Self-Awareness: The Art of Being Fully Present

Written by on October 3, 2014 in Self Awareness with 12 Comments

Self-AwarenessHow aware would you say you are … of yourself, the people in your life, your surroundings?

If you’re like most people at any given time you may be highly focused on a few things (or people) screaming for your attention while the rest of the world around you is left to fend for itself until they too require your attention.

Most of us are simply far too busy getting on with the daily requirements of building a life to spend much time thinking about our level of awareness.

The problem is we not only miss out on some of the best things in life when we live in a state of limited awareness, but we also risk missing important signals that indicate we may be heading for trouble ahead. You’ve heard the term “blindsided”? In most cases the signs are there, but we’re either unable or unwilling to see them.

At its most basic level, self-awareness is not only a critical characteristic of emotional resilience it is the key to greater life satisfaction and becoming the person you were meant to be.

Defining Self-Awareness

Self-awareness involves looking within yourself to get a better understanding of your thoughts, beliefs, emotions and motivations. The challenge is that for most people “honest” self-reflection is not an easy process, either because they resist taking the necessary time to nurture themselves, or they are so filled with layers of personal history and internal limiting beliefs that they no longer have a clear sense of who they are or what they want from life.

Another way to look at awareness is that it’s all about paying attention.

Have you ever finished reading a passage in a book only to realize you have no idea what you just read? Or have you ever been on the receiving end of a conversation where you were physically present, looking right at the person as they were talking, but afterward had no recollection of what they said because you listened but never actually heard them. This is because your mind’s attention was elsewhere recycling familiar thoughts and themes causing you to overlook what was happening right in front of you.

Sometimes it’s even more complicated than a simple distraction. Studies have found that when our minds are confronted with an unknown situation or concept, it will almost always deny it, or replace what it doesn’t understand with preconceived notions and the familiar stories we keep telling ourselves about who we are and what we believe to be true.

Have you ever wondered how two people can listen to the same lecture or read the same book and come up with completely different interpretations? Bingo!

The only way to stop these automated mechanisms is by conditioning ourselves to be fully present in the moment.

Once self-awareness dawns in you, the questions you can ask about yourself, about how you think and feel have no limit. Self-aware questions are the keys that make consciousness expand, and when that happens, the possibilities are infinite. ~Deepak Chopra

The Big Picture

Let’s take a moment to consider the big picture of what is involved with becoming more aware of yourself and the world around you.

  • There’s awareness of your inner workings … your feelings, emotions, values, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses, purpose and the stories you tell (to yourself and others about who you are).
  • There’s awareness of how you communicate with the people in your life and all the ways in which you manage your interpersonal relationships.
  • And finally, there’s awareness of the world around you … the people, things and places in your immediate surroundings and on a larger scale society and the world.
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.


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12 Reader Comments

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  1. Hello Marquita, great post!

    This is a very complex topic. I can truly understand why you dedicated several posts to it.

    The part that practically jumped off the page for me was “…when our minds are confronted with an unknown situation or concept, it will almost always deny it, or replace what it doesn’t understand with preconceived notions and the familiar stories we keep telling ourselves about who we are and what we believe to be true.” I have never heard of this or seen this before! So, here I am, reading your post, and I am confronted with a concept that is unknown to me.

    This would explain a lot of the reactions I typically see in people (most notably on Facebook for me). I see people sharing concepts, beliefs, opinions and the reactions by others are sometimes astonishing to me. I find myself often thinking, “Why oh why did they take that statement that way?” or “Where are they coming from with their reaction?” Now, you’ve brought to light the likely reason.

    I am new here so I am sure I will find other great nuggets of wisdom. I too have been trying to increase my awareness on all levels.

    Thank you for sharing these insights Marquita!

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted…Your Mission Statement. How To Capture The Essence Of Your BusinessMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      I’m so glad you found value in the article Deborah! Yes the topic is a complex one and I actually first became fascinated by it when I used to do a lot of public speaking. Every once in awhile someone would respond in such a surprising way that I wondered if I’d fallen into speaking a foreign language! I’m kidding of course, but when I heard Tony Robbins speak about this subject it was quite an eye opener for me! 🙂

  2. Kimba

    Because I write creative nonfiction, I struggle with sounding like it’s all about me. The best compliment I receive is when a reader says – “I SO could have been in your shoes – I felt like I was there with you.” It’s difficult to write in a way that helps a reader be present with me in a given situation. But if I don’t focus on being present with the reader in mind a story will definitely fall flat.
    Kimba recently posted…Stupid Sh*t Said to WomenMy Profile

  3. Suzie Cheel

    Love your quotes and look for to the series- self-awareness is an ongoing journey to finding our true centre and the love that is within
    Suzie Cheel recently posted…Creativity, Color and ChakrasMy Profile

  4. Sue Kearney

    I appreciate this article. I have been noticing when in coaching calls with my clients that sometimes I drift and my attention is just not there. I think you nailed it: When I can feel in my heart what has come up, and speak it, I can recenter, reconnect and find the awareness again.

    It’s a process, isn’t it?

    I love the Nin quote, too!

    Love and light,
    Sue Kearney recently posted…In the shadow, discover what you are meant to create and manifestMy Profile

  5. Great article. One of my favorite topics. I’m always trying to be more aware of my feelings – especially what is making them change or react to something. Another interesting area I’ve been considering – how often do you actually look the person you are talking to directly in the eye? You can’t be fully present if you don’t. I bet it’s less often than you realize. I’ve been cognizant of this lately and trying to get better at it.
    Diane Howell Topkis recently posted…I’m Smart, Why Can’t I Do This?My Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Great point Diane! Eye contact has always been a big thing for me and I confess that when I’ve been on the receiving end of that experience I have been known to shake a conversation up a bit to try and nudge the person into look at me. Thanks so much for taking the time to share, always appreciate valuable insights.

  6. Mark

    Really nice post Marquita!

    As I was reading your first few paragraphs and you were describing and advising us about being more self aware. I was thinking how most of my friends growing up would have called what you’re describing as being absent minded !LOL! But your point is very well taken, in that our minds are far too often internally processing other thoughts, and that’s the primary reason for our mental lack of focus or being distracted.

    And I absolutely love your passage where you share, that even though we could be physically listening, we still may not not hear what’s being said! That’s an extremely powerful observation! And I also really love the quote by Anais Nin! Great stuff and plenty food for thought! Thanks for sharing it!
    Mark recently posted…Three Incredibly Simple Reasons Why Your Business Isn’t As Productive As It And Should Be!Part ThreeMy Profile

  7. Sebastian Aiden Daniels

    I’m excited for October and reading your articles. Self-awareness and awareness of the world is so crucial to personal development and wellbeing. It is interesting how people are blindsided when events happen even though there were a ton of signs leading up to, the most common of which is a breakup.

    It seems we both find it fascinating how people can see the same thing and take separate meanings away from it.
    Sebastian Aiden Daniels recently posted…7 Steps To Take To Repair A Damaged RelationshipMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Thanks Sebastian, I’m looking forward to the series as well. It’s basically a lead in to the introduction of the new learning center. I look forward to being able to go into more depth with these topics in the future. 🙂

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