Can we have too much self-awareness?

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08 Oct 2018 15:08 #327540 by Proteus
Just as the title says: Can we have too much self-awareness? What I guess I mean is, can self-contemplation lead to or contribute to things like depression?

I ask after years of noticing that the average self-ignorant person seems to be able to enjoy life with less burden of questions (particularly including those who are blindly faithful to their religion), even through some of the toughest events, while many (not all though) people who spend a great deal of time on self-contemplation tend to suffer from depression, self-identity crisis, and overthinking events in life that may be quite simple in nature afterall.

Or is there something else entirely to consider about this observation?

What do you think?

It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
- Alan Watts
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08 Oct 2018 15:27 #327541 by Carlos.Martinez3
To know when enough is enough is a wise thing. Depression has a wide range of possibilities and can stem from many difrent avenues. I found in my own path the revealing nature of awareness and responsibility can be a eye opener as well as a downer. When ya find out what’s up with the what’s up you find out what’s really up. Blame is so easly set in motion either automatically or by choice. I know for me it was. My own life study revealed what I was missing and I Kinna figured and pinpointed where and sometimes who. We have a teaching here - non attachment that can help. In this case - I myself used it to reveal but not attach blame. Case in point- ( for example) why did I speak and think about love the way I did. Partly it was watching my family swear and cheat and lie to one another growing up and being on the end often of that. I was , upon finding and locating this - passed. Pissed at Mom dad uncle aunt and all those who didn’t give me a better example. I applied the non attachment of review and just boiled it down to - I was never taught a diffrent type of love. I no longer blamed them inside- I just claimed it as - it was missing. To see things can often lead to a seat of upset and sadness. Do we stay in that seat and allow it to keep us in a place where we can’t move on or... do we move on? So much in my own experiences can be seen as the first step to knowing myself but the next step is action. To be able to move to the next steps... to create those next avenues - I say yes we can. This is just fromympwm experiences as they can be as difrent as shades of light in color and brightness. Hope that helps a bit.

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08 Oct 2018 15:27 #327542 by Beano349
I have struggled with this question for some time. My in-laws for example, live a happy life. They are able to do this by being financially supported by their parents (still at the age of 60) and now their son in law (me). They have no awareness of how much they get or where it comes from.

They will die, having taken from both their parents and their children. This has been part of the answer to the question. They will have failed provide for their children as they have been provided for.

The other part of this is attachment and suffering. I make choices to reflect, to be open (to the best of my current abilities) and to accept the causes of my decisions. Years ago I was not able to do this, and depression was an issue. While my friends were out at bars, living up their 20's, I was working 2 jobs and completing a max loaded college schedule. I was depressed. It came out in the form of politics. While I gave my life for the future, It was demanded that I pay more to others, while no one was offering to take me out to have a good time in change for the demanded higher sacrifice of my life.

After many years of commitment, and finally having my own children, the depression left. The added penalties of hard work were realized. In my 30's i am above my peers in all of the things I value, I am able to enjoy life with my children, be financially, and look forward to early retirement, the kicker is that it no longer matters. This was always an internal struggle to push past the pain.

I share my personal story because the key for me was to stop bench-marking myself at any given moment in time. I selected a path, a long path, it was my choice, that choice has outcomes, which are mine alone to accept. If your path involves less shelf awareness, maybe you do not have to face your choices as harshly, but someone will. That is not for me to judge.
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08 Oct 2018 16:41 #327551 by Eleven
You know I didn't start thinking about this subject until I got into I would say my late twenties I've always been a person that I've always liked to work hard I always kept myself busy didn't allow my mind to really gravitate into that area. Little did I know the reasoning why I work so hard and kept myself busy and on my mind occupied was because I never wanted to realize that I was depressed if that makes sense. In my early twenties I lived at home had no bills I could go by and spend whatever I wanted with very little to no consequences and it was great but I always played games or read books you know I was always constantly busy so I never really had that time as I said before forgive me for repeating myself but every once in awhile those things became unappreciated lack of a better word I can think of right now and I would go deep in my mind and I realized you know I had everything I wanted and yet I was still miserable. I started seek for more things thankfully I never got into drinking or drugs or anything of that nature just never had a desire to nothing against anybody that does by the way. Do I think it could be too much yeah I do it could make you crazy if you're not careful. Often times I will meditate I will go to the gym I will do something of leisure and of course there's good old just going to work everyday putting one leg in your pants at a time sometimes manual labor or The Daily Grind if you will is the best time to get rid of your self-awareness and maybe this might not help everybody or be for everybody but in my experiences keep yourself busy and don't entertain those thoughts and I know it's not easy and I'm not saying to suppress that thought or to be unhealthy and ignore it but you can easily get rid of the issue by keeping yourself busy forgive me for rambling on I do hope that helps
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08 Oct 2018 17:18 #327552 by thomaswfaulkner
I would place how you conduct self-reflection as a good start to how you interpret the results of what you are reflecting on. After I have looked at a piece of my suchness, what am I doing with that information and how am I treating myself are two important questions to consider when moving forward?

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08 Oct 2018 17:27 #327553 by Manu

Proteus wrote: What do you think?


I've noticed a similar tendency, not only in others but in myself as well.

Self-awareness, which boils down to self-observation, entails a study of our motivators, stressors, etc., which involves having to "observe" our past to gain a full picture of how we've come to be who we are. This gazing into the past makes it quite easy to get lost in "what ifs" type scenarios, and because we have a natural tendency to magnify bad events over positive ones, and losing perspective from ceasing external benchmarking while in introspection, we end up magnifying the potential por getting stuck in all that we've lost. Depression ensues.

