A few weeks ago, I started watching the TV series Westworld. The story, (without spoilers!), is about highly developed artificial intelligence machines that were created by humans.
These machines, that look, feel, and act just like humans, live in their own separate world — the “Westworld” of the title. Periodically, they are visited by real humans who use them to gratify every whim they have without consequence or punishment.
The machines think that they have free will. When in reality, they are programmed to do the things that would please the humans who visit their world. Many times, this means, getting killed, raped, used, etc…awful stuff. So we could say that these machines are programmed to live a life that consists mostly of suffering.
And even if it’s an imaginary story, I felt bad for them.
Maybe because I was relating to them somehow. I felt that I, too, am going through a similar experience — that I don’t have full control over my life, over what I think, do, and feel. Which caused me to suffer as well.
And this made me think: how we are different from these machines?
The only difference I could found is that they are programmed by humans while we are programmed by the circumstances we grew up in.
We are like them even in the belief that we are completely free.
We live our lives thinking that we think the way we think, do the things we do and feel the way we feel because we have our personal reasons. While most of us are only prisoners of own code— the past.
Our patterns of thinking, acting, and feeling are nothing but a product of the place we have been raised and the people with whom we grew up.
Yet, we never question our ideas, actions, and feelings. Few of us ever ask “did I choose to think, act, or feel this way?”. And the real problem here is that these patterns many times leads us to a life where we suffer.
In other words, when we acquire negative patterns of thinking, feelings, or behaving from the past, they lead us to a painful and miserable future. Unless we identify them and get rid of them.
And here comes the power of self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the only way to know the negative patterns that you have, their deep-rooted reasons, and how to change them.
How to Become Self-Aware
The first step in becoming self-aware is knowing and admitting that:
- You didn’t choose the person who you are today — at least there are many parts of you that you didn’t choose.
- You don’t know yourself — you have little or no idea why you think, do, and feel the way you do.
- You don’t have control over yourself — you don’t have full control over what you think, do, and feel.
The second step is questioning your negative patterns. Ask yourself:
- “Why I keep thinking these negative thoughts that make me bad”.
- “Why I have these self-destructive habits that hurt me or hurt people around me?”
- “Why I am sad, angry, afraid, anxious, or envious most of the time?”
And this is a crucial step in the process of self-awareness. Because only after you identify the profound reasons behind your negative thoughts, actions, and feelings, you would know exactly what you need to do to change them.
To conclude, I want to say that self-awareness is a long and hard process, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to set yourself free from all the negative patterns that cause you pain and suffering in your life.
It’s worth investing time and energy in your own happiness.
Previously published on medium
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