Knowing yourself is one thing, and that in itself is hard. But knowing how you affect everything around you is quite another, and harder yet.
Self-awareness is a conscious knowledge of your own character, feelings and motives.
System-awareness is a conscious knowledge of the collective character, feelings and motives of an external relationship or group.
Understanding either is wonderfully eye-opening, understanding both is life changing.
Being self-aware is one of life’s greatest advantages, it allows us to be gentler on ourselves. Self-awareness means we exercise acceptance, attentiveness and a consciousness that comes with introspection. It means we expand our capacity for clearer thinking, better decision making, and the opportunity to know ourselves better. Self-awareness can be practiced through exercises of reflection, meditation, and empathy. Indeed – one of the primary goals of Seven Minutes is to encourage you to reserve a specific amount of time for self-awareness.
Once we have a strong hold on awareness of ourselves, we can begin to apply that same understanding to the groups of people we interact with every day, thereby achieving system-awareness.
System-awareness is having increased perspective on the dynamics of a group, and how we each play a role in it. System awareness can be achieved by practicing relatedness and non-judgement. It prizes connection over individuality, recognizing the strength in numbers to promote positivity and effect change.
For Seven Minutes this week, let’s shift the focus from ourselves to the systems in which we participate in. Identify one—which can be, in order of increasing size—a friendship, a family, an office, a neighborhood or a society. Think about how the dynamics of the group could improve with an increase of your self-awareness. Avoid pointing to a perceived lack of self-awareness in others, just focus on your personal contribution to the dynamic: Could there be less judgement as a result of your increased empathy? Greater interconnectedness through your personal commitment to prioritize the group over self? Increased group satisfaction through your personal growth?
It’s an awesome challenge, and one that we think is worth examining in today’s evolving interdependent world. We all hold a great power to impact ourselves and others, and we have a responsibility to be our best with both.