The Importance of Awareness

AWARENESS is a word mentioned often, but is not practiced as frequently as it could be. Webster’s dictionary states the definition as “knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.” As controversial as the Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, was, credit needs to be given for introducing awareness as a topic of discussion. In the NETFLIX documentary, “HEAL,” Dr. Deepak Chopra states that the word “mindfulness” is really just another word used today for awareness.

In our chaotic and frenetic environment today, it has become increasingly challenging to be constantly aware of one’s thoughts and actions.

We are all frantically trying to meet deadlines, arrive on time to work, school or an appointment, complete household tasks, pay bills and finish that three month old “to do” list while attempting to practice some form of self-care so that burnout is avoided. 

Whether in a crowded area like an airport, parking lot, elevator or sports arena, awareness of our actions is necessary and something we are all capable of doing. At one time or another, we have all been stuck in the line at the post office, or grocery store, where that one inconsiderate individual is unaware that they are invading others space by talking loudly on their phone for all to hear. Or, the driver who is checking their text messages at a red light and moves forward just as the green light turns yellow again, which prevents the cars behind him or her from moving forward. We are all guilty of these scenarios. 

So what are some things to do in order to practice awareness?

OBSERVE, PAUSE and LISTEN.

Every time we leave our home, we are in a public environment so by observing the people around us, we are acknowledging everyone is in the same space. Although it is easy to speak freely on a subject, or about another person, pause and think before you do this so there is no regret involved later. And finally, listen. Hear what is being communicated. Awareness is the foundation of all three of these actions.

An ongoing effort made to be kindly aware of what is said and done is mutually beneficial for everyone. By acknowledging this, a strong sense of awareness has been created. Making it a goal to practice this on a daily basis illustrates a very cathartic exercise that is also very rewarding.

Melinda Barefoot

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