Who Do You See?
What is an expert? Are you an expert on anything? I stated in my introduction to this blog that I am an expert on myself. I believe that. Recently I read an article that was discussing self-awareness. Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist, and the author of the new book, Insight, a book that looks at her research on self-awareness, said in the article that her research showed that 95 percent of people believe they are self-aware, but that the real figure was probably closer to 10-15 percent. I have not read this book, just the article, but I plan to take a closer look at this. From my own personal observation I would agree that this is probably a pretty accurate conclusion. Most people really don’t know themselves.
According to Eurich, there are different types of self-awareness. She identified two separate awarenesses, external and internal. I have almost always had a keen awareness of my emotions and I was highly critical of my thoughts and actions but I was always surprised by the feedback I got from others about myself. I have always asked for feedback. Not many people do that, (well, they aren’t asking for mine anyway). I mean, it wasn’t like I went around asking, “Am I nice? Do I seem genuine?” But I did ask my therapists and I ask my husband and friends. I have asked my employers as well. I got positive feedback for the most part and I pretty much just dismissed it as the “niceness” of others or the lack of their ”true ability to judge” but I gobbled up the negative or constructive criticisms. When my paradigm shifted (I mean that literally), I began to accept the positives and negatives with a careful eye to the motivation and perspective of the other individual. I look at the feedback and I decide if it is useful to me and if it will be useful to others and then I adjust as I see fit.
If every individual born tried to become more self-aware I believe we would live in a happier, kinder place. I am wondering how I might help my own children become more self-aware. Is that something that only comes with life experience? Where do we learn that skill?
I think I can read others pretty well too. I listen carefully to what people say and I think about how their words and actions relate. Often I have found that I can see through the “stories” that they veil themselves in to keep themselves “safe” from the world. One guy in particular comes to mind. I don’t know him well but have observed him for awhile. At his core I think this is a bright, sensitive person, but through his actions he has himself and many others convinced that he is a curmudgeon. I watch how he interacts with people and how they in turn interact with him. I believe he has done this to protect that lovely, soft spirit from a world that was too thorny for him. What a delight it would be for everyone if he could know himself, and allow himself to be what he really is.
So, I ordered that book and I plan to critique it here. I will even admit if by Eurich’s standards I am lacking in my own ability to read myself. I would love to know what story you may have been telling yourself and others. What cloak do you, (or did you) wear, and how does it serve you?