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The Power and Importance of Self-Awareness

Posted: January 31, 2018

Self-awareness, the understanding of our selves, our choices and actions, and our impact on the world around has agreat deal of power in our lives.  As children grow up it is important that these lessons and understanding start early, giving them the opportunity to harness the power granted by true self-awareness.  When a child can see, for themselves, how their choices and actions, or inaction, effect themselves and the world around them a new path to greater self-esteem is opened to them.

As a martial arts instructor I work very hard to begin this learning process with all of my students, especially the youngest classes. The simplest, yet most profound, way to approach the development of self-awareness is simply to ask questions.  It is important that when using a technique such as guided response through the use of open ended questions that it be applied in both positive and negative situations.  If we only ask a child questions that lead to negative answers and the "rehashing" of actions or choices that are seen as "incorrect" or "bad" behavior, it can cause them to close up and stop responding.  I use the same process, often using the exact same questions for helping a student explore both positive (accomplishment) and negative (failure) outcome experiences.  The whole process should be conducted to help the child explore the situation, their choices, their actions and the resultant outcomes on their terms, not ours as adults. 

As a child goes through this process of self-exploration and discovery of their impact on their world they see that they matter, their actions, words and choices matter.  When they see that they can have a positive impact on their world their self-esteem rises.  The exploration of negative outcome experieinces, in their terms, gives them the opprtunity to exercise their growing ability to feel empathy.  The ability to feel empathy and act on related emotions then gives them a growing satisfaction in their actions and in themselves. 

Positive Attitudes Foster Self-Esteem

Posted: January 24, 2018

So, how does helping a child, or anyone, develop a positiive attitude make it more likely they will grow in self-esteem?  The answer lies in the changes in response people with positive attitudes have to thier world and the challenges they encounter.

Self-esteem is the feeling of confidence and the idea that we are capable of achieveing anything we put our mind to doing.  Having a positive attitude plays a large part in that ability.  Imagine seeing everything that "goes wrong" as a negative.  Even when something goes "right" you still feel it is only "the way it should be" and therefore only neither positive or negative.  Living this way leaves little room to grow from our experiences and build the confidence needed to pick ourselves up after things go against our expectations. When a person approaches life with a positive attitude, even the times that fail to meet their expectations, they become more confident in their ability to accomplish their goals.  They see the opportunities that are presented in every experieince, both positive and negative.

Operating from a focus on the positive in every situtation allows a person to learn and grow.  Instead of the urge to retreat and "lick their wounds", a person who lives with positive attitude sees the opportunity to learn and gorw in knowledge and ability.  Becoming more resilient and able to overcome challenges and failures can create a strong sense of self-satisfaction.  A person with a strong positive attitude is able to find satisfaction in what they learned and their new found ability to deal with setback.  The opportunity to experience increased satisfaction,even in the face of tough times, makes a positive attitude important to satifying the second part of the Merriam-Webster definition, "... and satisfaction in oneself."

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