• Patrick McAndrew

Beware of Not Being Aware!

Self-awareness is a very real thing and a very real thing that seems to be lacking a lot in today’s society.  I’m a pretty positive person, so perhaps it is my own lack of self-awareness that I am writing about a bleaker topic but bear with me as we dissect this thing together.

I’m often amazed that many of us do not realize how we come off.  I’ve heard many stories (as I’m sure you have too) about the micromanaging boss, the awful, selfish boyfriend, the conceited and self-centered friend, or the dull and boring co-worker.  We all have our own, personal interpretations of each other.  When one person might seem cool and chill to another person that same person may seem a little on-edge and paranoid to someone else.  But it’s when we start noticing similarity in opinion among others that we have to start acknowledging the influence we have on other people.

I’m not saying we should care what other people think about us.  “You be you,” as they say.  There will be people who love you while there will be others who don’t.  With this said, we do need to be mindful of rubbing people the wrong way (Side note: “rubbing people the wrong way” is an interesting phrase we use, isn’t it?  As if there is a right way to rub people? Anyways…)

Many of us do not think twice when it comes to how we make people feel, when it is this very element that is of the utmost importance when it comes to our personal and professional lives.  Keith Ferrazzi wrote an amazing book called, Never Eat Alone, which is all about cultivating and establishing relationships with our fellow human beings.  This is the main ingredient for a happy and successful life: our relationships with one another.

So why the lack of self-awareness?  It’s because we are too preoccupied with our own agenda.  The micro-manager is so caught up in what needs to get done that they don’t realize the negative influence she or he is having on their employees.  Their effort to manage is backfiring.  This is the same for those supervisors or bosses who are controlling.  They seemingly have no concept of the effect they are having on their staff.  And then there are those people and friends who always make excuses and have a very difficult time admitting when they are wrong.  It’s easier to point the finger at someone else, but they don’t realize the damaging effect of that finger point.

In the acting world, these underlying feelings can be call “sub-text.”  A character may say one thing, but they really mean something else.  This happens in the real world all the time and many of us have such a hard time picking up on “sub-text.”  This is a skillset that we need to take the time to cultivate and nourish.  Despite this, it often gets overlooked.

If we take the time to practice self-awareness, our relationships, our companies, our jobs, our environment, will be exponentially more enjoyable.  The difficult part is getting buy-in from everybody.  It’s amazing how one negative person can create a toxic environment for several others.  However, if we practice self-awareness and become really good at seeing how we influence others, whether positively or negatively, we will be able to correct course and aim towards more efficient tactics for dealing with people.  No one is perfect and we all make mistakes constantly.  It would be weird if that wasn’t the case.  If we strive to improve the way we treat people and improve our tactics in dealing with people, we can create a much more cohesive and positive community that we all want to be a part of.

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