Self Awareness and Opposition Thinking
The first phrase that comes to mind when anyone talks of constant self awareness of your thoughts is “Easier said than done.” Self awareness is a popular term these days with motivation gurus, spiritual gurus and psychologists who recommend it as the foremost thing to do in order to achieve any kind of improvement in one’s self or in any area of one’s life like finances, relationships or career.
So, what exactly is self awareness?
Simply put, it means keeping a part of your mind allocated with the task of observing your mind and thoughts all the time. The important phrase that merits repetition here is “all the time.” Try doing this for a day to start with and it could be more interesting than any book you’ve ever read or any movie you’ve ever watched.
Awareness of how your mind works and perceives situations and people around you helps you read your story like never before and understand every aspect of your life with a refreshing amount of clarity.
The entire experience can be very uplifting as well as very liberating because you realize how much control you actually possess in shaping each aspect of your life because the most important things in the world are not out there; they’re actually in here.
Perception – the lens we wear
Self awareness helps us understand the lens we wear to see things, people and situations around us and everything gets colored according to the color of our lens. It is for this simple reason that one person is perceived differently by different people.
Some people like that person, some people hate that person, some people simply dismiss that person while some people enjoy that person. The person is the same but each one sees him through a unique lens. This practice immediately shifts our focus away from the external world and takes it to our internal world.
Sunita was a typical Indian homemaker whose world revolved around her 25-year old son. Trouble happened when her son told her about his wish to get married to a girl he had fallen in love with. One of Sunita’s sisters had experienced a bad relationship with her daughter-in-law which had resulted in her son and daughter-in-law moving away from her sister’s house.
This had left an imprint on Sunita’s mind and she felt wary of her daughter-in-law from the day she stepped into her house after marriage.
Though her daughter-in-law was sweet and co-operative, Sunita would often insult her and scream at her for petty reasons to feel in-control and safe about her position in her son’s life. As expected, the relationship soon became intolerable for the poor daughter-in-law and the newlyweds had to move away from Sunita to live with dignity.
Had Sunita been aware of how her mind was working and how fear of what had happened to another was causing her to behave negatively with a person she perceived as a threat, she could have seen logic and lived happily with her son and daughter-in-law as she so desperately wanted. But as is the case with most of us, she was sleep-walking through life.
In Indian mythology, Ramayana and Mahabharata are considered to be two of the greatest epics ever written and both of them use the instrument of a righteous war to drive home their moral narrative. The war symbolizes the conflict between positive and negative thoughts that goes on in every person’s mind.
When one is aware, one immediately realizes the presence of a negative thought in one’s mind. Simply being aware and letting the thought prick you like a needle can be painful so one needs to follow a technique to gently but firmly replace the negative thought with a pleasant and positive one.
This technique is called “Opposition Thinking” and it is one of the most beneficial life skills to possess. As the name suggests, you need to oppose the negative thought with a positive one or several positive ones, if possible.
In order for this technique to work for you, the positive thought needs to be genuine and not make-believe otherwise your mind will simply not buy it and stick with the negative thought instead because that would seem more real.
When used as a combination, Self Awareness and Opposition thinking can help you lead your life in a pleasant, happy and powerful way that starts a virtuous cycle in your life because when we are feeling balanced and positive, we make good decisions that shape our world to create respectful and happy relationships along with well-planned finances and spending habits.
Similarly, when we feel negative, stressed or worthless in our mind, we create a vicious cycle that reflects itself as problems in the different aspects of our life.
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