By Anne Funke
Through the practices of yoga and mindfulness, we’re encouraged to become quiet and begin to tune into our own bodies, own thoughts, and own feelings. This tuning in allows us to understand our patterns, to notice sensations and feelings, and to peel back layers that hide our true selves from our consciousness. While this “getting quiet” is an integral part of the practice, as well as the eight limbs of yoga, it is far from easy to do in the business of our day to day lives!
As we begin to break down the KCG social emotional model, the first letter, “K,” represents Knowing ourselves more deeply. From a yogic perspective, this is the getting quiet; this is the tuning in; this is the self-awareness. Knowing ourselves within our social-emotional framework means that we begin to build that same self-awareness using additional means. As we begin to know ourselves, we start to understand that our feelings and emotions tell us important information about who we are and what we believe. We start to pay attention to our thoughts, our responses to situations, and past experiences that have formed our belief systems over time. Dr. Liza Johnson, author of the KCG curriculum, puts it simply: Clearly seeing what you feel and do.
Knowing ourselves is an important foundation to build our other social-emotional competencies upon. Self-awareness and understanding are critical elements to our emotional intelligence. Without knowing what we feel, how can we possibly manage those feelings? Without understanding our beliefs, how can we recognize their influence in the actions we take? If we’ve not identified unhealthy thought patterns, how can we hope to change those over time? If we’ve not reflected on how our emotions affect others, how can we hope to build empathy and connection?
If you want to begin to know yourself better, start asking yourself some powerful questions. What are my thoughts and feelings about? How can I choose those most intentionally in the situations I find myself in? How do I speak to myself? How do I view my life: from a pessimistic or optimistic perspective? And finally, what are some driving values and beliefs I hold that affect what I do and how I feel?
As we begin to uncover who we truly are, we feel more empowered to make healthy choices, healthy changes, and even gain a desire to know ourselves more. In knowing ourselves, we begin to take those first steps toward becoming the best version of ourselves.