Far too often we try to fix or change our lives without ever becoming aware of what is actually going on.

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
~ Nathaniel Branden

Awareness Changes EVERYTHING!

Have you ever heard the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know”?

This is true in our own lives. We don’t know what we don’t know. Often times we simply know that we want a change, but we lack the awareness to really understand exactly what it is that we want to change.

Often times we think we can simply change our actions and gets the change that we are looking for.

Simply changing the action is rarely enough to create the change that we want.

Think of someone who starts a new diet and exercise program. They make temporary changes, but eventually they go right back to who they were before.

This is because they aren’t truly aware of the real issue.

When we take the time to become aware of the real issues, we can address those issues rather than hoping they’ll simply go away.

Increasing awareness also creates the Observer Effect in our lives. In science, this refers to how the act of observing something can change the outcome.

Many times in our lives, we don’t actually have to actively make changes. Instead, we can increase our awareness, which is often enough to bring about the change that we are hoping for.

Awareness Is Hard and Often Uncomfortable

Awareness seems like it’d be super easy, right?

Unfortunately, it’s harder than most people realize. It takes effort, willingness to explore and be vulnerable, and willingness to experience some discomfort.

It’s hard because it challenges our individual identity. It compares who we think we are, who we want to be, and who we really are.

Most of us want to skip awareness and dive into the work of changing things.

We see this a lot in weight loss. People don’t take the time to understand exactly what is going on, developing an awareness of what’s going wrong. Instead, they jump right into a new diet or exercise program. They might experience temporary results, but without awareness, the real issue usually takes over again.

Simple Steps to Develop Awareness

#1 Do Daily Thought Downloads

This might sound simple, and it is, but it is also powerful. This is a great practice to help you become aware of the thoughts and beliefs that govern your life.

#2 Explore the Thoughts without Judgement and with Compassion

You can do this in thought downloads or just in your head. Explore where your thoughts and beliefs come from. Why do you think what you think? What are your biases?

#3 Explore the Feelings without Judgement and with Compassion

After you’ve explored your thoughts, explore the feelings created by your thoughts. When you think, “I’m a terrible mother,” explore how that makes you feel.

Also, explore the emotions that are most prevalent in your day. Similar to how Sesame Street has episodes that are “brought to you by the letter ‘B'” and then they highlight all the things from the episode that start with B, what is the feeling that is scattered all throughout your day?

Once you identify the recurring feeling, identify the thoughts and beliefs that are triggering that emotion.

#4 Do an Unintentional Model to Be Aware of Your Results

Take your thoughts and feelings and build an un-intentional model around them. This means that you will take a thought and the feeling it creates and plug it into the “T” and “F” lines of the model.

T- I’m the worst parent.
F- shame

Next, take a second to identify the circumstance that triggered the thought, and stick it in the “C” line.

C- I yelled at my teen.
T- I’m the worst parent.
F- shame

Next, identify an unintentional action, “A” line, that is driven by the feeling, followed by the unintentional result, “R” line, to your actions.

C- I yelled at my teen.
T- I’m the worst parent.
F- shame
A- I hide and don’t actively parent.
R- I’m not as involved with my teen.

#5 Sit with the Awareness

Human beings are fixers. So, this might be the hardest part.

DO NOT jump in and start fixing and changing things.

Give it some time. Sit with the awareness. Continue gaining more awareness and deepening your understanding of EVERYTHING that is truly going on.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

The more you know the more you know.

The more awareness you develop, the more you control you will develop.

Simply being aware will change some things. Be aware of that, and give yourself some space to just allow what you find.

Call to ACTION!

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