Let’s start with what happens when you are not self-aware. When you don’t know who you are, you look to others to define you. When you don’t know what you want to do, you allow others to tell you what to do. If you happen to be associated with mentors both wise and kind, this might be okay, but from where I sit, it’s never ideal.
Without self awareness, you flounder in the ocean of others’ ideas. You’re a willing target of snake oil salesmen when you really want coconut oil. It’s like having an itch and not knowing where it is. You scratch all over until you hit the spot – or not.
Self awareness is really important if you want to do something meaningful and truly gratifying with your life. That’s not quite true, because you could get lucky and do something only to find out that it’s meaningful and gratifying to you. You could also win the lottery. Some people do.
Life is Like a Bowl of… Well, Just Like a Bowl
I had a pottery teacher who, whenever she caught you throwing a raw lump of clay on the wheel would ask, “what are you making?” I would have to think about it and reach for a bowl, or a cup, because the truth was, in those days, I would spend twenty minutes hoping to center the clay well enough to throw anything at all. Now, having attained some level of mastery of the medium, I always know what I am going to make. I need to know so I use the right amount of clay and have the tools I need handy. I have to say, it’s a different experience.
It’s the same with life. When I was younger, and didn’t know myself as well, I did things that I thought sounded good at the time and hoped for the best. Now, having attained some level of mastery at this life, I can make better informed decisions – starting with what is in alignment with who I am and what I want. I’m not saying I’m totally aware. It’s an ongoing process, as I discover more and more of who I am at any given moment. How do I do it? I pay attention.