Matt's Musings

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5/20/20 Awareness is the First Step of all Change and Growth

I am hearing a lot of clients report they are noticing that they are getting irritated, angry, or shouting at their kids more. Some say they are biting their nails more or turning to alcohol more. When I hear this, I say "Good!" That usually gets their attention and stirs curiosity.

Then I go on to explain my belief that noticing these things is a good thing. When we have awareness about our thoughts, feelings and actions we then have a wonderful opportunity to choose something different. Maybe we choose to think about things differently (less extremely or pessimistically). Maybe we choose a different behavior (possibly a healthier one). Maybe we choose to communicate differently (possibly in a more respectful way).

I believe awareness is really the start of all change and growth. Without awareness, we are really unlikely to make changes in our life. I think this is at the heart of the counseling process. Therapy provides the dedicated time and structure to look at our lives strategically with awareness. Self-awareness is a powerful thing. It can provide an impetus to make changes to help us live more peaceful, joy-filled lives. Other-awareness, being able to pick up the cues other people are putting out so that we have a deeper understanding of what might be going on in their inner world can also lead to better relationships.

The next time you notice one of your thoughts, reactions or feelings, think "Good, now I have the power to make a choice about how I want to proceed!"


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