Self Awareness Paper
My name is Douglas Wasserman. I am a 44 year old Caucasian Male that was born in Brooklyn New York on January 7, 1970. I come from a Jewish family background. My immediate family has never been religious. We do not eat kosher foods and rarely go to Temple to pray. That does not mean we are not a spiritual family. I was taught to believe in God as a loving entity that has a purpose for me in my life. I now recognize that my purpose is to teach Health and Physical Education to children that require special needs. In order to continue with this career I need to identify myself as an ethical and moralistic individual so I can be an influence to the students. This paper that I am writing will help me point out specific characteristics and behaviors that would be beneficial as well as harmful to my career as a Health counselor. Self awareness is an essential tool to improve personal function. It involves recognition of personality as well as what our strengths and weaknesses are. Coping with our insecurities and weakness will improve stress management and relieve tension from overwhelming situations. It is very important to understand what makes us vulnerable so we can find strength to move on positively. There are different areas that I need to be aware of such as emotional intelligence and personal values. Knowing this allows me to evaluate myself and predict how I will react to specific situations. In my life I have had difficult experiences and was able to grow stronger by dealing with them in a positive way. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage oneself and to build healthy relationships with others. This is necessary for me to be able to take care of myself. Upon taking an online test, I learned that I am a person who knows how to control my emotions so I do not get angry when someone threatens me or says something degrading. Allowing other people to make me react in an angry manner will jeapordize my ability to help others as well as myself. In a healthy relationship, a person can be critical with positive intentions to help me change something about myself that can make me grow stronger. That is where emotional intelligence fits in to my life. Without this important characteristic, I could not perform consequential thinking to influence my actions to make healthy decisions. As a child growing up in Brooklyn I was one of the youngest and smallest in primary school. This was an issue that affected me because I felt as though I needed to fit in with the rest of the guys. I was insecure. I got involved in activities such as gymnastics, BMX jumping and Break Dancing to challenge myself. Most of the stunts and acrobatics that I performed were dangerous. I know now that I am a risk taker which could hinder me in my career as a counselor because I need to understand issues about children with special needs. These students might have similar insecurities that I had. I do not want them to do dangerous things to impress their peers as I did because they may not be capable. This could cause them to hurt themselves or others. Today I am aware of my risk taking behavior which I still have. I realize that I take chances with my life when I surf big, heavy waves during winter storms. I am getting older and need to use emotional intelligence when I attempt dangerous scenarios. Adrenaline can be a healthy energy to tap into. I will identify the risk and make a rational decision when hurricane swells come through Rockaway Beach this fall. If waves are more than 15 feet I will sit it out until the swell fades. I actually felt fear in Nicaragua this summer when waves became overwhelmingly big. I was able to perform consequential thinking and pass. Safety is the most important thing to me now that I am Teaching and have more responsibility as a Teacher. I want to be able to help students make safe decisions which will make them stronger, healthier and happier in their lives and I need to practice what I preach. I was able to recognize through an online emotional intelligence test that I have patience and understanding in stressful situations. Dealing with anger is a very important characteristic because if a person reacts frustrated or violently when someone makes them angry then there is no control of emotion. This will lead to destructive behavior which is not safe for them or other people around them. I learned to talk about my anger issues with a friend or trusted person. That will alleviate frustration and stress. The quiz asks questions based on my ways of dealing with others and how I show emotions. Clearly I am comfortable showing compassion and sensitivity to others as well as showing true emotion. Another test that I performed online was a stress test which is compatible with my discussion about emotional intelligence. I was asked a series of questions about events that may have happened to me within the past few months such as death in the family, loss of a job, change in my health and other stressful scenarios. I have not experienced any of these situations currently but have gone through one experience that I can discuss that was very stressful. My Father had Cancer and was sick and suffering for a few months before he passed away. This was a stressful time in my life. I learned that I needed to let out my true emotions which were sadness. I cried when I watched the doctor place a tube down his throat to keep him breathing in order for him to stay alive. My cousin, and Brother were there to lean on during my sad reaction. I felt better to have let out these feelings of sadness. Eventually he passed away and I continued to show my emotions as well as talk about the feelings to my friends and family. Because of the way I chose to deal with those feelings, I overcame the grief and grew stronger. I realized that my Dad was better off dead. He had a great life and taught me how to be responsible and strong. I was able to grow as an adult and make better progress in school and work because I felt as though he would be most happy that I became a better person. I would definitely be able to help others to identify their feelings in order to grow from them by choosing to talk instead of react stressfully. Stress can lead to serious health problems such as sickness and mental depression. Emotional Intelligence is a necessary characteristic and strategy to utilize when we go through horrible experiences in life such as the one that I just discussed. Besides talking about sad, stressful experiences, I became stronger by exercising. This is a healthy and positive way to let out aggression. I always feel better mentally and spiritually after the gym or surfing. I would like to discuss a questionnaire that I filled out online. This particular form asked questions pertaining to how well I would know myself. I analyzed the results of my answers and came to the conclusion that I am calm and tranquil when it comes to dealing with unfairness or sarcasm from others. I know that my personality is such that I keep pleasant at all times because I am confident with myself. I believe others have their own insecurities that lead them to lash out or degrade people. As a teenager, I was teased for being Jewish not only by non Jewish people, but by Orthodox Jews as well. This made me feel inadequate. I chose to deal with this by working out in the gym as well as learning Martial Arts. I never used violence to harm people that prejudged me. I chose to compete in tournaments so others would know that I am taking good care of myself physically. I mentioned that I am a risk taker. Well, I always felt as though I had to prove myself and show off unique skills. This helped