Below are 3 levels of self-awareness together with a caveat. Why 3 levels? Who the hell knows? Just choose it.
Level 1– What the Hell Are You Doing?
Theres a great deal of pain and suckage in life. Over the last 30 days, how numerous times have you:
You most likely felt good looking at that.7 Now does that feeling mean anything? Fuck no, its simply a young puppy. But a lot of individuals ascribe profundity to any and every emotion that emerges.
They assume that due to the fact that some feelings are incredibly crucial and essential, that all feelings should be extremely essential and vital. A lot of emotions are meaningless or– and heres the kicker– simply distractions!
Feelings can also be diversions. From other emotions.
Part of developing a strong sense of emotional intelligence is being able to determine which feelings that you experience are essential to act on and which emotions need to be acknowledged and felt and absolutely nothing more.
See, theres another subtle little trap with emotions. And thats the fact that evaluating one feeling will produce another. You can end up in this unlimited loop of self-inquiry, which, after a while, will turn you into a truly self-obsessed person.
Wait, hold on, this one deserves its own area.
Caveat– The Endless Navel-Gazey Spiral of Doom.
Theres an old apocryphal story from 16th-century India where a young guy climbs a big mountain to speak with the sage at the top. Apparently this sage understood, like, whatever and stuff. And this boy was anxious to comprehend the tricks of the world.
Upon coming to the top of the mountain, the sage greeted the young man and welcomed him to ask him anything (note: this was way before Reddit threads). The young guy then asked him his concern, “Great sage, we stand upon the world, but what does the world stand upon?”.
The sage instantly replied, “The world rests upon the back of a variety of great elephants.”.
The boy thought for a minute, and after that asked, “Yes, but what do the elephants stand upon?”.
The sage responded again, without doubt, “The elephants rest upon the back of an excellent turtle.”.
The boy, still not satisfied, asked, “Yes, but what does the great turtle rest upon?”.
The sage responded, “It rests upon an even greater turtle.”.
The boy, growing annoyed, began to ask, “But what does–“.
” No, no,” the sage disrupted, “stop there– its turtles all the method down.”.
In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, I compared self-awareness to peeling an onion, that whatever youre thinking/feeling, theres constantly another layer underneath, and the much deeper you go, the more layers you peel back, the more likely you are to spontaneously burst into tears.
The self-questioning associated with self-awareness can lead to this type of unlimited spiral. Layer upon layer upon layer. And, in lots of cases, not just do much deeper levels not illuminate anything beneficial, but the mere act of peeling them back can produce more anxiety, self-judgment, and tension.
For instance, heres me spiraling through layers of questioning while writing this area today:.
This shit is turtles all the way down, isnt it?
Im conscious that Im composing this sentence today– I feel worn out, a bit cloudy-headed, but also distressed to make progress on this piece before I go to bed tonight.
Put another method, we require to make certain that were selecting our interruptions and our diversions arent selecting us. Were the ones deciding into the distraction, rather than just being not able to opt out of distraction. When were checking out, we require to know. Our distraction needs to be planned and moderated in bite-sized chunks. We cant binge on diversion.
Im conscious of my own anxiety and stressed that this is a bad trend in my current work habits. Why am I up operating at 1:30 AM anyhow? I d most likely compose better if I got some sleep.
A lot of individuals get caught in the trap of constantly looking one level deeper. Doing this feels essential but the truth is that beyond a certain level, its just a navel-gazey spiral of doom. Its turtles all the method down. And the act of looking deeper itself will in some cases generate more feelings of stress and anxiety, despair, and self-judgment than it alleviates.
The secret of the universe is just a damn turtle.
When looking at layers of objective and inspiration, its best to simply go a couple of layers down up until you start repeating yourself.
You may be nervous about your relationship with your mom. Lets state that anxiety comes from the fact that your mama is hyper-judgmental and you fall under this unconscious habit of desperately trying to prove to her that youre not a piece of shit. This requirement to prove to her that youre deserving is underpinned by your desire to be liked. This awareness then makes you more nervous– a stress and anxiety driven by the desire to please your mom, which is underpinned by your desire to be loved– were spiraling now. Its time to simply fix a limit and state its turtles all the method down and move on. You want love from mommy whichs that.8.
And with that, Im going to stop thinking of this section and just go to sleep.
Level 3– What the Hell Are Your Blind Spots?
The more you become aware of your own feelings and your own desires, the more you discover something terrifying: you have lots of shit.
We realize that a big portion of our thoughts, arguments, and actions are simply reflections of whatever we are feeling in that minute.
Ill decide that I dislike the movie if I am viewing a movie with my spouse and Im cranky due to the fact that I had an argument with my editor that afternoon. And the more my other half attempts to encourage me the film was great, the more Ill relish the fact that I get to argue with her about it– because it unexpectedly ends up being a method to validate my anger.
( By the way, if you ever wondered why we tend to combat the most with the ones we love the most, this is partially why: we can utilize them as an emotional punching bag to validate all the crap that we are feeling, whether they deserve it or not– usually not.).
