How is Self-Awareness Vital to Building Self-Esteem?
What is self-awareness and how do we become aware that we need to make changes in our life?
In order to realize that our life is not working for us and that a lack of self-esteem may be at the source of that, we must first become aware.
Self-awareness is the ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. Self-awareness is paying attention, all the time.
It is unfortunate that many people go through life in a state of unawareness. It is a busy world we live in. Our survival is paramount in all of life. Self-awareness is not a priority for many.
No matter what self-help book you read, no matter what tools you use to be effective, to cope with stress, to have relationships that work, to develop acceptance, to love and be loved and so on, you need to believe (in your heart), understand and develop this one thing:
You are a special, unique and wonderful person, deserving to love and be loved. Your Creator made you that way. When you really, really know that in your heart of hearts, you have Self-Love.
Call it what you like ...Self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, self-acceptance, unconditional love of self or self-respect. This, in my opinion is the missing ingredient to a happy life.
This is why our penitentiaries, our mental institutions, our jails, our group homes, our drug treatment centers and our hospitals are full. Those are just some of the places we find our unloved people. Take a walk through the parks and back alleys in the large cities. All of these lost people deserve to know that they are lovable. If our societies could only grasp this concept, we could tackle it at it's source. Plainly, if we are not alright with ourselves, we are not alright with anyone or anything.
If you are not aware of the fact that something is not working in your life, it cannot be changed. Becoming aware of something immediately changes it.
Mindset, The Silent Sabateur.
Mindset is the beliefs we hold about something. The meaning of mindset is self-explanatory: mind set. That means that your mind is set and that you are not looking for evidence that might change it. That’s why I think that a mindset is like a ‘rut’. If we are not open to new ideas and possibilities, we are living dead. And nothing will ever change for us.
A perfect example of that invaded my quiet space while I was at the gym this morning. A woman was going around the circuit and giving it half an effort. I had watched her on three other occasions and as a previous fitness center owner, I finally decided to ‘but’ in. She was doing the abdominal machine with her shoulders and neck. I told her that it was safer and she would get much more out of it if she kept her arms completely straight. She said, “ Oh, I have sore shoulders and neck so I have to bend my arms”. And then she basically dismissed me. That’s all right with me. It’s really a shame to spend all that time doing an activity that will ultimately not do the job and may even injure.
Shortly after, we were both stretching on the floor and I couldn’t help overhearing her talk to a couple of women also stretching on the floor. The woman was quite overweight and out of shape. Stretching was a problem for her. One of the ladies tried to help her do the stretches correctly and she said that this is the best she can do because she had some health conditions.
Then she went on to talk about a diet that she started and that she has lost some weight, but she had lost the information and would like to get back at it. She then talked about her hepatitis C, plantar fasciitis and a number of other ailments that I didn’t recognize. She explained why she didn’t work out last week and mentioned her normal schedule of working out was twice a week. She left the floor before the rest of us and she started after us.
That wasn’t enough for me, I had to meet her again in the dressing room telling another lady about her shoes and shoe inserts. The shoes were over three years old and she said that she needed new shoes. I mentioned a place that had runners on sale for 50% off. She said that it didn’t matter because Social Services were going to buy them. They had bought her the last pair. Then she left exclaiming that she had housework to do that would take her all day.
That got me to thinking about her ‘lot in life’. Don’t get me wrong! This is not a criticism. I know that we are all being the best we can be with what we have and coming from where we come from. I do know that we have choices. Mindset is what we have that keeps us where we are in life. And if we say we want things differently, we have to think differently.The stories in our mind are the stories of our life. These are her stories. And they are stuck like glue, for now.
I could not tell this woman that she had an unworkable mindset. She would not be prepared to listen. She is out of integrity with herself and she is busy convincing herself and anyone who will listen that she is a victim of circumstances. The way I see it is she is presently comfortable with how things are and will not change anything until she is uncomfortable.
If you are starting to feel uncomfortable about the circumstances you are creating in your life (and you do have a choice), ask yourself what it is that you want. Then, be prepared to become aware of the thoughts that you have, the beliefs that you hold and how your ego has tried to protect you from moving forward by helping you make up stories to make it alright. In order to make changes you need to be aware of how you justify your actions and then locate the beliefs that you have that are preventing you from making changes.
Beliefs and How They Impact Our Lives.
There are a million and one thoughts on one subject alone. That means to me that nothing has any meaning except the meaning that we give it. Does that mean that everything is meaningless without human perceptions and opinions?
I think so. I am not the author of this idea as there are hundreds of people before me who have talked about, written books about and given seminars on this subject.
What follows from this concept is that if things and occurrences only have the meaning that we give them, why do we give them meanings that are detrimental to our health and happiness. Why do we choose to believe things about life that don’t support us? And we do make those choices because there is conflict, crime, illness and poverty in a world that has abundance for all.Each one of us has a set of beliefs that we acquired as we were growing up. A Lot of the beliefs that we have about life were given to us in our early years by well meaning and loving parents. Some of them were helpful and many were not. Nevertheless, we continue to cling to them because we don’t know any different.
It is human nature to want to be right, so we make ourselves right whenever we have the opportunity (no matter what). We search out things and people that conform to what we believe and so the cycle continues.
In our fast-paced and challenging world, we often don’t have time for reflection. And it’s time for reflection that we need to look at what we have created for ourselves and to evaluate what could be better. Often it is a crisis situation that makes us look at our selves. Even after we have realized that we have made some unworkable choices, we often fight admitting what beliefs we have that don’t work. And we have to accept those beliefs before we can change them. All of this process is called evolution. We all evolve, even if we are not aware of it.
If we can understand and admit that our opinion or belief about something is not the belief of the Universe, then we can see a way to change that belief to something that supports us in living our best life.
Here are some examples of beliefs that you may or may not have:
• Some people think that women are bad drivers but statistics show otherwise.
• My husband thinks that we need animal protein to survive and there are millions of people (still alive) who don’t touch animal products.
• Some people wake up in the morning, take a look at the sun and complain about the coming heat and the possible sunstroke. Others dress in their bathing suits and sandals and can’t wait to get to the beach.
• My little grandson loves the sea. He falls in the water, tastes the salt and gets all muddy. His cousin stays clear of it because he believes, like his mother, that his skin will parch and wither.
• A clerk we talked to yesterday in the store called our part of the city corrupt. We love it here and haven’t seen any crime. I go for a walk alone regularly and feel safe everywhere I go.
• My uncle believes that everyone is out to take money from you and so trusts very few people. I believe that it is better to be disappointed than to trust no one.
These are all examples of what we believe about life. As you can see, our beliefs about it don’t change it. It’s what we think it is. So what works for you?