Most of us have a narrative in our head that makes us feel competent, successful or correct. We think we are doing things for the right reason, because we tell ourselves that is the case.
A significant percentage of the time, this is far from the truth. Human beings are often driven by emotions or by reactions at the subconscious level that we do not control or even notice. To put it simply, we don’t really know why we are doing things. It takes a huge amount of attention and effort to be self-aware enough to start to understand the real reasons why you are making certain decisions and taking certain actions. If you’re not actively working at this, week after week, then the odds are very high my description above applies to you. It applies to at least 90% of people, including me. There are days and even weeks when I catch glimpses of the real reasons I act the way I do. For example, I know that even small triggers that occur in the couple of hours before I go to sleep can cause me to become agitated and ill-at-ease. Once that happens, my thinking and reactions are not as rational as I’d like them to be. My intention is not to be critical. I’m simply making the case that self-awareness takes a great deal of effort, and it is a never-ending challenge. Only those who accept this challenge as a way of life can hope to come close to truly understanding their own reactions, decisions and emotions.