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BECOMING SELF-AWARE OF YOUR OWN CONSCIOUSNESS

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Taking care of five cats seldom may seem like a challenge but it is a routine that allows room for self-awareness. Not too long ago did I take one of my cats to the local animal clinic where he was diagnosed with parasites. It became obvious to me and my family that he displayed signs of lethargy which brought about great concern. He is well now but the behavior of all of my cats comes to intrigue me from time to time. Therefore, I never hesitate to try and understand my cats actions because it is an indicator of my level of awareness and of course my perception. Self-reflection becomes more powerful when we can use it in real-time to make better decisions. Nonetheless, examining the world is a form of self-reflection in some way or another if you ask me.

Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

However, taking into account the fast pace of life today, self-reflection is not necessarily an easy thing to practice.

For starters, self-reflection (also known as “personal reflection”) is taking the time to think about, meditate on, evaluate, and give serious thought to your behaviors, thoughts, attitudes, motivations, and desires. 

There are various advantages to self-reflecting, one being at a long term level and the other at a reduced or restricted level. At a short glance, you can evaluate your responses to particular circumstances and events, much like in the case of noticing my cats behavior, for example. While extensively, you can evaluate the overall trajectory of your life. You can make future plans and make adjustments as necessary.

“Reflection is a deeper form of learning that allows us to retain every aspect of any experience, be it personal or professional—why something took place, what the impact was, whether it should happen again—as opposed to just remembering that it happened. It’s about tapping into every aspect of the experience, clarifying out thinking, and honing in on what really matters to us.”

Although it may seem difficult to take the time to self-reflect due to the lack of control and the quality of mental states that consists in their being directed toward this state of affairs, it is a valuable introspection tool.

It is important to take the time to self-reflect for various reasons. If we do not pause to think or to analyze we run the risk of becoming stagnant in a situation that might be at odds with our being or our self-interest. 

Some benefits of self-reflection include:

  • It allows you to gain perspective—you can achieve clarity on situations that may seem confusing to you if you dedicate time to self-reflect.
  • It helps you respond more effectively—instead of reacting to situations remaining in an estate of personal reflection allows you to consider the consequences of your words and actions.
  • It promotes learning and understanding—by pausing to reflect, self-reflection allows us to think deeply and ponder the meaning of our circumstances, emotions, and motivations.

It’s important to cultivate self-awareness. Individuals who develop this capacity for real-time self-reflection have a huge advantage in both their personal and professional lives. 

According to Nick Wignall form The Understanding Project, the development of three specific skills will contribute to the habit of self-reflection: Openness, Observation, and Objectivity. 

Acknowledging your own prejudice and stereotypes about the world, other people, or even ourselves, and working to overcome them is a great sign of accepting or being receptive to change or new ideas. 

One way to cultivate openness is as follows:

  • What thoughts or self-talk run through your mind leading up to big decisions at work?
  • What are your expectations for your spouse during times of conflict?
  • What are your automatic or default explanations when you realize you’ve made a mistake?

Keeping a journal near you will help you make writing a routine that forces you to be aware of the factors influencing your decisions, including automatic beliefs, thoughts, expectations, and the degree to which these do or do not align with your own values and goals. 

Another skill that should be developed is observation, which can be considered meta-cognition, this skill is especially helpful for using self-refection as a way to overcome compulsive, addictive or habitual behaviors. Metacognition can be defined as awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes, in other words, recognizing and shifting your thoughts about whats going on internally as oppose to externally in this case leads you to notice or perceive something and register it as being significant. Last but not least is objectivity.

The ability to differentiate your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors from your identity and sense of self brings in a sense of not being influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. Understanding that our thoughts and emotions are separate to who we are can seem difficult because of how engulfed we may be with them to the point of insanity. Remembering that if we can control our fears and sorrow by keeping a Thought Diary may help or seeking professional help to reinforce this understanding.

CITATIONS

Team, A. (2021, March 1). Self-reflection 101: What is self-reflection? why is reflection important? and how to reflect.Holstee. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.holstee.com/blogs/mindful-matter/self-reflection-101-what-is-self-reflection-why-is-reflection-important-and-how-to-reflect. 

Valero, L. (n.d.). Self reflections in art: Valme. front page. Retrieved October 16, 2021, from https://valme.io/c/journal/clarisse88/zmqqs/self-reflections-in-art.Â

Wignall, N. (2021, July 21). The elements of self-reflection. Medium. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://medium.com/the-understanding-project/the-elements-of-self-reflection-cdf7aa70ed2e. 

GENUINE RESEMBLENCES

Sunday, October 3,2021 7:47 PM

Recent personal experiences have led me to revise my true authentic self. I have been feeling justified in my own power but it can bring up a lot of childhood memories. Nonetheless, my quest to search for my authenticity despite how it can set me apart from the crowd requires the ability to sacrifice any relationship, situation or circumstance that diverges from my truth. This is a matter of achieving happiness and understanding ones being. However, this is easier said than done.

