(Psychological Literacy)
Adam Blatner, M.D.

(This is the fourth lecture of this 6-lecture module on self-awareness that is part of a longer series on Psychological Literacy, offered to the Senior University Georgetown lifelong learning program, for its Fall 2009 program. Eventually, more of the series will be posted on this website. This fourth lecture will be given on October 19, 2009 (re-posted October 12, 2009)
This series of lectures will include: 1. An orientation to the process of self-awareness.  2. Motivations and Ideals   3. Wiser and More Foolish Coping Maneuvers   4. (This Lecture):  Body Cues and Other Subtle Perceptions     5. Social Connectedness and Preferences         6. Intuitions of Meaning and Greater Connectedness (Spirituality, Inspiration) and Conclusion.

This series of lectures is concerned with identifying various types of self-awareness, in order to enhance this skill. In the first lecture I offered general ideas about this effort at increasing self-awareness. In the second lecture I offered a bit of an overview on the nature of motivation. The third lecture reviewed some of the more common ways that the mind wisely—and more frequently, foolishly— works to resolve perceived conflicts between parts of the mind or between the mind and the outer world. The basic idea is that the more you know about what goes on, the more you can manage those issues wisely. (I'll mention the themes in today's fourth lecture after this next paragraph).

Next week we’ll look at becoming aware of those parts of your life that are social, embedded in social networks, and the feelings associated with relationships. And in the final lecture, we’ll discuss spiritual and philosophical beliefs, assumptions, often subconscious, that affect your sense of self.

So this fourth lecture addresses the following sub-topics: nonverbal communications and the cues your body can give you; noticing your own temperament; identifying abilities and relative disabilities; noting special interests; and finally paying attention to even more subtle hints from dreams, intuitions, and seeming coincidences.


The mind is vast and there are many different ways to examining it, scores of theories and thousands of variations of theory. So these talks don’t pretend to be comprehensive, nor are they in any sense objectively true: The mind, life, the world, the cosmos, all are viewed through the worldviews available for a given historical era and culture. Nevertheless, I’m doing this in the service of offering some general introductory frameworks, and in promoting the general idea of psychological literacy. You don’t need ultimate “truth,” which, regarding mind, may never be able to be pinned down; you need useful tools for practical living—or at least that’s the assumption that I work from.

Cues From Your Body

Let’s begin with the world of body language, non-verbal communications. At the more obvious level, most people notice some body cues, stronger and more distinct emotions such as anger, fear, shame. But I don’t take this for granted. Lots of folks block this aspect of their self-awareness. A person can be profoundly aware of subtle shifts in, say, manual dexterity, the feel of what she’s working on—in cooking, dentistry, whatever—while in the realm of feelings be rather sealed over, seemingly insensitive. We bring more consciousness to what seems relevant and draw awareness and attention away from what seems irrelevant—and the point here is that what is emotionally loaded can register as insignificant—as in “Why should I think about things that would upset me?” While in some families, passing along stories is a tradition, many immigrants don’t want to tell the stories of their past because it brings up too many painful memories.

So, back to the body, many cues of felt emotion are blocked. Some of this is because of negative associations, but another common source of this blockage is the lack of opportunity to talk about feelings. In many families that kind of thing is pointedly avoided. Some of this is the ignorance that goes with why bring up things that I have no way of knowing what to say; and some of it is why remind me of my own problematic and repressed feelings. Indeed, there are some people who are so blocked from their feelings that everything they feel comes through to their consciousness as one dominant feeling, such as anxiety, irritation, anger, depression, or blankness—not feeling anything. There’s a fancy name for this last condition: alexithymia, meaning a: not; lexi, as in lecture, lectern—to read; and thymia is emotion: They can’t identify any feelings, because to name them would be too close to feeling them at what is intuitively sensed to be an overwhelming degree.

