“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” ~ Carl Jung
Defined, awareness is a state of being aware; or having knowledge of something. Awareness can be something you notice, want to tell others about, or already know. It can also be the perception of a situation or fact.
What do you think of when you hear “awareness” mentioned? Many would likely answer: the environment, genocide, obesity, poverty, homophobia, political prisoners, diseases like cancer, racism, the list goes on. There is also an entire field of study and practice focused on situational awareness.
People engaged in awareness are often working to change perceptions or policies. They are frequently involved in events for causes that “make them feel good.” Yet, awareness doesn’t accomplish much unless it’s in conjunction with action. For example, while there exists considerable awareness about breast cancer and oodles are spent on event logistics, organizations involved in creating awareness don’t always direct that much toward actual research on a cure. No matter how much pink is worn or displayed, one might question how much more aware can people become?
Awareness is a stepping stone to finding solutions and effecting change. Some feel it’s just another buzzword, like “sustainability,” “faith-based,” “re-distribution,” or “fusion of ideas.” Others believe that for awareness to exist, there is a need to inform and create tangible ways for people to actively contribute – be it to their personal growth and development or to a larger initiative. After all, people who are informed make conscious decisions and choices, and take action, based on information.
There are many ways in which to become aware. Here are three guiding mindsets that pertain to awareness of your self:
- Write down your strengths and weaknesses. Knowledge of your strengths (or what you want as a strength) help you convert your weaknesses (or aspects you choose for change). This exercise helps to focus on good and bad habits, opportunities seized or missed, things you said or didn’t say, etc. Put it all out there, in writing, for yourself to see. This is an essential exercise.
- Admit to yourself that you are not perfect – that imperfection is okay, and that you can choose what you want to do or change. Admit to the weaknesses that are holding you back. Then, acknowledge the obstacles in your life that you want to change for the better. Revisit this process frequently so that it becomes a habit. Realizing the roadblocks that are hindering your journey is a precursor to taking action.
- Listen to your heart; your compass. Approach actions in your life, work, and relationships by asking yourself: How can what I am doing and being best serve myself and others? The act of thinking about how you can make a difference, will inspire you and your actions. Awareness of the heart encourages us to try new things, to invest in ourselves, and to find our true voice.
With all due respect, all the yellow bracelets in the world isn’t going to cure cancer. But conscious awareness, focused effort, and intentional action – might. The same holds true for your own life.