Cultural diversity awareness. Environmental impact awareness. Social justice awareness. Ecosystem awareness. Financial impact awareness. I’ve cared about and worked in many of these areas. But, I’m still amazed at the impact that self-awareness brings to every single thing we do in life including our fitness work.
Self-awareness is a good thing. We learn and we grow because we become aware of something that we want to change. That’s so obvious that it’s almost a silly thing to say. But, by definition, if we are unaware, we don’t know that we don’t know. We don’t learn, fix, grow or change things that we’re unaware of!
I know I’m talking in circles now but let’s break this down. If there is something that you’ve struggled with for a long time and the solution to this thing has been just beyond your reach, maybe walking this little circle might help.
THE ROLE OF SELF-AWARENESS IN PHYSICAL ENDEVOURS
A gymnast does a floor routine
At first she has no awareness about what was wrong with the routine.
She is open to receiving information from an outside source. So, she gets a coach who provides her feedback.
She now becomes increasingly aware of what is wrong as she works the routine.
Over time, as she focuses on each move and she makes the changes the coach described.
Then she learns to notice the errors and correct them herself while she is making them, even without the coach’s help.
Eventually, her awareness of her mind and body is so clear that she can perform skillfully without errors and without coaching.
THE ROLE OF SELF-AWARENESS IN EMOTIONAL ENDEVOURS
A child experiences something that leaves his / her adult-self unable to trust others, not knowing what s/he needs, believing others are more important or powerful and being unable to articulate his / her needs.
Using their other skills and abilities, a good life is created including good relationships, work and home. But, s/he consistently puts the needs of others before his / her own and over time becomes unfit and unhealthy.
S/he seeks information from several different sources; therapists, books, healthy family and friends and many other helpful sources.
After learning about the needs of children for healthy emotional development, there is more clarity about why that dull pain has always existed. There is now less need for self-reproach or blame.
Skills are learned to “re-parent” and / or live more mindfully in love.
Techniques are learned to replace unhelpful habits and thoughts with better ones. Progress is made over time with an appreciation for the journey rather than the destination.
Eventually, the individual is empowered with a high level of awareness of their self-worth, abilities and connectedness in life.
OK, that’s all well and good but what specifically can be done to increase our self-awareness?
There are lots of different approaches. I recommend trying as many as you want. But, at some point there needs to be some daily time committed to stillness. It is only when we learn to quiet our internal chatter that can we hope to be able to pay attention to the messages that we need to hear. We need to get this feedback from our bodies and our minds and our emotional selves to know whether the choices we are making are moving us in a direction of health. If you have a therapist or not, you need to go through the same process that the gymnast used to identify what needs to change and then to evaluate how well change was happening. Within this loop of self-awareness, self-esteem and self-love grows.
Even if we are already relatively healthy, the more we tune in and establish those sensitive connections with our body, our mind, our community, and the world, the more likely we can contribute in a meaningful ways and experience the serenity and purposefulness of life that we all ultimately seek.
THIS is true personal healing and health. THIS is how we contribute to the greater good by bringing our best selves. THIS is the example we can choose to provide to all.
So, what EXACTLY can be done to move in this direction? No one can give you the do A, then B and you’re guaranteed to get to C formula.
One thing I can say with confidence is that if you spend time EVERY DAY practicing stillness and mindfulness, you’ll find your own way.
That means learning meditation, or relaxation techniques or self-hypnosis – whatever you choose to call it.
You are your own guru.
You will find your own way to self-awareness, connectedness and fitness beyond expectations.
I am sending lots of love to each and every one of you!