Remember I spoke about learning to read your feelings is like learning first the difference between feelings and thoughts—and that’s like learning the difference between beer and wine. The next step is learning to read you feelings as blends of the primary emotions of joy, fear, anger, or sadness—and that’s like identifying the balance and major taste components of wine—sour, sweet, and bitter (or dry).

The body is often a good help to remind you. If you think you’re calm but your hands are balled in a fist, it may be that you’re more annoyed than you knew. This is the whole point of developing a sharper degree of self-awareness. Your body cues can be given more attention and you’ll be surprised how much you discover!

Nonverbal communications are usually thought of as referring to how people communicate to others, and that itself is a rich field that we may look at more. The point today, though, is that you aren’t just communicating to others, your body is communicating to you. I describe the different categories of nonverbal communications and how you can learn more about them on other webpages..

The problem here is that what your body is reminding you of is a number of attitudes, hyper-sensitivities, and feeling complexes that may not be appropriate for the present situation.

Part of self-awareness involves learning to separate out the baby from the bath-water, what to keep and what to let go of.  Some of your reactions are clues to present perceptions, and you should learn to notice all of them. But you need not believe all that you feel. The key to self-management is disconnecting from automatic responses, so that you retain the choice as to whether or not you believe every thought that pops into your head, or think that every feeling you experience is valid. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.

Learning nonverbal communication or body language is useful for a variety of things interpersonally. Detectives and interviewers need sharper skills, as well as those who are still dating. But we’re talking about self-awareness, here, so what are the skills we mean?

Consider that you may have developed habits of how to use your body, how to stand, how to maintain eye contact, and so forth, that express old fears and defensive attitudes learned decades ago and perhaps no longer necessary or true for you. When you know where to look, what to look for, you find all sorts of stuff you didn’t know was there. This is true in medicine, with microscopes, with blood tests, with xrays, and it’s true in psychology.

Might you dare to consciously re-evaluate your voice tone and way of speaking? It’s a role or skill you could cultivate. There’s learning a new language, and this is a bit easier—it’s learning to speak more slowly or clearly or loudly, or softly. Or learning to modulate habits of speaking to fit the audience. For many people, well, you don’t hear many people talk about this. I’ve been without a television set for 30 years so am not sure, but I don’t think this exists as a topic anywhere on television. Does it?

How about shoulders. Now the thing here is that a 2% shift can be felt rather deeply as making a pretty important difference.

The field of nonverbal communications is rich, and the point to be made here is that we not only communicate with others with the way we stand or sit, our expressions, our voice tone, but we also communicate unconsciously to ourselves. To feel more powerful or brave, we take on a facial expression, "attitude," that we unconsciously believe will intimidate others. To communicate a socially placating attitude, we may compulsively smile or hold our head at a slight angle. The problem is that some of these behaviors are learned in childhood and continue on automatically. Sometimes they're adaptive in the here-and-now, and you might want to continue to use them, at least in certain roles. But almost certainly there are other roles where you do not want to do these behaviors, and indeed may want to learn the opposite behaviors! Role flexibility includes your repertoire of nonverbal communications. The other key principle is that every time you do these behaviors your body-mind reinforces certain feelings and thoughts that go with that early reaction pattern. (The term "complex" implies that a reaction pattern might include a variety of memories, feelings, body postures, associated thoughts, and other associations, all mixed together.) To learn more about the various nonverbal communications, look over my website that discusses their different forms.

As you think and communicate with others, the body follows the mind’s attitudes and expectations. Certain thoughts and relationships tend to make you more tense and others relax you. If certain kinds of thoughts or feelings are more fearful, you’ll subtly cringe, even if other parts of you are trying to be brave. If you are feeling resentful but afraid to show it, parts of your body will clench or in other ways express that resentment.

The key point here is that nonverbal communications affect not only the interpersonal field, but also operate within the mind-body. There are books about how to read other people’s nonverbal messages—really, an extensive literature—; fewer people appreciate that even as you may or may not communicate effectively or obviously to others, at the same time your body is reinforcing expressed or non-expressed attitudes.

