A lot of what I read and hear about how we should be a little more self-aware really focuses on the things we can’t control. In other words, we’re told that we are all just made out of energy, so we should get to know it better, learn how to take care of ourselves, and learn to let go of the things we can’t control.
There are plenty of things I wish I had control over in my life, but I’m not even aware of what I can get away with doing. I know what I can get away with not doing, and I know what I can get away with doing. In fact, most of my actions seem to have more impact than they should, and I think I’ve learned enough to realize that I should stop doing what I dont want doing.
When we think of self-awareness we usually think of a person who is aware of his own actions, but we should also think of someone who is aware of the actions of others. In a way, we are all aware of what is going on around us, but what we are aware of is not necessarily what is going on for others.
There’s a small but very real distinction between self-awareness and awareness. You can go into any group of people and talk to them about what they are doing, but unless you also know them, you cannot know what they are thinking or feeling or knowing. You can talk to people about the weather, but if they dont know what the weather is, they dont know what the weather is. There are people out there who are aware of the weather, but they dont know how to use it.
In another sense this is true of the two main types of self-awareness, but what we are talking about is a kind of awareness that is not about one person but about the group. For example, I have no idea how any of my friends are really feeling, but I know they are feeling the same thing I am (or something close to that). When I ask them how they are, they either say “I feel sad” or “I feel mad”.
The two main types of self-awareness are a) being aware of ourselves and b) being aware of the situation we are in. The awareness I am referring to is what I call “being aware of the situation.” It is not the kind of awareness that is so focused on the person directly involved that one can forget they are not even aware.
Being aware of the situation is the conscious, intentional process of doing something about the situation. It is also called being aware. Being aware is a process involving all of our faculties, but specifically the ability to see what we are doing and what we are doing, at all times, that is, without being distracted.
You can be aware of the situation in the same way you can be aware of your life situation. That is your conscious, intentional approach.
We could go into a lot more detail about the nature of being aware, but I think this is a good place to summarize what I think is a most important point: being aware is a way of being. It is a way of taking your attention away from the present moment and directing it towards another, more momentary point. This is what is meant by being aware.
Being aware to the point that we can’t help but be aware, we become aware. And being aware that we are aware, we become aware. This is a process that is happening all the time. It’s why I think we are all aware that we are alive. It’s not a matter of being aware of a particular fact or thing. It’s a matter of being aware that we are aware.