Topic 2: Self-Awareness – Theoretical Background

  • Self-Awareness concerns knowing one’s internal states (feelings and emotions), one’s resources (strengths and weaknesses); one’s preferences (drives, values, prejudices) and one’s needs and impact on others. When working in the field of democratisation and anti-radicalisation it is extremely important to understand values and prejudices and how they affect our feelings and emotions and our behaviour.
  • Disadvantaged young people who have experienced difficult phases in their lives and/or border violations often have little contact with their own feelings. They have ‘locked away’ a part of their own feelings and cut off access to them (often a necessary survival mechanism, as the feelings would have made them unable to act and live)
  • In practice, this often manifests itself as follows: if you ask these young people about feelings they know, they will answer for example: normal, good, bad – they cannot name other feelings even after further inquiry. When working with them, it is important to deal with the topic of feelings in a variety of ways.
  • Those who learn to feel and name their own feelings more easily can also develop empathy and recognize, resonate and empathize with their own feelings.