Furthermore, the body-mind often expresses attitudes and feelings first established years ago, in childhood, or in wartime, or in a long relationship with other specific people—parents, spouse, siblings, etc. It’s worthwhile learning to pay attention to how your body reacts in various situations, to various words or tones of voice. You may have thought you’ve grown away from those earlier influences, and in some ways you probably have, but unless you notice these deeply-held feeling complexes and work a bit to release them, they may continue in subtle ways to influence present relationships in ways that you would not intend.

For example, as a youngster, you may have felt intimidated by certain people, or groups of people. Those feelings stay as habits of tension in your body as well as your mind, and re-programming yourself begins with noticing where you carry your tensions. You learn to do your own internal psychological MRI scan. You learn to be sensitive to your gut feelings, of when something just doesn’t feel right. You learn not to automatically go with all those feelings— sometimes they no longer apply in today’s situation— but to at least pay them heed. If they don’t apply, you might want to bring them more to the surface and re-program these complexes. This isn’t always easy, but it most certainly can be done—at least to some degree.

Certain parts of the body are especially good signals, places to start: Your shoulders—up or down, forward or back? Your eye contact—do you find yourself tending to look away, or to look from the side—that’s the meaning of looking askance. Your jaw—tight or relaxed. Do you find yourself falling into a habit of forced smile? Do you feel compelled to interrupt or to avoid interrupting at all costs? To speak softly so that it’s hard ever to raise your voice? And so forth.

Sensory Awareness

One other kind of body awareness is learning to appreciate and enjoy the many variations of touch, light massage, and the sensuality of the skin. Movement and its enjoyment, stretching and other activities can be discovered in gentle forms of dance and hatha yoga. Our culture has become excessively avoidant of touch. It is taboo in the West (but not in other cultures) for men to hold hands. So much is given a sexual connotation. But there are many activities that can help people reclaim their natural right to sensuality and touch---apart from genital sexuality---and this topic deserves mention as one category wher you could learn to be more aware of your body in a fun way.


The next few items deal with your individuality, about which I spoke in a previous lecture series. It's worthwhile identifying the elements that make up your uniqueness (described in another webpage about individuality), also for the purposes of getting into greater harmony with them.

Let's begin with taking a look at your temperament: The key here is that people do have ceratin natural tendencies, ideal rhythms, and so forth. The point is that as I mentioned we tend to override our true feelings.

Some of you have discovered your own natural waking and going-to-sleep time, which may or may not fit with your spouse or other considerations. We’re taught that waking early is noble, early to rise is healthy, wealthy, and rise. Well, it’s a lie—at least for some people. That’s the point here: As you get older you begin to get a sense of all sorts of things because you’ve tried the other ways. But cultural rules, shoulds and oughts die hard. So I’m here to invite you to take stock of your natural preferences of all kinds, and to acknowledge which rules or lifestyles work for you and which over-stress you.

Because folks are different, I can’t be specific and say that travel is great, it’s broadening, everyone should do it. Lots of folks don’t like it and it doesn’t work with them. Some folks in our age group are still trying to get clear on this. Should we try to do all the things we are told are part of the cool, fashionable, mature, or just exciting things that everyone else is doing?  But you aren’t everyone else, and in certain ways what fits for your life style may not fit for others.

For example, there’s temperament, and it’s worth learning about your own, identifying your most natural way to function. During the industrial era people were treated pretty much as replaceable parts in a machine, in a factory, and in school, too, kids were all expected to be able to learn everything well, and according to the teaching methods of the teacher.

We now know that there are people—and kids—who perform much better, think much better, relate to life better, if they align with their body rhythms, of whether they do better getting up earlier or later in the morning. The popular way to talk about these are in the analogy to the birds, larks (for the morning) and owls, for night-owls. Are any of you night-owls who do better if you can sleep later and hit your stride more in the afternoon or evening? Or married to anyone like this? And then there are some who really enjoy getting up early, and tend to hit the sack earlier, too. This is temperament, and society still isn’t oriented to having different kinds of folks.

