In a comment left on The four-level process of change post I was asked to go into more detail on how a person develops awareness.
To do so, you first need to understand that, like most MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™) stuff, there’s not a silver bullet/one-size-fits-all approach. Even the definitions of awareness can change.
The modern definition of awareness is “having knowledge,” but the archaic definition of “vigilant; watchful” is still more applicable. It’s also interesting (if you love how words tie to ideas) that in my four-level process the archaic definition describes the action used to achieve movement from Level one to Levels two and three, which are better described by the modern definition.
Raising your awareness is probably most difficult because it requires you to become more objective about your self and your actions, i.e., learning to see yourself in the third person instead of the first.
Most people have some objectivity, e.g., they are able to look at a thing—clothes, jewelry, painting, furniture, house, etc.—and appreciate it’s beauty without wanting to own it or even actually like it.
Awareness is cultivating that kind of third person objectivity and then focusing it on your thoughts and words.
Start with things. The next time someone asks you if you like their new whatever, stop and think about it.
- Do you like it for you?
- Are you ambivalent, but guess it’s OK?
- Do you hate it?
He isn’t really asking you if you want to own/wear it, he’s asking about it in terms of himself, so think about it in terms of that person instead of in terms of yourself—in other words, think about it objectively.
- Listen to yourself; hear what you say from the outside, instead absorbing the content from your thoughts.
- Work at watching yourself as you move through life—watching her, rather than you.
Sounds weird, huh, but it works.
You want to develop your objective side without losing the subjective one. Most importantly, you want to be able to tell them apart! Awareness allows you to watch yourself when you need to, not every comment, every move, all the time.
The kind of awareness you’re working to build also means being aware of your effect on others, whether through words or actions. It’s often the effect that will give you a first level insight to something you need/want/don’t want to change. Not all unconscious or conscious incompetence’s (levels one and two) are worth changing. Change takes energy and no person has an unlimited amount, so you need to choose your efforts wisely.
How do you choose where to spend your energy? That’s for tomorrow.