Have you ever met a person who just seems to have no self-awareness? Of course, there are the obvious indications of behaviors that lack self-awareness, such as arrogance, obnoxiousness, and hypocrisy; but today, we’re going to look at three subtle forms of lacking self-awareness and how they may apply to anyone (including myself):
1. TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF TOO MUCH
I grew up as a performer. I’ve been acting, singing, dancing and playing the piano since I was in Kindergarten. Not that I was ever famous, but I’ve had my share of strangers coming up to me after performances to chat. I remember this one time where two ladies came up to me after I performed a song I wrote for a women’s event. They were very generous with their compliments and asked me questions about my musical training and some general questions about my life. I walked away from that conversation feeling great… until that evening. I thought to myself, “I don’t know anything about those two wonderful ladies that I talked to today.” I realized that I missed a great opportunity to know about their lives and a chance to learn from them (we can learn something from everyone we meet). So, now I have a rule that I follow: When people ask me questions about myself (especially people that I meet for the first time), I make it a point to ask them questions as well. I also make sure that I end my responses within 3 minutes. Lastly, if I notice that the only voice I’ve been hearing for the past 5 minutes is my own, it’s time to wrap it up and ask others some questions about them.
“Proud fools talk too much…”
2. NOT KNOWING THE RIGHT TIME OR THE PLACE
Oh boy. This sums up my adolescent years. I used to throw out my opinions to anyone and everyone, whether or not they asked for it. I once talked about a cute boy at a memorial. I wanted to hang out with my crush during lunch at school instead of being there for my friend whose dad was hospitalized. (My excuse was that she said she wanted to be alone, even though I knew she didn’t really want to be alone.) I would bring up an inside joke to my friend, knowing well that the girl standing right by her was already feeling left out. I was very immature as a young teen. As I became a young adult (age 19 or 20), I was confronted (in a very loving way) by some great friends about my behavior and how it affected people. When I stepped back and imagined watching myself acting this way, I was mortified! I realized that what I did and said — good or bad — had a lasting affect on people. From that point on, I decided that I was going to err on the side of consideration and not assume that “it’s no big deal.”
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”
3. ENGAGING IN NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
This one may seem odd to be considered not having self-awareness; but when we engage in negative self-talk, we’re no longer aware of the truth about who we are.
The other day, I was struggling with feeling like I’m worth anybody’s friendship. Having had a Birthday recently, I’ve received countless birthday wishes on social media, numerous text messages, a few Birthday voice messages (including an annual birthday song by one of my dear friends, musician Marcus A. Johnson), and even friends who insisted on taking me out to lunch. As the day approached for my lunch dates with my friends, I started to wonder why they’re friends with me. I thought to myself, “What do I really bring to the friendship? They are such loving people who care about everyone. That’s probably why they consider me their friend.” This thought began a downward spiral, down a rabbit hole of negative self-talk. About 5 minutes into it (a lot of thoughts can occur in 5 minutes), I took a step back and assessed myself. I became aware of who I am in Christ once again. According to John 1:12, I am a child of God. According to Romans 8:1, I am not condemned (therefore, I should not condemn myself). According to Ephesians 2:10, I am God’s handiwork, created in Jesus to do good. And according to1 Thessalonians 1:4, I am loved by God and have been chosen by Him.
Self-awareness isn’t just nurturing to our souls; it’s essential for our spiritual survival. Without being aware of who we are in Christ, we can not be aware of our true selves as children of God.
May we all walk in self-awareness on the road to our individual authenticity.
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