Self-Awareness“Above all else, know thyself.”– Ancient Greek inscription on the entrance to Temple of Apollo in Delphi

Have you ever felt so stuck in your old patterns of thoughts and ways of being, that change seemed almost impossible?

It doesn’t seem to matter how intense your desire to make a positive change in your life is, how prepared you are, or even that you’ve made progress towards what you wish to achieve.

Inspiration propels us forward, but sooner or later we hit the glass ceiling of resistance. We find ourselves battling with our habitual patterns of thought and behavior as though there is an invisible barrier preventing us from moving beyond a certain point.

There is a plethora of theories, books, and experts on the topic of why we get stuck and how to move beyond this. In one of my stuck phases I found myself overwhelmed by the amount of information and techniques out there. I came across everything, including: NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), CBT (Cognitive Based Therapy), hypnosis, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), visualizations, energy clearing and meditations to heal your inner child. The overload did not help with my stuckness, I very much felt like the running man Tinie Tempah raps about in the song Written in the Stars trying to chase a dream but going nowhere.

So just like in the movies, I turned to a wise mentor and asked him how could I win against my hardwiring, these unconscious (and some not so unconscious) forces that were taking me out?

His advice was simple, “Apply more awareness.” So simple in fact, that I initially rolled my eyes. Awareness was certainly not a new concept to me. I was one of the most self-aware people I knew and I’d read pretty much everything written by Eckhart Tolle.

Luckily, I was smart enough to realize the value of the advice being given to me. Knowing about self-awareness and actually practicing it are two very different things.  Even if we are already practicing it in our daily lives, there is often a deeper level it can be taken to. In my case, I thought I knew myself, but I soon realized that what I knew barely scratched the surface.

After my conversation with my mentor I increased the attention I paid to my thoughts, feelings and behaviors. As I practiced awareness on a moment-by-moment basis, I got to know “myself” on a whole new level; I became what I called a Super Awareness Monster.

I trained my mind to be more present than ever before. As I learned not to judge myself, I enabled myself to take a more honest look at my life. I saw clearly the endless amount of rubbish excuses I made to myself all day, the meaningless thoughts I wasted time focusing on, and the strategies I had put in place that were stopping me from growing.

Abraham Maslow said that:

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”

My new level of self-awareness over time shifted my perception of life, this is how I was able to get unstuck and change.

Awareness creates space for us to make an informed decisions, rather than respond to life with a knee-jerk response. Best-selling author Brendon Burchard suggests in his book The Charge, that it is not enough to simply be present and aware. He recommends that we direct our awareness by regularly asking ourselves “How should I think” and “How shall I feel?” (which is different to asking how you should feel).

He also suggests five key areas we should direct our awareness to:

  • thoughts

  • feelings

  • behaviors

  • relationships

  • speed of progress.

To some this applying awareness may seem like a simplistic response to our rather complex lives and problems, but it is always the first step to making positive changes in your life. The importance of it has been noted by ancient Greek philosophers and modern day psychologists and personal development experts.

Despite its simplicity, developing a habit of being self-aware is not easy; it takes practice, patience and the courage to really look at yourself. But the reward is a richer life, shaped by your conscious choices.

How self-aware are you? While we would all agree that we know ourselves fairly well, but how in tune are we with our real wants and needs, and who we are – beyond our conscious exterior? Tell us below if you’ve got yourself out of a rut by simply becoming more aware of who you are.