Those who like it cooler or warmer, those who like the seashore or the mountains. Help me out here, because this theme applies to all manner of people. Introvert or extravert—Carl Jung was one of the first depth psychologists who noted that people really have different temperaments...though other psychologists also note this fact.  Google temperament– there are various schemes that claim that there are four main kinds, or nine, or some other set. I don’t think that the mind fits neatly into any particular scheme, but some sets may be more or less useful for you.

Analyzing your temperament is not exactly a matter of strength or weakness. There is relatively little you can do to take remedial action. Part of the art of life is to discover your innate temperament and work out ways of harmonizing with it.

It turns out that a few of you have married or been raised with parents or compared with siblings who had different temperaments than you. Some were more quiet, obedient, and you were perhaps too rambunctious for them. Some who have been married more than once and perhaps (not necessarily) happier the second time discovered that certain kinds of temperamental compatibility counts more than whatever the criterion was that you were using for choosing a spouse when you were much younger. Some of you have found that you can’t fight your natural preferences and have to live in a climate that fits your temperature and humidity comfort zone.

Abilities and Disabilities

Another set of themes is your various areas of strength and weakness. One of the best pieces of advice I read was that we should find out what we don’t do well and not do it. Delegate it if at all possible. Play to your strengths. Sometimes you have to compromise, but the beauty of this concept is that it goes against the way we were raised: That we should be good at everything if we just try. There are certain things I do quite well, and other things that I do poorly. Some I could perhaps bring up to a middling level, but why try? Some I need to try, but some I don’t. This idea of discovering strengths and weaknesses and opening our mind to self-acceptance has a lot of value.

It applies in marriages and families, too. If there are certain skills that come easily to you, there’s a tendency to assume that others will be able to do it easily, also. I mean, how hard can it be? It turns out that this is one of the egocentric attitudes that our culture’s blindness to individual differences made worse. It would be better to have classes on individual difference in middle school, and to recognize differences in learning style, cognitive style, ability—and to use this also with vocational counseling. It would appeal to the desire of that age for self-knowledge, and it might soften the ubiquitous sense of inferiority and competitiveness that arrives with the developmental emergence of a certain level of self-consciousness at that age. The point to build in is that it’s okay to be good at some things and not-good at others. Some of you again have had to work this out in marriage. One dances well, the other doesn’t; or directions—one has a fairly good sense of direction—who here knows which way is north?—and others don’t.


Most people are marginal in a whole bunch of ways, and folks have been brainwashed to think that they are better than they are in how well they drive, how well they do their job, etc. Taking that driver education course every few years is an eye-opener to how subtly careless and over-confident I tend to become. How good are you really, and can you handle a good friend telling you the truth? What if you’re not that good and could do with some extra training?

There’s a balance here. In some ways it may be fine to accept being mediocre. There’s a shift in the old rule book. You want to re-think how many ways you can improve your skill within the finite realities of time and energy and priorities.

Another thing about skills. Back to Charlie Brown: He’s made out to be from the start a particularly inept person in a variety of skill areas—especially regarding competition. I wonder how many people notice that he’s peculiarly gifted in a certain way. Any guesses?  Yes, he is able to bounce back, to cheer up, to open to happiness and trying again in a way that is quite out of character. On one hand it makes the play as far from the realities of child psychology as Snoopy acting as a real dog. Dogs don’t really act like Snoopy. Don’t get me wrong—I love Snoopy, and in some ways want to grow up to be like him. I love his flagrant willingness to fantasize!  Back to Charlie Brown. It occurred to me that he excels spiritually. He renews his faith. It may be too much of a reach to say he’s a hidden Christ-figure as a literary symbol, but sports is not his metier, his strength area—and what the play—and playwrights too, perhaps—because they represent the mass culture---miss is that winning really truly is not everything.

