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One Reason you are not as Self-aware as you think you are

In my previous post, How to Discover your Life Purpose, I shared some of my perspectives on self-awareness as a major contributing factor to the search for life’s purpose. I shared that Self-awareness is having a clear perception of one’s own personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. From personal experience, here is one reason I believe you are not as self-aware as you think you are (been there, that’s why).

How many can relate to any of the following phrases;

‘You’ve made me angry’, ‘She/he makes me happy’, ‘She makes him miserable’, ‘He makes me go nuts’, ‘You make me feel good’,  ‘You disappoint me’, ‘He made her cry’…

Next time you hear yourself say something like any of these phrases, know that you are playing the blame game; one of the signs that you have low level of self-awareness. NO ONE MAKES YOU FEEL ANYTHING. For the record, no one is responsible for the way you feel, YOU ARE – you may not know how best to manage your feelings, but you are still responsible for how you choose to emotionally respond – whether conscious or subconscious . You are the one who owns the emotions, the only one in a better position to control them, and therefore the only one who can decide whether to take a positive or negative internal response to any situation. People do or say things that can trigger emotions or reactions in you,  but they don’t get to decide how you negatively or positively choose to position yourself or react, YOU do. Ever wondered why when you laugh at some people they don’t get mad, rather they just laugh with you? Shouldn’t they be mad and say, ‘stop laughing, you are making me mad!’ The thing is, this person being laughed at is aware that every  person has the right to behave in any way he/she wants and he has no control over that, but rather he has control over his own emotions/actions and so has a choice on how to respond or react to what others are doing.

imagesWe all have that choice, but it takes a great level of awareness to know that the only person in charge of your emotions, thoughts, actions and choices,  is YOU, and nobody else. Once you realize this, you don’t waste your time blaming others for your fate because you are aware that you create your own fate.  You choose to either laugh with those laughing at you or you can choose to waste more energy by being enraged, you can choose to remain happy or be disappointed when your circumstances change, you can choose to move on or wallow in sorrow when your relationship ends or when you lose your job, you can choose to learn to be more aware about your reactions to situations – their, causes/ origins and triggers  or blame others and your circumstances, etc. Bottom line is, YOU have a CHOICE.

This is not to say that feeling negative emotions is bad, no, but, self-awareness is knowing why you feel the way you do and deciding a constructive response that honors you as well as others. So if you still find yourself blaming others for the way you feel or act, question your level of self-awareness, because a person with high level of awareness knows that whether she chooses to feel good or bad,  happy or sad, or whether she chooses to be reactive instead of being proactive in situations, she is responsible for  being conscious of the way she feels or acts. Furthermore, a self-aware person knows that she/he is also responsible for the consequences of her/his actions or emotions.

So when you blame another human being for the way you feel, it’s like you are saying  to them, ‘you are the one who decides how I feel or how I do things’, and we all know that this isn’t the case. When you blame others, you simply show that you do not want to be responsible for your own life so you are pushing that responsibility to others. Reality check; between you and I, as an adult, who is responsible for your life? Exactly! You are the sole owner of your life; your behavior, your actions, your choices and your emotions.

I wonder why we obsess about other people’s actions or contributions to our life more than our own contributions? I believe self-awareness is a factor of raising our consciousness of our actions, we become responsible for what we are conscious of. Reflecting through what I’ve just written also makes me wonder;  could it be that we subconsciously defeat our self-awareness/consciousness in order to avoid  the weight of taking personal responsibility of our actions?

It has taken me a long time to become aware of this and recognize that I am responsible for my life, my actions, my choices, my feelings, etc. and I still find myself blaming others for my mishaps sometimes. However, once I  became aware of this principle, my life changed; I sweat less over things I am not in control of, I am more at peace with myself because I am able to choose how to feel about something or how I act in any situation. I know that I am responsible for it and whatever the consequences of my action are, I am also responsible for that. It is very liberating to feel in control of one’s own life; blaming others for the way you feel or act is draining, exhausting and dis-empowering.

Here’s a challenge for you today, if something happens that will trigger emotions in you, stop for a moment and ask yourself, if I am the owner of the way I feel or react, what’s healthier; to be negative or positive? Also, who gave the other person (and denied me) permission of control over my emotions?

I would love to hear your experience when you try this challenge so we can learn from the experiences.