The final part in our module on self-awareness relates to how am I perceived by the people around me. There is often a gap between how I perceive myself and how I’m perceived by others. For our meditation practice, it is important to close this gap as it reduces internal discord and consequently quietens our minds. The paradox here is that we are typically less concerned with how people perceive us, when the gap between our own perceptions and those of others is narrow. The paradox being that one must elicit feedback from others to know that that gap is small.

In this exercise, we are only going to focus on our communication as one aspect of who we are and how we are perceived by others. If we were to do this exercise in full, we would look at values, strengths and weaknesses. For this meditation program however, the precursor to the practice, all we’re going to do is focus on how we communicate. How our communication lands or how our communication is perceived by others.


For this exercise, choose a partner who you are close to and who you respect. It could be your spouse, a sibling or a good friend. Someone whose feedback you would value. Importantly, it needs to be someone who will give you honest feedback, not simply feedback that you would be comfortable hearing. Regardless of the feedback you receive, it will be someone that you will still love and they will still love you.

In this exercise, there are only two things to do.

Firstly, ask yourself these 2 questions and write down your answers. Take your time and be honest with yourself.

1. What do I think I’m good at when it comes to communicating;

a) with my partner (for this feedback exercise) and,

b) with people generally.

2. What do I think I can improve on when it comes to communicating?

a) with my partner and,

b) with people generally.

Secondly, after you have completed this for yourself, ask your partner the same two questions:

1. What do you think I’m good at when communicating;

a) with you and,

b) with people generally.

2. What do you think I can improve on when it comes to communicating

a) with you and,

b) with people generally.

Your partner can write down their answers, but they needn’t. They can simply communicate them to you verbally when they have given the questions some thought. You then simply calibrate their responses with your own. The important thing to remember here, is not to be defensive. You have asked them to give honest feedback. Arguing with them or making them wrong is not particularly helpful. If the feedback you receive is difficult, simply thank them and ask them to give you some time to process it.