My friend’s recent life changing journey has made an impact on me.
While going through it with him, I learned a lot about him, and also about myself. One thing in particular, is around self awareness. I could not stop thinking about how we could become better at knowing who we are. (now imagine jackie chan screaming, “Who am I? Who am I!?” (helicopter panning the camera on top of him) #embracethecheesiness).
The idea of self awareness is simple. We all understand it. Know yourself, then embrace/accept yourself, then be yourself, and you are in the golden circle with Buddha, your life is forever securely anchored. You have arrived. 知己知彼，百戰不殆；不知彼而知己，一勝一負；不知彼不知己，每戰必敗。
Yet it’s just like everything else in life, or like everything they try to teach in all those self help books, it’s so easy to say, yet most of us couldn’t really figure it out. As a result, we buy more self help books and or watch a copious amount of TED Talks.
It’s like losing weight.
“Oh, how do you lose weight? Exercise and eat better! Bam!
Wait, fuck, why am I still not exercising? Why is it so hard?
Oh wait it is not hard.
Wait, it is.
Kill me now.”
What I have learned, is you have to apply Jedi mind tricks. Or in real world language, you have to learn how to manipulate your feelings and you have to trick others to do that onto you. Let me explain.
The overall concept is you have to constantly gather “data” on feelings about you. You can narrow this down to two specific data points: How do you feel (Step 1), and how do you make others feel (Step 2). How to #jedimindtrick and #MayaAngelou-Rize yourself?
Let’s go to Step 1, how do you feel.
Yes you can journal the crap out of life. Do that if that’s your thing. Good for you.
But if you aren’t a Dear Diary person, another simple alternative to work on this is, take out your notebook (or whatever fancy app you choose to use to write down things), and build a list of words (or emoji if that’s your thing, Millennials.) that describe feelings. Happy, sad, anxious, confused, or 😄😩😣😵😲, etc. Refer to it often, in all interactions you have in life, with experiences, food, street lights, Nike shoes (skip Adidas because it triggers overly simplistic feelings -> a collection of 💩), and dumbarses. Force yourself to apply these words to describe your feelings. Give yourself that time to go through this simple exercise. Give yourself 5 mins to identify the emojis after a conversation? Give yourself a pause anddescribe how you feel about the Ten Nike Icons by Virgil Abloh? Also add to this list often, as you go through the exercise of assigning the emojis. Visit this list often. Indulge yourself in.
Step 2. How do you make people feel.
Well, ask them! Oh I wish it’s that easy. But yea you can try that. But be ready to be labelled (this dude is sensitive), or that the other person would not tell you anything useful (simply because they struggle to describe how they feel).
A better approach I find, is you start with sharing with them how you feel about them. Of course don’t be all awkward and shit about it. Follow (and slightly bend) the social norms and do it gradually. (How? That’s another topic.)
Anyway, start with sharing how you feel about others. Trust me, as you start to do this more, they will start to return the favour. It’s simple. The more you tell how shitty you feel about someone, I guarantee you, he or she will fire back. And that’s a good thing.
It’s like losing weight, you just have to keep going at it. Practice these steps. Yes it will be strange, wrong, messy in the beginning. But trust me, just like everything else, you will learn, tweak, adjust, and then slowly get use to it. And then if you are lucky (or if you are an agile learner), you will start to master it. You will start to become a padawan that is also a amateur poet.
You will have a better chance to knowing more about yourself.
Because the alternative, is to feel like Jackie Chan, spinning on top of a piece of limestone, screaming, “who the fxxx am I?”