When was the last time when you decided to change something about your behavior and a few minutes/ hours/ days later you gave up on that idea? Why do we struggle in changing ourselves? Even after knowing that a certain habit or behavior is not helpful, why we helplessly stick to it? At some time or another, all of us must have tried to inherit some new habits or decided to behave differently than usual and have failed. That’s common and quite normal with we humans. But the question is, why can’t we start exercising, even after watching Bani J’s Instagram work out stories daily and promising ourselves that no matter what, we are going to get those chiseled abs. The answer is, that the way our minds work, our thinking patterns make the process of changing ourselves not only difficult but also complicated. To understand it better, let’s try to dig deeper…
Self Awareness Well
“Self Awareness”, this is the most common term used by self-help gurus and motivational speakers nowadays. We all must have heard people telling us “Be aware of your thoughts”; “Be aware of your actions”; “Enhance your self-awareness” etc etc. I would try to explain Self Awareness below:
Self awareness can be considered as digging a three layered well. The top most layer of this well is “Understanding your emotions”, the second layer is “Questioning your emotions/feelings” and the third and the deepest layer of the Well is our “Values/ beliefs”.
- Layer 1: Awareness of our emotions: This is the first and the most basic level of self-awareness. It includes a simple understanding of one’s emotions. “This is when I feel happy.” When I talk to him, I feel sad”; “I feel hopeful when I do this” etc. This understanding of emotions is immensely important because it is impossible to bring any change in your behavior without understanding the patterns of one’s emotions. Research says that it may take months or even years for one to understand the basic patterns of their emotions.
- Layer 2: Questioning your emotions: Once we start to understand our emotional patterns, now comes the turn to question yourself “Why do I feel sad when I talk to him?”; “Why do I feel happy when I do this?”; “Why do I consider myself a failure?”; “Why do I ignore my wife?”; “Why does it bother me, when he avoids my calls?”; “Why do I hate him?”; “Why don’t I feel like going to gym?” on and on…. The confrontation of this honest questioning is extremely important and difficult. This is the level of self awareness where we start to understand the “root cause” of our emotions, which takes us to the next layer of the Self Awareness Well.
- Layer 3: Understanding and questioning your values/beliefs: This is the deepest and the toughest level to dig from the Self Awareness Well. But it is immensely important to dig it, as once you dig it deep enough, it makes you reach the pure earthy water, which can quench all your years of thirst. This level includes asking yourself the toughest questions “What is my definition of Success?”; “What do I consider as Failure?”; “Why do I follow my religion or why don’t I follow any religion?”; “What is my definition of a good human being?”; “How do I define a healthy relationship?”; “Why do I always compare my achievements with others?” “Why do I want to be rich?”; “How do I define fame?”. This questioning is full of tears and frustrations. Questioning your beliefs is like questioning your own existence because we are a mere combination of our beliefs and experiences and asking yourself to change your values/beliefs is like asking you to cut your arm and leave the wound open until you die bleeding. However, constant questioning and evaluation of one’s beliefs is the most important thing to do in one’s life as all our thoughts, feelings, emotions arise from one single source “OUR BELIEFS”.
Our beliefs are the driving force behind everything we think, feel or do in our lives. If our beliefs are unhelpful, then those will lead to unhelpful thoughts and actions. If you have a poorly chosen definition of Success, then no matter how successful you become in your vision, you will never be able to feel how True Success feels like. So it leads us to the following conclusions:
Poor Awareness > Poor Beliefs/Values > Poor Choices > Poor Life
Better Awareness > Better Beliefs/Values > Better Choices > Better Life
Changing our habits and behavior is difficult and complicated because it is a long journey that includes consistent questioning of your beliefs and thinking patterns. It includes replacing your outdated, unhelpful belief systems with helpful ones. But it is a journey worth experiencing because it leads you to be a better being. It helps you to make better, rational life decisions that lead to a better, happier life.
Thinker | Meditator | Life Enthusiast