Taking into account that identity is complex, there are multiple versions to who you are. For example, depending on the context, whether being at home with your parents or spouse, or relating with your cohort at school over shared interest or going to the gym and talking to your friends, “invented selves” are normal. We all do it to some degree or another. “Being authentic isn’t just about being honest, it’s also about being self-aware, being humble, and taking feedback from others.” Authenticity is about confidentially knowing what your opinions are!

Many of us if not most of us spend a lot of time online, the World Wide Web is a great way to experiment with representing one’s identity, it can allow people to embody potential future selves. Whether authentic or idealized, identity expression presents unique challenges, specially for marginalized communities and non-normative identities. Because social network sites enforce an administrative inflexible notion of “real names” meaning that theirs an expectation of individuals to represent an established, rather than experimental, identity, privilege is implicit. 

Understanding authenticity is of course according to context, in the case of online authenticity, boundaries between the “authentic” and the “fake” is enforced by stagnant and singular true identities that in fact can be considered artificial. Or performed effortlessly because legitimate identities are “idealized representation of reality”. To be considered authentic in this case, means:

  1. Fulfilling peoples expectations over your identity
  2. Satisfying the standards for the culture and circumstances from which they come from and
  3. Puts on a creative and sincere performance of identity

The binary of male/female on certain online dating sites hinders the progress of certain authentic identities. Past social network site content may present unique challenges or discomfort for some individuals as their lives progress who undergo life transitions like gender transition, for example. In another case, formatting restrictions present hurdles, for example, Native American users like Lance Brown Eyes, who (after providing proof of identity) saw Facebook change his name to “Lance Brown” upon reinstatement of his account. In another case, drag queens were reported by other users for failing to use a “real name”; this creates opportunities for those with biases against certain groups to use the flagging process systematically to remove profiles. Beyond proof of identification, understanding how Facebook, for example, constructs and conceives the idea of “authenticity,” poses problems for users with fluid or changing identities. 

CITATTIONS

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Answers to your questions about transgender people, gender identity, and gender expression. American Psychological Association. Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.apa.org/topics/lgbtq/transgender. 

Greenwood, D. J. (1982, September 1). Cultural “authenticity”. Cultural Survival. Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/cultural-authenticity. 

Haimson, O. L., & Hoffmann, A. L. (n.d.). View of constructing and enforcing “authentic” identity online: Facebook, real names, and non-normative identities: First Monday. View of Constructing and enforcing “authentic” identity online: Facebook, real names, and non-normative identities | First Monday. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://firstmonday.org/article/view/6791/5521. 

Johnston, R. (2017, November 23). Your authentic self. Imagine Health. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://imaginehealth.ie/your-authentic-self/. 

the Mind Tools Content Team By the Mind Tools Content Team. (n.d.). Authenticity: How to be true to yourself. Career Skills From MindTools.com. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/authenticity.htm. 

AN AUTHENTIC IDENTITY

Sunday, October 3, 2021 2:43 PM

According to Psychology Today identity encompasses the memories, experiences, relationships, and values that create one’s sense of self. A more in-depth explanation comes from Lynda Kelly’s “What is identity?”, that emphasizes Kidd’s point on Culture and Identity that identity is the way sociologist framed how individuals thought of themselves and their world. He defined identity as ‘…the characteristics of thinking, reflecting and self-perception that are held by people in society’. Kidd identified three-forms of identity:

  • Individual identity—the unique sense of personhood held by each person in their own right.
  • Social identity—a collective sense of belonging to a group, identifying themselves as having something in common with other group members.
  • Cultural identity—a sense of belonging to a distinct ethnic, cultural or subcultural group.

As appearances can be deceiving one thing is for certain that identity is rather complex to define. People are immensely complicated and interesting. Some basic traits of individuality include race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical attributes, personality, political affiliations, religious beliefs, professional identities, and so on. These aspects overlap and are interconnected known as intersectionality

It is possible to come to the conclusion that identity is fluid despite some characteristics being stable. Several different identity development stage theories exist that concern race. Another facet is culture which encapsulates language, beliefs, traditions, codes of conduct, rules, membership, and health beliefs. Identity inevitability deals with language and meaning, drawing relationships between ideas, and coming up with conclusions over biological constructs. 

Of course power is centralized in certain parts of society and your identity plays a significant role in the type of privilege that you receive or perhaps lack over others. The privilege of a physically attractive person is a double edge sword because in one end you might be forgiven easily and on the other hand be discriminated and stereotyped. Being aware of such methods of cognition will give you insight into human self-awareness and personal self development.

Humans are capable of thinking consciously about themselves in far much more complex ways that separate them from other animals. For example, humans plan for the future, “we are self-aware and able to think consciously about ourselves in our minds.” As far as animals go the environment triggers animal’s behavior automatically without conscious thought as in the case of squirrels when they gather food. Thinking ahead is a feature important to the human mind as it pertains to long-term goals. 

