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Becoming Self Aware
When did you first become self-aware?
It's a bold question to ask because there are different personal definitions of self-awareness that people use to govern their own minds. It could be the first time you realized you are you, that you are a physical person and that you are connected to other people through blood, school, employment, and other ties. It could be the first time you felt significant pain, and you realized the world is a serious place with serious ramifications. It could be when you had a spiritual awakening, choosing to believe in something or to not believe in something, because it feels right to you. Or it could be the first time you truly understood yourself.
Let me tell you about my awakening and my first moment of true self-awareness. I was 13 years old, and I realized my family is borderline insane. I had never had this thought growing up because they were all I knew and I had no frame of reference. Growing up in a very religious family meant being isolated from the world as a whole. It meant not taking part in any activities that weren't either directly involving the family or the religious community. It involved actively shunning people and making friendships because they weren't part of the community. Because of this, there was never a feeling of "this family is wrong/weird/broken", but there were significant negative feelings about the lifestyle regardless.
I woke up one morning, expected to get up and get dressed in a thick suit in the middle of the summer heat and to preach to the locals about what 'we' believed, and I had my awakening. I realized I didn't believe in a word of what my entire family believes, and that it doesn't make sense in any way, shape, or form to me. Then I was immediately filled with horror, realizing I would have to confront my family to state this, and that I didn't wish to do these things anymore. It took many years to build up to doing it, but once I did, then I was free to live my life and become my own person.
I was able to shape my own thoughts, my own conceptions about things happening around me, and I knew how I wanted to live. So for me, my awakening and first moment of self-awareness were based around religion, but it was the first time I truly felt that I knew myself and that I knew what I was about. This has become a powerful revelation to me because I can actively think beyond impulse reactions to things, and forge my own direction forward. Self-awareness is incredibly lacking in a lot of people today, and I believe it comes from complacency and a lack of things to focus on. In a time where all information is accessible at our fingertips, people are becoming more and more isolated and forming their own echo chambers so they don't have to force themselves to think new things. Self-awareness is happening much later in life for some, and it's evident in how stuck in their ways some people are.
Our mind is the most powerful thing we will ever come across. It governs our daily actions, our impulse thoughts, but also our ability to deconstruct things and reshape them the way we wish to perceive them. Sharpen your mind, broaden your horizons, and expand your knowledge, by being self-aware in every moment. You'll benefit in ways you never thought you would.