We tend to focus most on our strengths and things within our awareness. Whatever is the most developed part of ourselves tends to lead our experience through life. E.g. Someone who has a rational, intellectual view of situations will tend to be rewarded for this awareness, because it worked for them, and do it more in the future. This just reinforces that trait and tends to weaken other ones that we may pass over from lack of use. Over time, this helps us to build a toolkit of traits that we identify as “us” but not necessarily all that is open to us.
The same can be said for our weaknesses. We may know that we do this or that, but if we do not take the time to look into it further, they will keep doing their things below the surface. This is because we are still relying on the objects in our awareness of ourselves and the world as we know it and not the bigger picture of what our and the greater reality is. In short, what we don’t know about ourselves controls us.
It takes a fairly insightful person to stop and wonder what they might be missing or not understanding. The question is then, how do we become aware of the things we are not aware of? There are many ways to increase awareness, but here are a few thoughts:
- See what others keep telling you about yourself or complain about you.
- How others experience us is also not the whole picture, but it is often a perspective we had not considered.
- See what upsets or emotionally triggers you.
- If you don’t know why you are emotionally reacting in a certain way, there is most likely a story under the surface that you have not delved deep enough into yet. Even if you think you know why you feel or react in a certain way, there probably are aspects of it that you can unravel more fully.
- See where you are having problems in your life or what roadblocks seem to keep appearing in front of you.
- The patterns of conflict and struggle in our lives tend to follow a certain pattern. See if you can tease out what that pattern is and try something different.
- Find a practice to inquire into your thoughts. Through continued practice, this is a well-established way to peel away at your layers of self-identification, like an onion.
- Question everything.
- Don’t take this to the level of neuroticism or paranoia, but don’t take it for granted that what you believe, what you trust is happening, what is “true”, etc is necessarily the case. Ask questions to yourself and others to see if there are other perspectives that you have not considered.
Again, this is not a definitive list, but merely a few ideas to consider. A good exercise would be to ask yourself in what ways you could delve a little deeper into yourself. You and those in your world will be happier for it. Let me know what you come up with!