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The biggest obstacle to increasing your self awareness is the tendency to avoid the discomfort that comes from seeing yourself as you really are. Things you do not think about are off your radar for a reason : they can sting when they surface. Avoiding this pain creates problems, because it is merely a short term fix. You will never be able to manage your self effectively if you ignore what you need to do to change.

Rather than avoiding a feeling, your goal should be to move towards the emotion, into it , and eventually through it. This can be said for even mild emotional discomfort, such as boredom, confusion, or anticipation. When you ignore or minimise an emotion, no matter how small or significant, you miss the opportunity to do something productive with that feeling. Even worse, ignoring your feelings does not make them go away; it just helps them to surface again when you least expect them .

To be effective in life, we all need to discover our own arrogance – those things we do not bother to learn about and dismiss as unimportant. One person thinks apologies are for sissies, so she never learns to recognise when one is needed. Another person hates feeling down, so he constantly distracts himself with meaningless activity and never really feels content. Both people need to take the bold stem of leaning into the feelings that will motivate them to change. Otherwise, they will continue down and unproductive, unsatisfying path, repeating the same pattern over and over again. After the first few times you lean into your discomfort you will quickly find that the discomfort is not so bad, it does not ruin you, and it reaps rewards. The surprising thing about increasing yourself awareness is that just thinking about it will help you change, even though much of your focus will initially be on the things you do “wrong”. Don’t be afraid of your emotional “mistakes” . They tell you what you should be doing differently and provide the steady stream of information you need to understand yourself as life unfolds.

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