Are we also looking for ourselves?

Bringing self-awareness to mind, in a conversation, enables us to be more intentional about where we go next.

Conversations can be an opportunity for us to practice self-awareness. This of course involves a delicate balance of being “in” the conversation enough to be a good conversation partner, while also being an observer of the conversation—observing both our contributions and our partner’s contributions.

I can’t image that as an interrogator or an interviewer, you aren’t also in part looking for yourself. I don’t think that we really can penetrate people very much, but we can form imaginings about them and then we relate to them.

~ David Cornwell from the film, The Pidgeon Tunnel

The effect Cornwell is pointing to is more prominent for documentary film-makers; That’s who he was speaking to in that quote.

But for us regular people doing regular-day things, we are also interested in truthfully exploring our world. In even the most banal conversation with our closest friend or family member, we don’t (I hope!) set out distort our perceptions. We may be distracted, but we are listening to the best of our ability in the moment.

Bringing self-awareness to mind enables us to be more intentional about where we go next. In every conversation we face a delightfully-enormous number of options for where to go next, and that additional bit of self-awareness enables us to make intentional choices.

When we have one of those conversations that didn’t seem to go as deep as we feel it should have: Could we have been more self-aware? Could we have been more intentional?


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