A self-help book editor uses what she learns at work and in life to help herself.

by Melissa Kirk

Self-Awareness vs "Self-Fixingness"

The best self-help tool is compassionate self-awareness

Published on February 10, 2011

After years of therapy, hundreds of self-help books, and countless inspirational YouTube videos, I've come to one conclusion: the most powerful self-help tool that we can cultivate is compassionate self-awareness. Any kind of therapy and every self-help book worth the paper its printed on seeks to help us understand ourselves and our emotions and behaviors better. But the problem with most therapy and self-help is that this self-awareness is focused on "getting better" rather than in simply being aware of who we are. In this, positive psychology has some of the right ideas, by having us focus on our strengths. But even that's too limited. We are so much more than our traits, whether negative or positive.

The first step to helping ourselves become the people we already are underneath our neuroses (loving, kind, balanced, open, and compassionate) is to foster the kind of deep self-awareness that flows beneath our judgments of who we are or what we do. Not only awareness of our emotions, behaviors and triggers, but an awareness of how we operate in the first place. How our mind connects things, how our thoughts and emotions move and flow, how we think, what words we use to describe the world, how we talk to ourselves and about others, and what we see when we look out at the world.

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