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What does living consciously mean to you? If I asked 20 different people what it means to live a conscious life, I’m sure I’d get twenty different answers.

One person might say living consciously is living simply and leaving a light footprint on the Earth; another would say it’s about being mindful in all our relationships; another would put their focus on being authentic and expressing their truth; and yet another would emphasize living their passion and giving their unique gifts to the collective well being.

You see, to a certain extent it depends where we’re starting from and there’s room for all our differences. For me, there’s a central core to living consciously and a very important aspect is the freedom to choose. We don’t always have a choice about what life throws at us but we do always have a choice about how we respond to life in each moment, and these moment to moment choices create our experience, here and now and in the future.

To put it very simply, we either make unconscious choices or we can make conscious choices. Unconscious choices come from our conditioned mind, they’re habitual and they give us more of what we’ve had before. This may be a certain level of comfort or a quick fix as provided by comfort foods or a glass of wine for example, or it may be a repetition of old drama which keeps us stuck in familiar misery. We repeat these unconscious choices over and over until we start to wake up and become more conscious.

Conscious choices bring our thoughts and actions into alignment with our authentic values; with what will ultimately bring us real satisfaction and fulfillment.  Conscious choices lead to learning, growth, and the opportunity to create something new and fresh.

Let me give you an example. This week I met a young man; his relationship with his partner of several years had become so difficult for both of them, they had decided to part. He was very angry; the immediate pain of losing this relationship was stirring up old childhood pain of feeling abandoned by his parents and he wanted to hurt himself and punish his parents, his partner and his child. Luckily, he made a conscious choice and sought out his long term friend and mentor who encouraged him to see the situation as a new beginning, full of opportunities.

If he wants to free himself from this unconscious pattern of feeling abandoned and wanting to punish he will need to make not just one but many conscious choices, every day. These deeply engrained patterns do not easily go away, as we all know. But knowing that we have a choice immediately frees us from being a victim of our past. It may not be easy to change old patterns but it is possible.

Relationships are the mirrors in which we can see our conditioned limiting patterns most clearly. When things don’t work out in a relationship or we feel hurt, it’s human nature to blame the other person. If only they would change, then everything would be OK, right? But actually it’s much more empowering to see everything that happens in all your relationships as information about you and how you can be different. Then the power and the responsibility is in your hands. You cease to be the victim of other’s behavior and become the leader in your own life. This is freedom!

– As the special guest on Donna Marie Thompson’s Bouncing Back Now show on the Real Coaching Radio TV Network, Dr. Doron Gil, a university teacher and counselor specializing in self-awareness and relationships in the Netherlands shared his message that “developing a deep sense of self-awareness is important to managing relationships – be they romantic or otherwise.”

In ‘The Self-Awareness Guide to a Successful Intimate Relationship’ Dr. Gil asserts that: “Most people are not aware that they are unaware. How could they possibly know?” Dr. Gil leaves all of the psychobabble behind to explore the intricate details of intimate relationships and healthy relationship communications. “And as it turns out, we are not doing so well. The divorce rate is just one indicator. And sadly the trend appears to be increasing among recent retirees,” he remarked.

Watch the 15 minute show preview:

According to Dr. Gil: “If you don’t know what you are doing or why you are doing it – just how successful do you think you will be in your interactions with others? We become imprinted with default tendencies as children by our parents, teachers, and other influencers. To some extent these patterns have served us; to some extent they have hindered us – sometimes in a major way. This can be a major block to our happiness later in life. Do you know what your default patterns are? Do you avoid conflict? Do you cause conflict?”

Dr Gil assured viewers that there is hope. He indicated that: “you can break free of your reflexive patterns after you become aware of them. The next time you are in a lively discussion with your love – the discussion that you’ve had many many times before – there is a valuable opportunity to learn. Step back and analyze your role in it.”

To clarify further what are the keys to self awareness in relationships, Dr. Gil posed these four questions:

  • “Are you aware of what you are doing and saying?
    · Are you behaving exactly like one of your parents did?
    · Are you behaving exactly the opposite of one of your parents?
    · Do you know how to identify and resolve conflicts in your relationship?”

Based on Dr. Gil’s research: “The answers to these questions can shine a light onto your own patterns – maybe for the first time. Now you are on your way to discovering your default responses. This is the first step on the path to your increased self awareness. You can improve your relationship by becoming more self aware and by breaking destructive patterns. And what a difference it will make in your life.”

For more information visit Dr. Gil’s site: http://self-awareness-and-relationships.blogspot.com

Watch the entire 60 minute program:

Just Say No to the Status Quo TM

Donna Marie Thompson, PhD – The Bouncing Back Now Relationship Coach – is a Certified Professional Coach, a Certified NLP Practitioner, and a Master Practitioner of the Energy Leadership Index. Donna Marie is listed as one of America’s Premier Experts in relationships and personal development. She is the host of the “Bouncing Back Now” show on BlogTalkRadio and on the Real Coaching Radio TV network. Donna Marie has been the featured guest on many radio shows and on the Brian Tracy TV Show as seen on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox affiliates across the country.