White-out conditions like blurred vision

At this time of year, we might experience white-out conditions when driving.

WENDY RHYASON

Stettler FCSS

At this time of year, we might experience white-out conditions when driving.

White-out conditions are quite unnerving because the situation is out of my control. My vision is limited and I’m not sure of what’s on the road ahead. When the wind stops, I can finally see clearly and then I relax.

Experiencing white-out conditions is similar to living your life without self-awareness.

Without self-awareness, your vision is limited and you are at the mercy of your emotions and their influence on your thoughts and behaviour.

Self-awareness is important as it allows you to understand your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, behaviors and emotions.

Self-awareness helps you discover what limits your effectiveness, helps you to learn from successes or failures and brings a sense of control over your emotions and thoughts. When you recognize how your thoughts and emotions are affecting you, you can make healthy choices in how you respond and behave.

Self-aware people have healthier relationships, and experience more happiness, peace and tranquility.

LaBier (2013) wrote, “Empathy, compassion and overall self-awareness are qualities of a developed, mature mind. One that’s resilient to stress, able to manage internal conflicts, experiences interconnection with others, and maintains well-being.”

Gloslter-Smith (2008) explained that a lack of self-awareness is the key first step to achieve personal inner healing and to improve relationships.

“When we experience difficulty in dealing with others, if we lack self-awareness we might not see how our own behaviour has played a part in what takes place.”

Without self-awareness, we will fail to recognize the triggers that influence our thoughts and emotions and continue to repeat the same destructive patterns.

Are you self-aware? People that lack self-awareness are in deep denial and don’t want to hear the truth, no matter what you say or how you say it. The following are four signs you may lack self-awareness:

You are defensive. You go on the offensive to protect something deep within you, something you don’t want people to see, often feelings of weakness and vulnerability.

You are controlling. You behave in a controlling way or micromanage.

You are passive aggressive. When you agree to something and then do the exact opposite, it means you don’t want to confront others or be confronted by them. It’s a deflection, an attempt to throw them off so you don’t have to deal with something that makes you feel vulnerable or embarrassed.

You make excuses. Excuses are a way of avoiding or deflecting negative attention. Pointing fingers and blaming others are common avoidance techniques that communicate resistance to being held accountable.

Develop self-awareness by focusing your attention on the details of your personality and behavior.

Ask yourself the following questions when you experience strong negative emotions:

1. What am I feeling?

2. Why am I feeling this way?

3. What do I need to change so I can respond differently?

Don’t continue to navigate through life in white out conditions.

Increase your self-awareness and the journey of life will be easier, more rewarding and fulfilling.

If you need help developing self–awareness contact the FCSS office. We can provide a list of resources or you can meet with one of our counsellors.

Wendy Rhyason is the executive director of the Stettler FCSS.

— Strengthening the Community