Self-Awareness Breeds Critical Thinking

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There I stood, in the midst of the human experience, my heart pounding like a rambunctious jackrabbit’s, wandering the arid desert of uncertainty. Around me, I saw the frenetic whirlwind of people, like a flock of starlings, their wings beating erratically. As I whispered to myself, “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing,” I couldn’t help but feel a glimmer of relief. It was as if a gentle breeze had swept through the cobwebs of my mind; in that moment of self-awareness, I realized that my acknowledgement of not knowing was the very thing that set me apart from the maddening crowd.

So many minds I encounter appear propelled by impulse rather than reason. The actions of most people I know are guided by invisible strings, tugged constantly by the puppeteer of societal expectations. As I’ve navigated through the uncaring, crashing waves of life, I’m always struck by the glaring absence of critical thought. 

Each day, I watch a torrent of decisions made without pause or consideration, like a cascading waterfall of reckless abandon. All the mistakes I’ve watched my peers make is just a tiny part of the embodiment of human folly. Unfortunately, their mistakes often leave me to become washed up like driftwood on unfamiliar beaches.

Somehow, in the midst of this unbridled chaos, I found unexpected comfort in my confession of uncertainty. This humbling revelation is akin to the way one might feel standing before the vast expanse of the cosmos or the depths of the ocean. It was a reminder of the limitations of human understanding, a call to reexamine the choices we make and the paths we tread. In the face of the infinite, delusions of grandeur and infallibility wither away like autumn leaves.

With this increased self-awareness, I now discovered the transformative power of my own uncertainty. This realization allowed me to break free from the tyranny of blind impulse, to question the status quo, and to seek the truth, which often lays hidden beneath the murky waters of our collective unconscious.

So I ventured forth, armed with the knowledge that by admitting my lack of understanding, I’d already surpassed the horde of mindless drones that surrounded me. To be truly self-aware is to recognize our own fallibility, to embrace the ambiguity that shrouds our existence, and to make a conscious effort to seize the human experience for all its faults.

Every day, I continue to walk the tightrope of life, teetering between the precipice of wisdom and the abyss of ignorance. I continue to embrace the power of my confession, which I often repeat to myself. In these moments, when I once again whisper to myself, “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing,” I soon find the strength to challenge the world’s shortcomings and, ultimately, I learn how to grow just a bit more to meet them head-on.

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Should Embrace Your Inner Critic as a Writer | Understanding and Working on Self-Awareness

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.

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