All of us think about ourselves as independent thinkers who reason based upon realities and proof, however the truth is that our brain invests many of its time validating and explaining what the heart has currently stated and chosen. And theres no chance to fix that until youve found out to acknowledge what the heart is stating.
Ive written quite a bit about how problematic our mindful minds are, both in my book and on this website. To provide a quick synopsis:.
Im mindful of my self-judgment. Possibly I am being hard on myself. Whats incorrect with operating at 1:30 AM? I have done this lots of times.
Most people spend much of their day drowned in a sea of distraction without even understanding it. My spouse is staring at me as if I simply had a lobotomy or something.
Im improving. This only occurs about 23 times daily.
Or sometimes I do that thing where Ill have Facebook open, and then Ill open another tab and instinctively type in the URL for … Facebook, the website I was already looking at. I do not even realize I do it, but its my minds automatic relocate to disconnect (or in this case, disconnect from its disconnection).
We all think we understand how were utilizing our time. Were typically wrong.
We believe we work more than we do (research studies reveal many people peak somewhere around three hours of actual work each day,6 the rest is just fucking around). We think we invest more time with our friends and enjoyed ones than we do. We believe were more present than we are, that were better listeners than we are, that were more thoughtful and smart than we are.
But the fact is, were all quite bad at this.
Now, some people take the hardline method of trying to remove all distraction from their lives. This is a bit extreme. If time management and self-awareness was a religious beliefs, this method would be like strapping a bomb to your chest and blowing up a shopping center believing youve got a one-way ticket to 72 distraction-free virgins, when actually, youre simply going to self-destruct (and most likely hurt a lot of people around you in the process).
The objective with diversion isnt to beat interruption, its merely to establish an awareness and control of our interruptions. Rather of contacting ill to play video games all day, youre able to dedicate some free time to video games in a manner thats healthy and gratifying. You let yourself wander away on your phone for a while if thats what your brain seems to require, but youre aware that youre doing it and able to rein it back in when necessary.
The objective here is the removal of compulsion. To eliminate compulsion you must initially become conscious of obsession. When are you engaging in an activity you do not desire to be engaging in? When are you taking a look at psychologically and why? Is it around family? Friends? Co-workers?
For many years I utilized to bring around an iPod and put earphones on whenever I entered into public. I felt naked leaving your house without it. For several years, I simply assumed I was really into music way more than other individuals, that there was some unique need inside me for badass tunes that other individuals simply didnt comprehend.
My earphones were a way of securing and disconnecting myself from others. Being around complete strangers without my headphones made me feel anxious and exposed.
Do not evaluate these observations, just have them. This is the very first level of self-awareness, a simple understanding of where your mind goes and when. You need to understand the paths your mind likes to take before you can begin to question why it takes those courses and whether those paths are helping or harming you.
Level 2– What the Hell Are You Feeling?
Have you ever been raving pissed and when someone asks you why youre mad, youre like, “IM NOT MAD! IM NOT FUCKING MAD! IM PERFECTLY FINE! I MEANT TO SMASH MY KEYBOARD THROUGH MY MONITOR! IM NOT MAD! WHY ARE YOU MAD?!”.
What individuals often find is that the more they eliminate themselves from distraction, the more they are forced to actually handle a lot of the emotions that theyve been preventing for a long time.
This is why practicing meditation for a very long time freaks a great deal of individuals out. Meditation is essentially the practice of training your mind to become less sidetracked and more concentrated on your immediate experience. The outcome is that some individuals become overwhelmed by all of the sensations theyve been shutting in forever.
Treatment has a similar impact, but rather than silencing your mind and staring at a wall for hours on end, youre resting on a sofa and a friendly-looking and really good man/lady is slowly directing you back to how you feel, over and over, till your mind lastly capitulates and youre snotting all over and weeping like an upset kid.
This second level of self-awareness is where you truly start learning “who you are.” I dislike utilizing that expression because it does not actually mean anything, however this is the level that individuals discuss when they say they are “finding themselves”– they are finding how they really feel about the shit going on in their life, and typically they have been concealing these feelings from themselves for several years.
The majority of people slide on the surface area of Level 1 of self-awareness. They do what theyre informed. They follow directions. They sidetrack themselves with the very same shit over and over. At no point have they permitted themselves to express private feelings and reactions to whats going on around them.
Once theyre gotten rid of from these contexts they begin to realize things like, “Oh damn, Im truly delicate and am sad a lot, and holy shit, I never allowed myself to feel that due to the fact that I believed it made me weak or useless, but in fact my unhappiness is part of what makes me various.”.
Level 2 is an unpleasant place to go. People frequently invest years in therapy navigating Level 2. It requires time to become comfy with all of your feelings. Going back through those feelings and permitting them to take location is something that requires a lot of focus and a lot of effort.
But a great deal of individuals also get held up on Level 2. They believe Level 2 is as deep as it goes and they get lost wallowing in their sensations for the rest of their lives. I believe this takes place for a number of factors.