Certain other animals like apes have the ability to think about themselves. Research conducted studied how animals react to their own reflections. Great apes—such as chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans can use mirrors to look inside their mouths, pick their teeth, groom, or look at their backsides, much like people do. Humans of course have the ability to think about themselves in much more abstract and complex ways. This helps to understand human behavior however it might seem at odds with organizational values. 

One form of consciousness is authenticity which may be effected in a professional environment. As it pertains to the way that individuals fit in a particular culture, authenticity may  create doubt for others in a particular context because it may come at odds with customs and traditions.

CITATIONS

Leary, M. (2020, September 23). Self-awareness and psychology: Navigating human mysteries. The Great Courses Daily. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.thegreatcoursesdaily.com/self-awareness-and-psychology-navigating-human-mysteries/.Â

Livermore, D. (2019, June 11). Culture fit vs. authenticity: When being yourself collides with organizational values. The Great Courses Daily. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.thegreatcoursesdaily.com/culture-fit-vs-authenticity/. 

Lynda Kelly, L. K. (2010, May 19). What is identity? The Australian Museum. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://australian.museum/blog-archive/museullaneous/what-is-identity/.Â

Satterfield, J. M. (2020, April 21). The Iceberg-Visible and hidden identity. The Great Courses Daily. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.thegreatcoursesdaily.com/visible-and-hidden-identity/. 

Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Identity. Psychology Today. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/identity. 

A SELF PORTRAIT OF SELF-WORTH

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 8:09 AM

I have an interest over the operation of the mind and behavior for several reasons that have to do with my fears. Another facet that has pushed me to reanalyze my practice is exterior motives out of my control that have come to pressure me to dig within myself to reanalyze certain aspects of my identity. I have suffered from a lack of feeling worthy.

Having low self-worth is having a generally negative overall opinion of oneself, judging, or evaluating oneself critically, and placing a general negative value on oneself as a person. It seems that low self-worth extends from childhood experiences into adulthood and may manifest in different ways for people. 

Self-worth is related to self-value and often used interchangeably and can outline the same general concept. However the difference between the two is that while self-worth deals with your emotions, and feelings over your capacity to be treated with respect from others because you’re a good person, self-value is more behavioral, it indicates how you behave over the things that you value.

The Merriam-Websters does not draw a stark difference between self-esteem and self-worth. The definition offered by World Book Dictionary of self-esteem is “thinking well of oneself; self-respect.” It may seem confusing to anyone who isn’t familiar with any of these concepts but for individuals with a lot of information about these terms differences can be keenly perceived.

In psychology self-worth despite its lack of research in contrast to self-esteem and self-confidence, is not less important.

Self-worth is most commonly determined by several factors measured in this case, in five ways:

  1. Appearance—this can include the clothing you wear and how you look in-front of a mirror, or even the attention you receive from others.
  2. Net worth—this includes your wage, material possessions, financial assets, or all of the above.
  3. Social circle—social standing and relationships with others is important to measure ones status
  4. Career—what you do for a living, how you earn money marks your value .
  5. What you achieve—success in business, scores on the SATs, or placement in a marathon or other athletic challenge.

Healthy self-worth patterns examine varying levels of abilities and talents. Individuals that acknowledge and understand that what they do is not who they are, usually have a high opinion of their value as a person. 

One way to build self-worth can come at an early age or at any point in ones life. Encouraging yourself to value being instead of doing or bringing a sense of worth to who you are as oppose to acquiring value by what you do. Another way is to work on identifying, challenging, and externalizing your critical inner voice. Make sure to control you inner critic and find ways to cope with negative thoughts that only come to hinder your self-worth and relationships with others. Learning to love yourself is very important, it indicates that you can build stable relationships. 

You can measure your self-worth comparing to seven domains:

  1. Approval from others (i.e., I don’t care if other people have a negative opinion of me);
  2. Physical appearance (i.e., my self-esteem is influence by how attractive I think my face or facial features are);
  3. Outdoing others in competition( i.e., my self-worth, is affected by how well I do when I am competing with others);
  4. Academic competence ( i.e., I feel bad about myself whenever my academic performance is lacking);
  5. Family love and support ( i.e., my self-worth is not influenced by the quality of my relationships with my family members);
  6. Being a virtuous or moral person (i.e., my self-esteem depends on whether or not I follow my moral/ethical principles);
  7. God’s love (i.e., my self-esteem would suffer if I didn’t have God’s love).

Citations

Counseling center. University of North Carolina Wilmington. (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://uncw.edu/counseling/selfworth.html. 

Seladi-Schulman, J. (2021, April 15). What is self-worth and how do we increase it? (incl. 4 worksheets). PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved October 2, 2021, from https://positivepsychology.com/self-worth/.Â

The importance of self-worth. PsychAlive. (2020, December 29). Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.psychalive.org/self-worth/.