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Change Your Life Through Self Awareness

Updated on April 20, 2011

The writer at seventy-three

So many of us are wanting to make the world a better place.   Our opinions tell us we need to make the world a better place.  But what are our opinions based on?
So many of us are wanting to make the world a better place. Our opinions tell us we need to make the world a better place. But what are our opinions based on?

Why is it most of us want to change the world?

Welcome to Change Your Life Through Self Awareness.

Why is it that most of us want to change the world? Or, rather, we want the world to change to suit us? We want it to be how we think it should be. Or, more accurately, how we would like it to be. But the fact of the matter is that things that we want to happen often don’t happen. Also, things that we don’t want to happen, do. The world is as it is. It won’t change just because we’d like it to. So if we want to rid ourselves of a lot of our angst, frustrations, fears, we need to accept this. We really cannot significantly change the world. So if this is the case, then surely the most sensible thing to do is to realize it. That’s a start.

So many of us spend our whole lives trying to change our world.

When I was a young man, an equally young man who was far wiser than me said, “Tom, we spend our whole lives trying to change our world “ (in this case I figure he meant our personal environment) “ when all we can really change is ourselves.”

To quote Margaret Mead: “A determined small group of people can change the world. Indeed it is the only way it has ever been changed.” I have no argument with that. I would go even further. A single person can make a great difference to the world; the writer of Uncle Tom’s Cabin way back in the early 19th Century, is now recognized as having contributed to the eventual abolishment of slavery in America. Her writings sparked national indignation which eventually resulted in a conflagration. Many people wanted change. Others did not. The result: The American Civil War.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

This is my home town.   Make the world a better place?   The designers and builders of this bridge were intent on doing just that.
This is my home town. Make the world a better place? The designers and builders of this bridge were intent on doing just that.

Change your life through self awareness.

Most writers are not as successful in influencing major events. How many books, how many poems, have been written because their author’s wanted to bring to the public-at-large the utter futility and uselessness of warfare. All Quiet on the Western Front, The Cruel Sea, and books of this ilk have not changed the aggressiveness of nations towards one another. Economics still takes precedence over human decency much of the time. This could make us despondent, angry or even bring upon us a burning resentment to the way the world is. But our feelings won’t change a thing, except perhaps our own mental and physical health – and probably for the worse.

Change the world by our own self change.

Changing ourselves is the answer. Only we can bring about the inner peace, the tranquility we all really want. By this I mean changing the way we interpret and perceive the world. We might say it’s a “horrid day. I hate this weather,’ because it happens to be cold, wet and windy. Or, “what a wonderful day; I like the cooler weather, the rain, and the wind really does take away the impurities in the air.” Both are subjective interpretations based on our preferences. The weather, of course, does not care a fig what we think. It is as it is.

Another view of the best city in the world.

Sydney is, in my biased opinion, the best city in the world.   Here's just a part of our magnificent harbour.
Sydney is, in my biased opinion, the best city in the world. Here's just a part of our magnificent harbour.

Nature does not care what we think about Her.

The world is neutral. Nature is neutral. But we will get to ‘changing ourselves’ later in this hub. Before we do this, let us examine a few situations which only make us unhappy and don’t move our environment towards the way we’d like it to be. Grumbling to ourselves is one. Winging to our partners is another. And complaining to strangers at the bus stop about the bus running late, is another. Criticizing the way the country is being run, whilst down at the pub having a drink with friends, is still another. All of this useless, negative thinking, silently or out loud, only makes us, and those around us, that more miserable. If we are going to complain then put it in writing and send it to someone who might actually do something about it! No point in just radiating negativity.

Change your life through self awareness.

Our everyday, habitual way of interpreting the unfolding of daily events can make us happy - or miserable. It really is our choice. But we need to know it is our choice. We need to be aware of it. In order to do this, we need to frequently and habitually monitor of our thoughts. We need the ability to sort of ‘stand aside’ and consider what we are thinking. This takes practice; a lot of practice. You could say that it’s a lifetime job. But you will become healthier, wealthier and wiser by doing so. Oh, and happier, too.

Parramatta's old gasworks bridge.

I live about ten minutes walk away.  The ease with which I can reach this river makes for me the world a better place.
I live about ten minutes walk away. The ease with which I can reach this river makes for me the world a better place.

The world is neutral. Change the world by our own self change.

