The Art of Meaningful Living – 6 : Building awareness

Person and personasAbraham Maslow once said that what is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.

What does this awareness exactly mean?

Look at the figure above: There is the person and there are personas. The person is the real you, with all your hopes, fears, dreams, worries. The persona is the version of our person we show to others, sometimes even those close to us. They are like masks. We may show a mask to our wife, a different one to our mother, a different one at work and different one to a friend. They protect us from showing our real person in a particular situation and sometimes obscure the real person from ourselves and others. We sometimes develop these personas intentionally and sometimes unconsciously. And often this lack of awareness of the real person beneath the personas we project is the reason our life seems meaningless.

How to develop awareness of the real person you are?

  • Listen to your thoughts. Don’t try to stop them. Notice if any patterns arise. Notice any negative thoughts.
  • When you notice any negative self talk, new meaning with another thought. Think that the negative thought is just a thought you mind has created and has no intrinsic truth to it.
  • Think of all the positive things about yourself ( at least eight positive things for each negative thought) to counteract those negative thoughts.
  • As you keep doing that you will realise what patterns hold you back from a meaningful life. Once you become aware of that, you will be able to let go of them and move towards a more meaningful life.