me to pay no mind to the bullying and teasing I went through. I believe this is a positive move that I made about dealing with insecurities because the training made me very disciplined. I am aware of myself so I will not let words harm me anymore. I became more honest about my feelings and am not ashamed of being wrong. I can use others criticism to take an outside look at myself in order to change faulty characteristics. One of my biggest problems is that I tend to become passive in forming new relationships. I am comfortable being alone. I would like to socialize and interact more with people so I can form new friendships. I do have a group of friends that I surf with on weekends and leisure time, but I feel that making new friends could benefit me by expanding my contacts as well as social life. I would like to know more about what others like to do for fun and excitement. I feel that in New York City it is the norm for people to be so busy and socialize with a group of people that they are comfortable with. I want to go outside my comfort zone and form new social groups. The most frequent negative feelings in my life have to do with associating with people that have a lot of money. This is an uncomfortable scenario for me. I want to overcome the insecurity of not being in the same financial category as others so I can interact with them. I have been a Paraprofessional for 6 years and never made attempts to socialize with people in the upper class. Now that I became a Teacher my income is better so I feel that I should challenge this fear. Upper class people is also the population group that I would be most uncomfortable working with. The reason is that I feel inadequate that I started to change my life late in life to become better educated in order to start a career as a Teacher. Most upper class people had been more responsible as a High School student. I did not graduate High School because I started working as a Personal Trainer as a Teenager. I made enough money and had a fun job so I thought of training as a career then. As I got older, I realized that there were not enough benefits while working in the Gym. Getting new clients became tedious, and the income was never consistent. Becoming a Paraprofessional helped me to go back to College to change my career. I am so proud of myself so far for making this decision. Graduating York College had been the one defining moment in my life because it made me feel that I overcame many obstacles in order to fix my life. I felt as though I accomplished a goal that would change my life for the better. My feelings of inadequacy were diminished to a great extent. I now have to complete Lehman College to further overcome inadequate feelings. I would like to share an issue that made me very angry when I was 35 years old. I had been married for 4 years and found out that my wife was seeing another person. I agree that we had some differences that separated us such as hobbies and lifestyles. I was surfing and she was dancing Flamenco. I thought married couples should have different interests. I was willing to go to her performances and support her in her instruction. We even went for counseling sessions as well. Unfortunately, she seemed to dislike my compassion for the ocean. Eventually, she became close with her dance instructor enough to fall in love with him. I noticed the change in our lives were because of this. I became very angry and felt as though she should move in with him. I wanted to move on and continue with my goals to finish school. When she finally moved out of the apartment, I was more upset because I felt as though I lost a friend as well as my wife. I t was summer time and school was over for the semester. I chose to go out to dance clubs to deal with the feeling of being alone. I fell into a weekend routine of going to clubs. I was much happier when I was surfing early mornings on the weekends after a hard week of working and schoolwork. Being off from work and school made it easier to allow myself to fall into this “nitelife” experience. I realized towards the end of that summer that I was missing out on what I truly had compassion for. Surfing is much better than wasting my days on sleeping because I was coming home so late. I wound up looking forward to going back to work and school. I got myself back on structure and began to surf again on weekends. Today if I go through another experience of breaking up a relationship, I will be knowledgeable of what I went through when I chose to deal with it by going to clubs. I would rather take a trip to another surf spot and enjoy my alone time. Recently I went to Costa Rica as well as Nicaragua. Now I need to break out of being too comfortable being alone. (Laughing) I asked a close friend of mine to identify a most negative trait and most positive trait that he recognized in me. The most negative trait that Kazuhiro mentioned is the fact that I spend too much money on unimportant things when I should be saving to go away on vacations or for more important things. I understand that because I have 5 different surfboards and really only need two. I seem to have a habit of buying new surfboards. Everytime I bang one up I like to sell it and spend money on a brand new one when I can just repair the broken one. Since I have been a teenager I always look to buy more toys to make me happy. This is still an issue in my life I believe especially snce my closest friend is pointing it out to me. My Father used to get mad at me when he was alive as well. He never agreed with the way I spent my money. I have become better financially since I started the new Teacher position, but I still need to be conscious of the way I am budgeting myself because I do spend way too much money on outside food and extra toys. My Brother always tells me the same thing because he wants me to cook food at home instead of buying from outside. I definitely need to slow down on spending so I can afford a more secure lifestyle in the future. My friend Kazuhiro also let me know that he feels that I am very disciplined. He told me that he admires that I set goals and always accomplish them. Not only have I been very successful at staying fit and healthy but I am continuing to meet my goals at work and school. I feel very good that I have a close friend that can be honest enough to point out negative things that need to be addressed. This is important because not only being aware of my self can help me improve but when others can let me know how I’m doing from the outside looking in, this is the best way to fix traits and behaviors that I would not be able to see by myself. In conclusion self awareness is the most relevant way to change unwanted behaviors. Recognizing how I would react if someone or something makes me angry is the key to choosing a positive action. As I mentioned in this paper, I have insecurities and some feelings of inadequacy that hinders me from forming new relationships with people. Understanding this about myself is going to trigger me to challenge a fear by looking for people that make me feel uncomfortable so I can start a conversation with them. I really was able to take a deep look at my past as a child while writing this paper. I can see where these feelings of inadequacy must have started. Knowing that I tend to try to prove myself by taking risks in order to show off or look good tells me that my conversation or actions should be tranquil and about things that would be appreciated not because they are hard and challenging but because they are positive and common. I have created a personal value that I want to be like for who I am as a person and not for what I can do.