Can you embrace self-awareness while avoiding the extremes of becoming either overly self-conscious or totally self-consumed?
How do you respond to the term “self-awareness”? If you tend to be a reflective person it may have a positive ring. You may feel like you’re self aware already but hold tight and don’t tune out just yet.
If not, you may shy away from this term. It may bring up notions of someone who’s all self-consumed and self-centered with their “head in the clouds” as the saying goes. Or conversely, it might bring up the other extreme of someone who’s extremely self-conscious, who needs to either loosen up and chill or perhaps “suck it up” and get over themself is more like it. And who’d want to fall into any of these categories!?
Self-awareness is often advised as a method for becoming one’s authentic self. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? But as with many things, you might wanna take a look under the hood.
One other thing - as a committed follower of Jesus Christ, I want to make sure to avoid any new age-y or humanistic influences in my own life and in what I teach and promote. If you’re on the same wavelength then you may be interested to know that self-awareness on its own can be dangerous, even leading toward anxiety disorders and suicidal thoughts. Of course hiding our heads in the sand isn’t a good long-term option either. But remember . . .
There has to be a counter-balance of hope
whenever one is focused on their own condition.
There has to be a counter-balance of hope whenever one is focused on their own condition. Otherwise it can be disastrous. However, self-acceptance and self-discipline can come alongside self-awareness as good friends who balance each other out.
But let’s back up a moment...
...Let’s ask another question:
What’s the purpose of self-awareness?
What’s the benefit (or the result that’s promoted by someone pushing self-awareness)? If it’s some sort of self-actualization or self-enlightenment . . . I’d say that’s a red flag. If it’s to serve better, to communicate more effectively, to connect with God and others . . . or other positive purpose that isn’t in conflict with God’s Word then keep your armor on and proceed with caution and discernment.
For a balanced approach to self-awareness here’s what I’ve found. First, it’s okay and good to step back and have some self-discovery and self-assessment but it should be made prayerfully and consideration of others
Important cautions: Don’t leave God out. And don’t get stuck in self-absorption. Avoid sliding into self-idolatry. Yes, I said it! Because that’s exactly what humanism is, idolatry.
Side note: I don’t manifest. I don’t create my own reality. I don’t heal myself. I am not God.
A lot of the New Age dogma is couched in words and phrases that, like “self-awareness”, sound very positive and harmless. So it’s key to discern the deeper meaning when discussing or consuming advice on any of these topics. What spin or alternative meaning is being promoted?
Remember, God’s Word found in the Holy Bible is the standard by which to measure and test any other message.
Know what your creator says about you. Know your tendencies, talents & strengths and your own personal vulnerabilities to temptation. Know your needs and resources, and your aspirations.
The Bible teaches that:
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
So make your plans prayerfully and hold them loosely. With the Lord as your GPS you may end up on an alternate, better route!
Know that you are (1) made in God’s image; (2) separated from God by your sinful state - inherited from Adam and Eve and through your own willful choices; (3) so valuable even as his enemy that God sent his son Jesus to earth, who willingly died in your place to pay the price to redeem you and give you the opportunity to live forever forgiven with God.
How do you develop balanced self-awareness? Biblical self-awareness?
Most of what you need to know about yourself and others can be found in prayer and Bible study and through conversation with others who are seeking to know God and worship him in spirit and in truth. Keep God’s Word first and other avenues of self-awareness secondary. There are Bible teachers, mentors who can help uncover - not some buried spiritual consciousness - to uncover truths of God’s Word which can shine a light on the deceptions that permeate our world and culture, and uncover exactly who you are from the perspective of your loving Creator.
God, your creator is your foremost source of self-awareness.
Balance efforts toward self-awareness with positive purpose and awareness/consideration of others.
Be on guard against New Age and humanistic (or other anti-Biblical) teachings and influences.
Use prayer and God’s Word as given to us in the Bible as your standard for measuring any self-awareness efforts or teachings.
Make your plans with flexibility to go a different way as God guides.
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