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Pilsung ATA

Give them a mirror, let them grow.

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. 

All of this growth and development can be stimulated with simple, self-reflective, open-ended questions.  GIving a child the ability to figure things out for themselves in their own words and thoughts gives them the opportunity to grow in self-awareness and ultimately self-esteem.