Self-help books, many spiritual paths, and most instruction manuals operate on a simple premise. If you are aware and have facts, action follows. I would like to challenge this premise! It is my experience, personal and observed, that self-awareness has little if any linkage to change and growth. Knowing the facts does not mean that one will act on them. Even believing the facts does not mean that someone will take a step in using the facts. Knowledge does not imply that one will use.
Without commentary on anyone in my life except myself, I have been on for too many hamster wheels representing the same mistakes in different guises. Knowing the price of failure does not prevent a repeat occurrence. Understanding a formula or linkage should not lead one to conclude that he or she has the wisdom to do something with it. At times, it seems as if awareness alone is the goal. Awareness is stupidity unless it is combined with wisdom practice.
Self-awareness is an important first step in the growth steps of our journeys. Without it, nothing has a chance! I love listening to the blues in early morning house because it opens my heart to seeing life in the fullness of how ugly it can be. However, it is only the first step.
The next two are equally important. You must look beyond one's self for help. Rarely, if ever, can one do it alone. I suggest that God is crucial for every change in your life and mine. In this case, the step is practical – seek and accept help from someone and something outside of yourself. If the help lifts you towards a love based compassionate God (by any name, in any form), you will be changed from the inside out. Throughout history, the model repeats. “He answered, 'How can I without some help?' and invited Philip into the chariot with him.” (Acts 8.31)
Use the help you receive to put the new knowledge into action. Awareness is useless if it does not lead to a new step.
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