Healthy Living: Raise Your Self Awareness One Step at a Time...

Janette Vooren

Self Awareness is the key to 'managing' you reaction to change, and is, as such, the basis of your emotional intelligence.

According to Philippe Rochat, professor of Psychology at Emery University in Atlanta (USA), there are different levels of self-consciousness unfolding in your early childhood and beyond:

Level 0: Confusion. At this level the person is very self-conscious. There is no sense of self-reflection, and the individual fears to mirror him/herself. For example, the wish of any adolescent is to fit in with the rest of his/her friends at school.

Level 1: Differentiation. The individual realizes that the perception of self differs  from the image that others have of them. That is  a shocking thought and the individual wonders which one is true. Example: A young girl finds herself grossly overweight, yet her family finds her anorexic.

Level 2: Situational. The individual establishes a link between the two personages, and starts to correct the least favorable one. Example: a person thought of as 'loud' and 'overbearing' by his environment has noticed that by altering his/her behaviour he/she meets up with less resistance.

Level 3: Identification. The individual now acknowledges that the 'changed' person is just as much a person as the 'old' one. Both personages have emerged into one, better than before. Example: A senior, wishing to be seen by others as "young and energetic", accepts that it is OK to be an elderly person with wrinkles, somewhat stiff and bent over with silver hair. That self-recognition is the basis of the full acceptance of 'self'.

Level 4: Permanence. When an individual reaches this level, they have fully accepted themselves as they are. They are even able to look at themselves in old pictures when they were young and handsome without remorse and sorrow.

Level 5: "Meta" self-awareness. At this level the individual sees himself almost through the eyes of others. The spiritual soul is connecting without reservation or prejudice. Example: Some grandparents are loved and appreciated by their grandchildren for that reason. The children feel understood by the other, older generation, who realizes that little has changed in today's world, but it is just packaged differently. It is an example of ultimate mastery over him/herself, just before the gate of a possible other existence.

The question I ask myself, and perhaps you do too, is: at what level do I place myself? And when will I migrate to the next?

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