Your mind can be both a delightful asset and a difficult obstacle. Sometimes it generates brilliant ideas, but it may just as often hold you back, refusing to let go of old ways of thinking. Clearly, you want your mind to work for you, and that means you need to befriend it. And the best way to make your brain into your buddy is to develop self-awareness.
The first step toward self-awareness is recognizing the intricate layers of your inner issues. Each issue has at least three layers that need to be peeled back before you can reach the root cause.
To explain this strategy further, let’s take a look at an issue: you tend to act like you aren’t currently interested in having a romantic partner. At the first layer, you tell people that you’re too busy with work and building your career. At the second, you tell yourself that the commitment of a relationship would impede your progress toward your goals. At layer three is yet another reason for you not wanting a relationship: you don't know how to balance your career aspirations and a healthy partnership.
But, at the fourth and deepest level, yoy avoid relationships because of your childhood experience. You was never exposed to healthy relationships, and this resulted in your believing that they only bring out people’s ugly side.
If you want to resolve a personal issue, you must first dig beneath these layers and identify its exact root cause, all while being completely honest with yourself. Only then can you start investing time and effort into resolving it.
The second step toward self-awareness is conquering the thoughts and emotions that negatively impact you. Understanding why you feel certain emotions at particular times is important because it will put you in control of your feelings.
Here are some pointers on managing typical thoughts and emotions: First, when someone brings out a negative reaction in you, try not to take it personally. In all likelihood, there are issues in that person’s life – issues that have nothing to do with you – that are influencing his or her behavior toward you. Second, remember that happiness is a better motivator than fear. And, thus, you should work toward something that makes you happy.
Identifying the root cause of your
issue, and managing negative thoughts and emotions, are the two key steps in developing self-awareness.