How To Be Aware: 8 Tips
I Rescued a Car From a Shopping Cart
First, I would like to say that the reason I was inspired to write this article on awareness was because I had to rescue some cars from a shopping cart - all because a guy (who needs to learn how to be aware) let his cart go without looking back.
Short version: I was enjoying coffee with my husband outside at the local Italian shop. All of a sudden I saw a cart heading towards a ramp that pointed towards the parking lot. I sprang into action to get the cart, and noticed it was about to hit a car. I must have taken off very quickly because in an instant I was at the cart and grabbed onto it. Luckily it missed the car by about an inch, because I wouldn't have been able to stop it. But I did save cars parked on the other side of the lot from being hit. I brought it up, parked it against the wall, and went and sat back down with my heart pounding.
As a final note - one of the girls who works there came out and gave ME a dirty look because I had parked it against the wall (I had never been there before and didn't know the shopping carts went inside.)
This brought up many questions in my head - like why was I the one getting a dirty look. Was she not aware of what just happened? And what was she assuming in her head? So, I absolutely felt like an article about awareness was necessary for me to write.
What is Awareness
Depending on the topic, you will get many different answers for this. For the sake of this article, I want to talk about how to be more aware of other people and how your actions affect their lives. So that's what I will focus on when it comes to awareness.
I liken having awareness to not being in an ego-bubble. Meaning you see things outside of your own personal world.
I also think that being aware is different than being kind, although it is very close in nature. When you are aware, you do things because that is the kind of person you are and you understand that your life has a strong effect on the world around you. It's instinctual, it's natural, it is your essence to be aware. Being kind is when you do things from the goodness of your heart.
Why I Know The Shopping Cart Guy Was Not in a State of Awareness
Being aware is the ability to look outside yourself and see what it going on. You don't just think about yourself and what is happening to you, but you think about how your actions affect the people and world around you.
The guy with the shopping cart was obviously not aware of things around him. You may say "Well, maybe he was just having a bad day!", but I know that even on my worst day, I would still be aware of the people around me and how my actions affect them and their world. Therefore, I know that he is a man who walks a path for himself and possibly his family and friends, but the outside world does not enter his awareness unless it affects him personally.
How To More Aware: 8 Tips
Awareness is not something that most people seem to have naturally. I'm not sure whether it gets knocked out of us as more unaware people influence our lives, or if we are born partly selfish and out for ourselves. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I think my niece (who is 3 and who I love dearly) tends to do things for her own personal happiness and gain. She doesn't consider that her Nona has a bad hip or that her mess is going to have to be cleaned up by somebody.
I can't remember many kids in my junior high who did things in awareness. I personally did pretty much everything for my own ego and pleasure. But as life went on, and experiences were gathered, awareness develops.
10 Tips to Become More Aware
In any case, it doesn't matter if we are born with awareness or not, what matters is that we develop into people who can see outside our own ego-bubble.
1. Say Yes to Experiences
Have you seen that movie with Jim Carrey where he becomes the 'Yes Man'? He decides to say 'yes' to everything, and in doing so he finds love, happiness, and purpose. This is kinda of a great movie on how to be more aware.
The more you say yes and experience new things, the more you will learn about yourself and the world around you.
2. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
The only way to really say yes to experiences is to get out of your comfort zone. There is a certain fear that comes with new experiences. However, each time you step out of your comfort zone, your comfort zone will expand with you. It will become apparent how good you feel, and you will want to do it over and over again.
3. Practice Personal Development
When you focus on your own personal development, then you naturally gain insights into your happiness and passions. These insights cause you to become more aware about other people and their happiness. There is no way around it. If you practice personal development, then you will start to become more aware.
Personally, I try to do something every day towards my personal growth. I either read an article or a book on the subject that I am trying to improve on. Or I watch a show or movie. Or I talk to someone that already has the skills, talent, or know-how that I'm looking for.
4. Become More Flexible With Your Beliefs
When you believe THIS and will not budge on that belief, it is very hard to see things outside of your point of view.
- You may scoff at someone when they suggest something that goes against your belief.
- You may judge someone who seems to go against your belief and label them as WRONG.
- You may argue with someone who goes against your belief.
Think about this: All fights, wars, and ugly happenings are because of beliefs. They are because the mentality "I am right!" or "I believe I deserve this!" are forefront.
Beliefs are okay and they are a part of your life, but don't let them blind you from other possibilities that may enrich your life and the lives around you.
5. Acknowledge Things That Make You Uncomfortable
It is very easy to turn your head as you pass the guy sleeping on the street. It is also easy not to pay attention to the woman who is crying for help. These things may make you uncomfortable, but that doesn't make them any less real.
That said, I am not a fan of watching the news. This is not what I am talking about. The news is skewed to depress you and make you look at the ugly in the world (when there is so much beauty around you).
I am talking about acknowledging that there are other people around you who have issues, problems, concerns, and hardships. When you do this, you will gain compassion and understanding - and that will allow you to be more aware of how your actions could be affecting them.
6. Make Time For Others
Do you keep walking when someone tries to ask you a question? I see this all the time in grocery stores and department stores.
People talk to you for a reason. They have a purpose in communicating with you, and if you take the time to listen to them then you can understand that purpose and become more aware of how people think and what drives them to do what they do.
Try not to think about making time for others a waste of YOUR time. Try to think about it is a way to expand your awareness and, possibly, help out someone in the process.
7. Feel Good About Other People's Victories
This is parallel to noticing uncomfortable things around you, but it involves noticing the great things around.
I find that many people are more than happy to celebrate in their own victories, but ignore the victories of others.
I should say that I'm not talking about feeling good about someone's victory because it benefits you, like how you probably rooted for the people from your country during the Olympics. That is a good thing to do, but that is not what I mean.
I'm talking about feeling genuine happiness for someone who succeeds at something even though it doesn't benefit you. When you can feel good for someone else with no strings attached, then you know that your awareness is expanding.
8. Do Good Deeds!
This is something else that I try to do every day. With each good deed you do, from the kindness of your heart, you will become more aware about what makes you happy and how your actions have a direct result on other people and their day.
You will also notice a funny thing; many people will be angry that you are trying to do something for them or unappreciative about your kindness. This may cause you to be angry in the beginning and say things like, "Hey, I just did something great for you, you know. I didn't have to do that!" However, as time goes on, you will notice that you start to be kind despite how other people react because it makes you feel good, and is much better than not helping them out or, worse, adding to their misery.
This is when true awareness starts to settle in.