Why it’s important to be self-aware
Have you ever had that feeling that a friend, family member, acquaintance or colleague has a grievance against you? Rather than confronting you in a calm and rational manner to resolve the issue they choose to talk to other people about the disagreement, often inventing events to suit their position.
Communication is key in establishing healthy relationships, platonic or otherwise. It’s odd then that so many of us are terrible at conveying our feelings to someone whom we might have an issue with.
I spend little time fretting over what other people say about me when I’m not there to defend myself. However, I’m not going to say that there isn’t a part of me that is a little bothered that so many of us are incapable of resolving differences.
When I was 23 perhaps I was more interested in playing games and being spiteful, but at 33 I’ve grown into what I believe to be a capable and responsible adult who establishes healthy and progressive relationships.
Disagreements are a part of life and they’re going to happen. It’s how we cope with them that determines the strength of our character.
As I get older I’m realizing how little self-awareness other people have. If we can’t be introspective and be honest about our flaws how can we have compassion and empathy for each other? I can’t imagine going about my day negatively impacting people’s live and not feel at least a tinge of guilt about it. By confronting our inadequacies we can work at improving them, and by doing so we strengthen our relationships with the people we interact with on a daily basis.
I’m not trying to say that I’m a terribly self-aware person myself. I think I’m better at it then most people, and I take a moment each day to reflect on what I could do to improve tomorrow.
I’ve told this story before but I will tell it again for those who haven’t heard it. Elementary school for a gay kid was pretty rough and I was mercilessly bullied. There were days when I feared going to school. By grade eight I was an outcast and often ate my lunches alone. According to my classmates I was androgynous, sexless, an “it”.
One day a new student arrived and we became bosom buddies, but predictably my classmates decided to make him their new target. Somehow I reasoned that if I joined them, I had a chance at climbing the social ladder, and so one day one of the bullies influenced me into putting a “reject” sign on the new kid’s back. I was so desperate to be accepted by these jerks that I did it, and my new friend was so embarrassed that he didn’t return to school for a whole week.
Understandably he never spoke to me again, and I have lived with the shame of that incident my whole life. It did nothing to improve my rank in the social order, and I went back to being a “faggot” soon after. I’m not proud of what I did, and I never even apologized to him, that’s how much of a coward I was at the time. But what it did teach me is that treating him the way that I did only made me feel worse. No matter how much I was bullied, I always felt better being nice.
Most people would simply continue fighting mean-spirited people by being mean-spirited themselves. But those people often lack the skills to be leaders in their own lives, and are worthy of as much compassion as the rest of us, even though they often take kindness for granted.
A self-aware person will always look at a conflict and think about how they could have improved the outcome. That’s testament to a well-adjusted person, but some can argue the opposite.
What the hell am I talking about? I hope you got something out of this stream-of-consciousness.