The point is to learn to accept with good humor the ways you have your own ways of being in the world.


Another aspect of individuality is the way that you have developed your own tastes in food, music, art, dance, home decoration, and so forth.

In a similar way, here’s another category—particuliar tastes and images. We can’t explain all this, and it’s okay. Some of the things you’ve become interested in early or later in life, favorite types of music, art, certain historical eras, people, countries... And the point is to honor this in yourself and others, to realize this is part of individuality. You don’t need to be able to give reasons for it, or ask others to justify their liking of this or that subject or sport. The point is to know this category exists and it’s useful for conversations.

I have on my website a paper on individuality and I mention these categories. Part of self-awareness is to gradually get to know aspects of these in yourself. Take your time—a comprehensive analysis may not be helpful if thought of as once and for all time—I suspect folks shift during their lifetimes in some areas. The point is just to be able to talk about with others, and the second point is to notice that you may have felt at one point—or still—a bit defensive or embarrassed about your own profile. I might call them quirks, but that suggests that they are very very eccentric, and my point is to dissolve this kind of thinking. Learn to celebrate your uniqueness.

Historical and Cultural Influences

The fourth category is important from several angles—this is the influence of your cultural, sub-cultural, historical, and family background. One angle is that comparing backgrounds can be helpful for identifying tastes and ideas—how they fit with or contrasted with the preferences of your culture, religion, age group, historical era.

Another angle is to use your background to re-examine prejudices, biases, not just cultural or racial, but also historical. We grew up with values that might not be the same as those of our kids or grandkids, and I keep finding certain things that I sort of took for granted that, on reflection, were outmoded. For example, several years ago I was wanting my kids to participate in an extended family get-together. It would have cost us a lot of money and it became clear that neither they nor their cousins—mostly second cousins—shared this value that I got from my family. I realized that we live in a more mobile culture and kinship is not the basis for relevance in social connection. This varies among families, but the point is that I was holding to an out of fashion value.

The key point is not to agree or discard values—as I’ve said a couple of times—that’s something you’re free to do at the end of consciously re-evaluating the situation. (That song by Fagin in Oliver—I’m re-thinking the situation...).. The key is becoming aware of the different nooks and crannies in yourself so you can even become aware that certain assumptions may no longer apply.

In our changing world, the need to re-examine assumptions becomes ever-more relevant. We meet more people from different cultures, different lifestyles. There’s also a category that tends to be avoided, but it is real: Class. This is fuzzy, because it’s not just money, but way-of-life. There are people with more money who think more like a lower class; and people who have less income but they operate with middle-class values. Occasionally you hear of the aristocratic poor person, who depends on the kindness of strangers—I’ve read a few stories, but not encountered any. Point is that there are whole sets of tastes and expectations that clash—I read an article about new money—the nouveau riche— and their tastes and styles, and how they’re moving into neighborhoods where old money, more established ways of being—has lived, and what the impact has been. Changes in the South, from old south and new south, are not exactly class, but sort of.
Deep preference and prejudices.

Prejudices are interesting. These may be a mixture of temperament, tastes, and cultural pressures. They’re not easy to change, or at least some of the thoughts associated with them. Class, values, desire for learning, middle class, overlap.  

Smoking, loudness or edge of voice, tattoos, swearing, etc. For some, race, this is part of the process of generalization. If you’ve been traumatized, beaten up, teased, or even just intimidated by any class of people, or terrorized or propagandized—told that they are all dangerous— as some sub-cultures have taught their kids about variously catholics, jews, white people, any other race, religion, ethnicity,— it becomes difficult to open to anyone associated with that category. It’s not impossible, but it is difficult, or in some cases, with some groups, easy—

Back to our own historical background. There are a number of wonderful and interesting qualities in being born in this era, advantages that people in the past didn’t have, and in some ways advantages even over younger people born more recently. But there are a certain percentage of those elements that aren’t so great—if for no other reason than they impress themselves on our minds as the way things are and, worse, should be. But not if you really think about it.

