Why self-awareness is vital for personal growth

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As a baby you and I were born with what behavioral psychologists call: a tabula rasa. Tabula rasa means blank slate in Latin and refers to the absence of build-in mental content at one’s birth. Any knowledge is thus achieved only through experience and perception, although neurobiologists point out that there is a pre-programed mental structure to receive and organize information, which is naturally genetically pre-determined. 

Nevertheless we are born with no consciousness, no judgement abilities, no critical sense and no objective observation abilities. Unless learnt, the latter are unlikely to develop through one’s life time, remaining thus subject to their mind pre-conditioning.

During our growing-up process, as a result of this pre-conditioning, but also in order to survive, we have incorporated automatisms, habits, beliefs and defense mechanisms, to protect ourselves, and respond to potentially harming situations. These habits have remained strongly embedded in us and continue to be blindly enacted during adulthood (when the false-self or the Ego is at work).

Although, in the early days, these mechanisms had an effective and specific function, today, for the most part, they serve no purpose: at best we stagnate (by repeating the same drill, same habits, same defense mechanisms and going nowhere), at worse, we destruct ourselves (and others) by getting sabotaged by unwatched and unquestioned automatisms (behaviours, beliefs, feelings) as they distort the reality of the present moment and lead us to inappropriate behaviors.

Watch yourself and assess what habits/automatisms serve you today and what no longer doesn’t. If you decide to keep the old habits and thinking patterns, then bravely take responsibility for the life you are leading, for the choice you make each day and simply deal with the consequences..

‘Everything in your life is the result of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, then make a different choice.’

In conclusion, it is wise not to blame anyone; change and life are truly up to us. We may not have been able to chose in what family/social/cultural configuration we have fallen in, but we always choose the manner in which we live our lives and what we do with the presenting circumstances. Stay mindful, stay self-aware.


This post is also available in: French

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