Ignorance Is Not Bliss

And there’s the crux of searching for self-awareness: Do we embrace the 'ignorance is bliss' adage when a bright light shines on our flaws? Do we simply escape the reality of who are and let the tides of the day carry us adrift? Or [do we] face ourselves and move onward towards a path that allows us to reinvent ourselves to embrace our best, truest selves, regardless of how painful it may be at times?

Why Self-Awareness Is the Secret Weapon for Habit Change by Paul Jun

The article from which this quote was taken, “Why Self-Awareness is the Secret Weapon for Habit Change,” was written by Paul Jun for 99U. In it, he discusses the inner turmoil that can accompany the search for self-awareness, a bit of incentive to start the journey anyway, and few methods — including dedication; self-reflection; understanding; and Roman philosopher Epictetus's definition of a good philosophy, "self-scrutiny applied with kindness" — to get us started.

Certainly we've all realized that the foray into the discovery of self-awareness can be a difficult and painful struggle. And, because of this, as Jun points out, we often tend to “embrace the ‘ignorance is bliss’ adage,” by sparing ourselves the heartache associated with delving into the depths of ourselves. But, if we never get to know ourselves, how will be ever live up to our full potential? How will we ever become our best selves?

Jun goes on to explain:

Self-awareness is defined as conscious knowledge of oneself; it’s a stepping stone to reinventing oneself, learning to make wiser decisions, and helps [us] tune into [our] thoughts and feelings. So often we place blame on externalities because it’s the easiest excuse, when in fact we should be thinking about our thinking, reflecting, trying on different perspectives, and learning from our mistakes.

While it may sound like striving to attain self-awareness means always taking the blame, in reality, it means taking the blame when we know in our hearts that we are truly at fault — a difficult task considering that, to our human brains, this seems like self-sabotage. But, to become our best selves, we must develop the capacity to move past this insecurity. Because, ultimately, it is only by realizing and admitting our mistakes that we're able to "learn from them, and to let that awareness motivate and change [us]."