Which rules did kids growing up in the mid-20th century —inner rules— which ones were good and which ones were not so good. There’s the don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater process here. I’ll speak for myself to warm us up and hope you’ll throw in some too. The category is about cultural influences that were historically based: There are tons of them. I used to think that patriotism was great; went through a mid-point in my life where is was okay, but nothing to get sentimental about—and of course the whole country was in an uproar around the Vietnam era about whether patriotism meant supporting the government’s foreign policy—and then coming back to a deeper enjoyment of patriotism even when again lots of people didn’t agree with certain government policies.  Cursing was another back and forth thing—for a while from the late 50s through the 70s cussing was cool in certain regions. This I’ve found to be still true in other parts of the world and among certain generational groups and classes. But again I’ve pulled back—partly from traveling among a wider mix of folks, and now feel uncomfortable with the free use of what used to be called dirty words.   So it’s not all rebellion, it’s more present-oriented conscious choice.

Here’s a rule in my rule book that was pretty common: I should get all As, and by implication, I should be great in every way. I could be, too, if I just tried hard enough, and there was no upper limit on how hard I should try. That one caused me some grief, because I’ve discovered that some things come much easier to some people than others—it’s called talent, or different kinds of intelligence. I’ve replaced that rule with a sort of turn-about: Discover what you do not do well and if at all possible, don’t do it. Avoid it if it isn’t important. Or if it is necessary, Delegate it out, pay someone to do it—it will be well worth the money!

Looking back, 34% of my neuroses weren’t personal but cultural, outmoded rules or rules that were overly general, mistaken, or in other ways wrong to begin with. A lot of what we called common sense was really more collective prejudice. Two hundred years earlier, slavery was culturally okay—at least to most people. One hundred years ago the status of women was still pretty iffy, half subjugated. And it was oppression because most women bought in and could hardly think of a way it should be different.

Could the way we run our schools be less than perfect? Dare we imagine alternatives? What about the way we run our—dare I say it—religion? Oh, of course, we don’t run it, religion is determined by God. Wait—that’s denying that religion might in fact be determined by the way actual people—mainly older men—INTERPRET the writings of other older men who interpreted the writings of other older men several times over about what they thought God said or did. Can we dare revise what we choose to believe considering what we’ve learned and what needs to be paid attention to today?

One of the things I learned was history—but it was taught as the way things happened and how great we were—which denied or numbed our mind from considering that there are a lot of the ways we run our country that might—just might—be done better if done differently—what and how and how much we tax, how we vote, the electoral college, etc.— can these be re-evaluated? I didn’t know these were choices we are continuing to make by pretending the decision has been made by those who know better than us. Maybe—just maybe—they, our elected representatives—don’t always know better. Maybe some should be voted out and others voted in. This was not part of our high school education. This realm of preferences also will be discussed in the next lecture on social connectedness. 

Intuition, Dreams, Synchronicity

The last topic to be discussed today is one I’ve become more interested in—the place of intuition and imagination, dreams and psychic experiences. When I grew up all this was nonsense. Or the Freudians had these all reduced to forms of neurotic complex. A sad and funny thing about a flexible enough system like psychology is that it can manage to explain to its own satisfaction just about anything. That’s why they were called shrinks. I’m an expander, and my goal is to help clients discover aspects that I may not be able to understand or explain, nor do I feel obligated to do so, nor do I think that they must be explained in order to be practically utilized in life.

There’s a good book in the Austin Library that helped me articulate all this, titled the Three Only Things—intuition, dreams, and meaningful coincidences—Jung called them “synchronicities” – meaning occurring at the same time, syn toghether as in symphony   and chronos, time. All this was marginalized, pushed to the margins, don’t pay any attention to it. If we can’t pin down whether it was fully factual, materially real, then we tended to dismiss it as unworthy of being considered. Dreams, intuitions, meaningful coincidences—you’ve all had them.

