-oblivion. Know thyself!
This public service message brought to you by the Association for Awareness and the Guess What – You Exist! Campaign.