Awareness is fundamental to mental health. The word awareness is used consistently throughout the Life Momentum lessons for that very reason. It is the foundation for all other actions. Utilizing awareness as the first tool out of your toolbox will help you connect to and act upon feelings, ideas, and situations you deal with every day. A lack of awareness is apparent when we take in and absorb only the information we think we can tolerate. This is your brain protecting you from information or realities you are not prepared to face.
The opposite of awareness is avoidance, a familiar and ineffective coping tactic. One of my favorite researchers, therapist John Briere, writes about the “pain paradox”. Briere puts forth the idea that the more we avoid things, the less pain we have. This tactic actually fosters more pain in the long run, though. Briere continues this theme by pointing out the optimal avoidance of pain (meaning you can avoid enough to get through your day) can be useful for a period of time and in some circumstances, but you also have to begin making progress on what it is you are avoiding. This is where the Awareness tool comes into play.
On a personal note, before I discovered the Dave Ramsey FPU online program, Financial Peace University, I was adept at avoidance when it came to money issues. I had no idea what I spent my money on or why I never seemed to have enough! On a scale of 1 to 10, my awareness was zero. After working the Ramsey program, I adopted an “envelope system” (visually handling and seeing where my money was going), and my awareness jumped to 10. I knew where EVERY dollar of my paycheck was going. I HATED THIS! It was so hard for me. I was angry and grouchy about it. It reminded me of my childhood, being raised by my very frugal parents. The newfound awareness was difficult to accept, and I was very uncomfortable with it. However, eventually I became aware of how much I had been avoiding my financial responsibilities and realized what a huge mess I had to clean up. I finally accepted the notion that avoidance actually does cause more pain than awareness.