The first is that feelings are powerful, particularly for people who have been reducing their feelings for many of their lives. All of a sudden opening to them will feel life-altering and incredibly profound.
As an outcome, a great deal of individuals begin spinning up a lot of stories about how this is the supreme level of self-awareness, simply feeling stuff all the time. They may even go as far as to consider it a “spiritual awakening.” Theyll describe it in all sorts of high-falutin terms like “ego death” or “transcendent awareness” or “higher awareness.”.
However this is a little bit of a trap. Emotions, as you eventually discover, are a) endless, and b) do not necessarily suggest anything. I mean, often they do, however in some cases theyre likewise self-induced and entirely approximate.
Look at this young puppy.
Our memories are undependable and typically flat-out wrong, specifically when it comes to remembering how we felt at a specific time or place. Our capability to forecast our ideas and sensations in the future is even worse.
We constantly overstate ourselves. In reality, as a basic rule, the even worse we are at something, the much better we think we are, and the much better we are at something, the worse our company believe we are.
Contradictory evidence can often make us surer of our position rather than influence us to question it.
Our attention naturally just focuses on things that currently cohere to our pre-existing beliefs. This is why 2 individuals can see the precise very same event and come away with 2 totally contradictory memories of it (consider 2 opposing sports fans both convinced they saw the ball land in or out of bounds.).
Most of us, when provided the chance, will tell little lies to improve our results. In some cases (i.e., generally), well even inform these lies to ourselves.
We are abysmal at estimating stats, making cost-benefit choices, or reasoning about big populations of individuals. Its in fact both depressing and funny how bad we are at this.
Im distressed about the comprehensibility of my levels of awareness.
Im also conscious that my Layer 4 awareness is barely comprehensible.
Fought with a relationship with somebody near to you?
Felt lonely, isolated, or unheard?
Felt ineffective or lost on what you should do?
Been under-slept, under-fed, short on energy, or unhealthy?
Worried about work or financial resources?
Uncertain about your future?
Been physically hurt, ill, or incapacitated?
Hold weaker viewpoints. Acknowledge that unless you are an expert in a field, there is a good possibility that your assumptions or instincts are flat-out wrong. The simple act of telling yourself (and others) prior to you speak, “I might be wrong about this,” immediately puts your mind in a location of openness and curiosity. It implies a capability to learn and to have a better connection to reality.
Many of your habits and ideas are simply responses to different emotions. And we know that your emotions are frequently incorrect and/or worthless.
Discover your bullshit patterns. I get big-headed and argumentative when I get upset. I shut down and play a lot of video games when I get unfortunate. When I feel guilty, I word vomit my conscience all over people. What are your tics? Where does your mind go when you feel unfortunate? When you feel angry? Guilty? Anxious? Find out to spot your coping mechanisms because that will tip you off next time youre distracting yourself from your sensations. I recognized years ago that when Im pleased and healthy, I enjoy playing video games a couple of hours a week. But when I start binging on a game, remaining up all night and skipping work, its often since Im avoiding some problem in my life. This has actually ended up being a big hint for me to take a seat and figure out whats happening with myself.
Acknowledge the issues you develop on your own. My most significant issue is probably not having the ability to talk about my anger or unhappiness. I either escape through video games or end up being passive-aggressive by sniping at people around me. Both of these propensities dont assist me. And Ive discovered to acknowledge myself when I start doing them. Im able to say, “Hey Mark, you do this shit when youre unfortunate and you always regret not speaking to someone.” I go talk to somebody.
Other individuals never ever feel depressed however suffer unmanageable regret. Others never ever feel guilty but battle with feelings of depression. Where are your weak emotions and strong emotions?
I feel that maybe I am being over-critical, blah, blah, blah …
Freeing ourselves from the twisted boundaries of our mind comes down to a couple of things:.
As a result, a lot of individuals start spinning up a bunch of stories about how this is the ultimate level of self-awareness, simply feeling stuff all the time. You most likely felt good looking at that.7 Now does that feeling mean anything? Doing this feels crucial but the truth is that beyond a specific level, its just a navel-gazey spiral of doom. When I feel guilty, I word vomit my conscience all over individuals. Other individuals never feel depressed but suffer uncontrollable guilt.
Im now conscious that I understand my montage of feelings and feelings about feelings and feelings about feelings about sensations.
I could keep going, however Ill stop there. Generally, the point is that you draw, I suck, everybody sucks. People sort of suck. All the time.
The crucial thing is just that were self-aware about it. Otherwise, we become enslaved to our minds malfunctioning systems.
This, obviously, is a lot easier said than done.
Possibilities are if you include all of those up, youre going to be quite near 30 out of the last 30 days. Thats a lot of suckage!
We transport our minds to some other time or place or world where it can be safe and insulated from the pain of everyday life. We use books, films, games, and music to bring us to another world where no discomfort exists, and whatever always feels good and simple and.
Now, theres absolutely nothing incorrect with interruption. We all require some sort of diversion to keep us sane and pleased.