Many recent conversations with friends and colleagues triggered me to write about awareness. I apparently attract a topic that I love to talk about.

Or more and more people are becoming aware of what triggers them. And start realizing how these internal or external stimuli affect their daily life.  

What is awareness?

Awareness is the knowledge or perception of a situation.

Situations affect our behavior, our happiness, our lives. They can make you happy, sad, worried, anxious etc.

Often, we respond from a default mode. This can be blaming others for the situation we are in. For how we feel today. And these responses most of the time go without thinking or feeling what it is that really triggered us.

If we feel a victim of events, we start asking: Why is this happening to me? Or a more neutral: Why do I feel terrible?

How to increase self-awareness?

Acknowledging that your response is triggered by something internal or external is the very first step into awareness.

So it is extremely important and necessary. But thinking is not knowing.

Moreover, it does not drive you towards the release of your negative feelings.

In particular, asking why is trapping you.

A much better question to ask starts with What, not why. What is most important to me? What can I do to change the situation?

Can we help others to increase awareness?

I believe so, but it is tricky. Be compassionate. Don’t judge. Listen to their stories. And after that you might ask: What…

In the case of work-related frustrations, I often ask: What part of your job you are still passionate about? What gives you energy in your work? And what in your daily life?

My personal experience is that doing the things you love will increase your energy levels. The same does finding motivating people, role models, and other people with positive mindsets.

But don’t judge. Just help them to gain awareness of the situation.

It is their responsibility to start making the changes once they are ready for it, not yours.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the
world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
Quote of Rumi

So each of us is in control of creating the life you want to live. Asking What, not Why will empower you.