So, there’s self-awareness (the ability to stay in connection with yourself whilst engaging with the world) and there’s self-centering (the tendency to centre all situations and circumstances around yourself, regardless of whether the circumstances call for it).
The former is the hallmark of me functioning from a place of parasympathetic dominance, and the latter is a thought and behavioral pattern that arises when I found myself living predominantly from my survival nervous system.
When we centre ourselves in every interaction, not only does everything become about us (which is exhausting in and of itself) but it also removes us from the ability to truly listen and observe things objectively.
Case and point:
Say I’m working on the ground with my horse and all of the sudden he breaks into a frolic on the long side.
Frolicking wasn’t part of my game plan.
Being self-aware in this situation means I can take notice of how my own body responds and take actions to ensure that I stay open and effective. I can take what’s happening seriously (whilst holding it lightly), but not personally.
I am open to what is being communicated, without needing to make it about me.
Being self-centred means that I watched my horse respond in a different way to what I intended, and I immediately take it personally.
He knows better than that! Ugh, it’s like he’s got it in for me!
When we take it personally, we miss the communication.
We make the story we have created more important than the moment.
One sees us moving proactively; the other reactively.
Seriously, but not personally.