It’s been said – and I believe it to be true – that if we “change our thinking we change our lives.” The emphasis placed by those who teach this philosophy is that by changing the way we think, we eventually change the outward conditions of our lives. But the first step is to change the internal conditions of our lives: our automatic thoughts, our habitual reactions, our interpretations of what we think is good and not good. And an even more basic step is to try to determine where our beliefs about what is good and not good came from. Do they make real sense? Are they now, today, helping or hindering us in our desire to be happier?

You know the old saying: “Would you rather be right, or be happy?” You'd  be surprised at how many say they’d like to be happier but actually choose the other option. Not because they want to, but because they cannot help themselves. Their ego responses rule them.


The ideas sink into your unsconscious to become a belief.

Do you know, for example, that if you have absolutely no knowledge and no particular opinion about a subject and somebody tells you about it, you are liable to accept that other person’s opinion. This is how we learn as children. The virgin, uncontamminated mind-soil accepts the seed. If you’re told by two or three people the same thing, and you happen to read a book that supports that opinion, before you know it it becomes part of you. You take ownership. The ideas sink into your unconscious as a belief. We then generally fortify that belief by reading newspaper editorials, journals, and books that support it. It becomes cemented in. If strong enough, you could say that the idea is ‘chiseled in granite’ in our minds. We usually deliberately avoid reading conflicting opinions.

Then along comes someone who debunks the whole philosophy we’ve taken for granted as true. And what do you think happens then!

I am right: You are wrong!


Auckland, New Zealand's Harbour Bridge.

In many ways Auckland is a miniature Sydney.  A great place to live.
In many ways Auckland is a miniature Sydney. A great place to live.

The world is neutral. Change your life through self awareness.

Of course, they’ve being doing the same thing as you: cementing a philosophy quite opposed to you own in their mind-brains. The result? Conflicting ideas. If these conflicting ideas are strong enough and verbalized an argument ensues. If they’re really strong, the argument could develop into a physical fight. And if the ideas are accepted widely, within a nation, as distinct from the ideas held by those of another nation, the result can even be merciliess and bloody warfare. Strange as it might seem, we are quite willing to kill people who upset our cherished beliefs. It’s been happening for thousands of years and still is.

And what are these beliefs? Why, simply nebulous thought-patterns in our minds.

Makes you think, doesn’t it. ....Well, I hope it does.


Submit a Comment
  • Tusitala Tom profile imageAUTHOR

    Tom Ware 

    5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Just read this through again after all these years and my opinion hasn't changed. Life is as we interpret it to be. Our interpretations are subjective and, knowing this, we are able to choose interpretations more conducive to our happiness.

  • peachpurple profile image


    6 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    true, you can change yourself by looking around the things and people around you

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    7 years ago from SW England

    Great philosophy, well presented. I find that I get irate sometimes about such things and I always feel the worse for it; sometimes it even affects my mood for the day. I'm an optimistic person, generally, and this soon takes over but constant exposure to negativity can wear you down.

    You have an optimistic style even when writing about serious subjects; it informs and advises, gives food for thought without being depressing or judgemental. In fact, I see a similarity of message and style between you and billybuc, both of you being exemplary writers.

    Self-awareness is not easy but it's essential for oneself and for others if we want to live well together. Great piece! Ann

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    10 years ago from North Carolina

    Beautifully written. Continue to spread 'the word'-it counts. Self awareness is the key. Focusing on the present and watching the ego take its spin are important steps in understanding and changing long ingrained habits. But, the strength of the change comes from within-from the source that is beyond the ego.

    Marvelous message Tom.

  • Tusitala Tom profile imageAUTHOR

    Tom Ware 

    10 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    You're right, of course, Yvonne. It is a mighty power we all have. Most do not realize it. I'm pleased to see (from a glance at your website) you're endeavouring to bring this home to women in general. You'e probably studied Louise L. Hay's books. I'm reading one now for the 3rd time: The Power is Within You. Great stuff.

    Thanks for the comments.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Ghandhi got it right!

    As you stated, we only have the power to change ourselves but that is a mighty power too few tap in to. Our ability to choose our thoughts and behaviours are the very things that can change our world for the better; we just need to acknowledge that and then take action...

    Thanks for this hub, reality checks on my own thoughts and behaviours are an ongoing requirement!

  • Tusitala Tom profile imageAUTHOR

    Tom Ware 

    10 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Thank you, Paradise7. It's always gratifying to receive such warm praise. If only we could fully practice that which we endeavour to teach, eh? Still, I'm working on it.

  • Paradise7 profile image


    10 years ago from Upstate New York

    Excellent, well-written, your philosophy of life makes more and more sense with every one of your hubs that I read.


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