Self-observation can also include gazing too much into the future, into all the potential situations we might get into or have to face, and this easily can lead to anxiety, fear of missing out, and analysis paralysis.

I feel that as a society we've also placed under the umbrella of self-awareness/intellectualism values such as pessimism (disguised as realism) and cynicism, which helps us immediately dismiss more positive views as wishful rubbish of the uneducated massess. So it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of negativism.

I mean, after all. If I've never been able to accomplish x, y or z before, what rational justification do I have to believe I should be able to eventually get it right in the future?

To answer the original question, I don't think we can have too much self-awareness. Rather, self-awareness has become this polarized thing that includes a, b, c but excludes d, e, f, and that is leading us to neglect an aspect of ourselves. In other words, we are using "self-awareness" as a hiding place from ourselves. Which is not very self-aware. :silly:

Long-term consistency trumps short term intensity
- Bruce Lee
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08 Oct 2018 19:04 #327569 by Tellahane

Manu wrote:

Proteus wrote: What do you think?


I've noticed a similar tendency, not only in others but in myself as well.

Self-awareness, which boils down to self-observation, entails a study of our motivators, stressors, etc., which involves having to "observe" our past to gain a full picture of how we've come to be who we are. This gazing into the past makes it quite easy to get lost in "what ifs" type scenarios, and because we have a natural tendency to magnify bad events over positive ones, and losing perspective from ceasing external benchmarking while in introspection, we end up magnifying the potential por getting stuck in all that we've lost. Depression ensues.

Self-observation can also include gazing too much into the future, into all the potential situations we might get into or have to face, and this easily can lead to anxiety, fear of missing out, and analysis paralysis.

I feel that as a society we've also placed under the umbrella of self-awareness/intellectualism values such as pessimism (disguised as realism) and cynicism, which helps us immediately dismiss more positive views as wishful rubbish of the uneducated massess. So it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of negativism.

I mean, after all. If I've never been able to accomplish x, y or z before, what rational justification do I have to believe I should be able to eventually get it right in the future?

To answer the original question, I don't think we can have too much self-awareness. Rather, self-awareness has become this polarized thing that includes a, b, c but excludes d, e, f, and that is leading us to neglect an aspect of ourselves. In other words, we are using "self-awareness" as a hiding place from ourselves. Which is not very self-aware. :silly:


I think a key part of this self awareness is being self aware that your not actually being self aware?

Granted we all have different views, my view of self awareness is that of meditation. Awareness of yourself right now, right this moment. Anything leading you astray to the future, to the past, is not self awareness its you living outside of the now, focusing on things of the past, or worrying about things of the future. Things that have proven to be depressing at time(s) if you spend too much time living in them. Not to say that lesson's cant be learned from either, but like all things, only in moderation.
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09 Oct 2018 03:59 - 09 Oct 2018 04:03 #327592 by Adder
It seems to be like spreading the pizza dough out thinner both makes the pizza bigger but more fragile...... until the yeast makes it thicker :D

But yea, increasing it means it also means can decrease under particular circumstances - and seemingly even create a fractured representation of 'self identity'. More usually under adverse pressure it just seeds confusion in oneself momentarily, in my experience, ie change in it is not linear. But the dynamic nature of shifting perspective under load/duress means ones point of view changes as part of that change. So I tend to prefer gradual progress, to test and refine that progress to better familiarize myself with both its justifications as path in the first instance, but also to map its relational attributes to allow me to better work with it as a 'location' in changing course or picking up lost progress. We cannot control everything, so that which we can, is up to us to do so.

Most definitely it can be easier to be with the mob and stay within the confines of the natured and nurtured existence, but I'd say the spiritual path is specifically about being freed from that and resolving strength in ones essence as existence in the present moment as it flows through time. Well the nurtured one at least, but I'm partial to transhumanism as well but that is the Sith in me talking LOL. So while not the purpose of the path to be different, by its action we might tend to find ourselves very very different from the norm. Is that good or bad depends on the difference I guess.

I've often thought that I would never 'recommend' anyone take a (proper) spiritual path, but I'm not a good teacher so I'm biased!!! That said, if I didn't think there was potential in it, I wouldn't bother.... but I needed something sufficiently complex and potential rewarding to focus on when I realized I didn't quite fit into the social model of normality, but luckily I read a few warning signs from Buddhist material at the beginning which helped me shape my application to hopefully achieve some measure of resilience and endurance under stress, even to the extent that it becomes a benefit by developing a capacity to generate one. We are complex enough to do amazing things with our minds, useful or beneficial. Work the beneficial, and endure the harmful until or unless it can be resolved for benefit.

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TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu
Last edit: 09 Oct 2018 04:03 by Adder.
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09 Oct 2018 20:37 #327619 by Wescli Wardest

I have noticed, over time, that self-awareness leads to understanding. If something is discovered that needs “work” and that work is not done then sure one’s awareness of their “flaws” can lead to self-deprivation and depression.

Seeing people that appear to happy… when we first start we learn that we all wear masks. Outward happiness is often a mask people wear so that they seem “normal” but are they really happy? Are they following their bliss?

I would ask, if one is self-aware and they do nothing to grow or better what they are aware of are they really aware of just delusional of their awareness? And creating the mask of being self-aware to wear for their own sake.



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10 Oct 2018 01:30 #327639 by Kelrax Lorcken
The term "Navel-Gazing" comes to mind.

Kelrax "Stormcaller" Lorcken, Jedi Pathfinder
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