Here’s where I bridge slightly into the sixth lecture—because one of the key themes of self awareness is that you may be even more than you thought you were.

We’re taught to identify with our conscious self. The Freudians tended to treat the unconscious as mainly where you stuff stuff that you don’t want to know about—what I talked about as repression. And that’s true, but it’s only a small part of the unconscious. There’s another much much bigger part, that operates as the source also of insights, breakthroughs, spontaneity, creativity—and part of self-awareness in my opinion involves getting to know that it’s there and it can be valuable.

Now the trouble with all this stuff is that it’s neither good or bad in itself, but becomes such depending on what you make of it. The conscious part tends to deal with this material in a more or less aware manner, and to impose its own expectations on what is experienced. The art of self-awareness is also an artful opening. It’s learning to take a stance of curiosity but not literal credulity: You don’t have to believe every hunch or dream or vision that comes along.

I spoke in the past lectures how the mind tends to get lazy and want someone else to be the parent, make the hard decisions, not have to take responsibility and perhaps blame if it goes wrong. This is not only somewhat childish, but also is the slave mentality, and it is very pervasive among adults. It wants answers, it feels entitled to them, and is willing to think of situations as punishments for bad behavior or thoughts rather than opportunities to re-think and re-plan our ideas about who we are and what we need to do next.

About dreams, I’m closer to Jung. It may be that they’re just brain stories, but I find that they are rich enough to be in the role of little artsy movies played by my unconscious—with the variation that sometimes I’m in these stories, and my emotional reactions—whether I feel excited or frightened, sexually or romantically turned on or alienated and despairing—these are also clues. I find the most useful way to relate to dreams is that I imagine that my subconscious mind is trying to tell me things.

Now I don’t know about you, but reading doesn’t work. I not infrequently enjoy looking at newpaper comic strips in dreams, but I can’t actually read the words. My dream-masters know that they can’t tell me in analytic terms what my situation is, so they construct a story, an image, that can break through my mental scattered-ness. I sometimes talk about these images with my wife and in talking about them—self-dream-analysis—with input also from Allee— I start realizing that the dream-masters are doing a “This is Your Life” trip on me—remember that 1950s television show—was it with Art Linkletter?—

Point is that dream work can enhance the personal journey.

Intuitions can also be a subtle source of self-awareness. The lessons are less clear, but it’s more a life style, a habit of thinking that you’re developing, so that you include in your view of yourself and your life a richer fabric of inputs.


The mind is vast and there are many things of which we can become aware. I spoke of motives, and also the more foolish ways we can cope with conflicts among our motives, or with less mature motives. Today we’ll talk about some other ways of looking at the complexities of self.

I consider the journey to self-awareness as one which can last a lifetime, and it’s okay not to come to final answers. The key is to get a sense of what you can change and perhaps should try to, and what perhaps you shouldn’t try that hard to change.   EndBody Cues
The field of nonverbal communications is rich, and the point to be made here is that we not only communicate with others with the way we stand or sit, our expressions, our voice tone, but we also communicate unconsciously to ourselves. To feel more powerful or brave, we take on a facial expression, "attitude," that we unconsciously believe will intimidate others. To communicate a socially placating attitude, we may compulsively smile or hold our head at a slight angle. The problem is that some of these behaviors are learned in childhood and continue on automatically. Sometimes they're adaptive in the here-and-now, and you might want to continue to use them, at least in certain roles. But almost certainly there are other roles where you do not want to do these behaviors, and indeed may want to learn the opposite behaviors! Role flexibility includes your repertoire of nonverbal communications. The other key principle is that every time you do these behaviors your body-mind reinforces certain feelings and thoughts that go with that early reaction pattern. (The term "complex" implies that a reaction pattern might include a variety of memories, feelings, body postures, associated thoughts, and other associations, all mixed together.) To learn more about the various nonverbal communications, look over my website that discusses their different forms.