Turn inward for your voyage! For all your arts you will not find the Stone in foreign parts.
Angelus Silesius (17c mystic and poet)
Self-awareness is the first area because it is a foundation for all the other areas. Yet, if it is so important, why are we not all already very self-aware? This is because there are some challenges that fog our self-awareness. What they are and methods to overcome them are suggested below.
Self-ignorance (‘I can’t be bothered’)
It is tempting to ignore our inner world as many other things call for our attention; but self-awareness matters for several reasons:
The better you know yourself, the more you can be in charge of your life. Imagine you find yourself in a land you know nothing about. You are likely to feel lost. But the more you learn about that land, the better you can navigate through it. The same applies to the landscape of your mind. If you want to take control, you need to know what is going on in
Ignoring your inner processes does not make them disappear – you are just less able to influence them.
Self-awareness can help you assess a situation more accurately (e.g. you may recognise that your desires or preferences in a particular situation are affecting your judgement).
Self-awareness can also help you form realistic expectations, which reduces disappointments (e.g. you may realise that you are not in the best frame of mind to win a game).
Understanding yourself can help you understand others too; for example, understanding why you get angry in some situations may help you understand why others get angry too.
Self-awareness can also help your development – you will know what direction to take and what you need to work on.
It is interesting! Our inner world can be as rich as our external one, so a life without self-awareness is impoverished and can make you more dependent on external stimulation.