It is critical to remember that insight is not a fixed state of consciousness. Actually, insight is a lot like a window that closes and opens with changing life experiences. Someone may have a full understanding of an issue one day but after only a few days or weeks later, excuses can creep in as to why what was once believed to be true no longer applies. The window of self-awareness can therefore open and close as our level of insight changes in differing circumstances
Things that OPEN the Window of Self Awareness:
Honest, self-reflection: Asking yourself the tough, soul searching questions can open up your window of self-awareness if you take the time to ask them, and more importantly display the courage to answer them honestly. Some examples:
Am I really doing all that I can do to improve?
Instead of blaming others, what can I actually do to make things better?
What role did I play in that situation? What could I have done differently?
Playing “Devil’s Advocate” – It is natural to think of all of the reasons why you may be right when it comes to certain issues. It can be much more challenging to really consider the possibility that you may be wrong. You can learn from being open minded in this way. Consider the following example
Thought – “Other people keep telling me I have an attitude problem. They don’t know what they are talking about, I’m a nice person - I am fine, they all just need to shut up and leave me alone”
Same Thought reframed for self-awareness- “With all of these people telling me I have an attitude problem, maybe I should think about how I am acting and what I am doing that gives people that idea. Maybe I need to adjust the way I speak to people”
Consequences – One of the positive things about consequences is that when something negative happens as a result of our choices and behavior, it can be a wakeup call and open the window of self-awareness. Consider these examples:
“I was late to work again after a night of drinking and now I am in trouble with my boss. I promised myself I wasn’t going to let that happen again but I did. Maybe it’s time to consider taking an honest look at my drinking”
“I told my significant other I would get help for being depressed but then I didn’t. I called out of work again to sleep all day because I was too depressed to get up. I think I may need help this time”
Things that CLOSE the Window of Awareness
Time – Sometimes just the passage of time can trigger a false sense of security. A person may feel motivated to change something one day but then if that motivation is not nurtured, with time it can fade
Excuses – Blaming, rationalizing etc. – Making excuses is usually just a way to deny or deflect reality. Excuse making is often rooted in an effort to avoid responsibility for one’s own role in a situation and therefore avoid responsibility for being part of the solution
Self-Deception- Similar to making excuses, people can close the window of insight by simply lying to themselves. Refusal to recognize the truth by burying your head in the sand just keeps the window of awareness closed thus preventing the “light” of self-awareness and reality from shining in
Discuss as a group:
Can you describe what it is like for you when your window of insight is open?
What about when the window closes? What is that like for you and what can be the cause?