Updated: Aug 12, 2019
I don’t know about you but when the subject of self-awareness comes up, I get a little “meep” in my belly. I would like to think that after years of therapy and all the self-work I have done that my awareness of who I authentically am would come a lot more smoothly. What I find is that somehow we are all really aware of what others expect of us – our family, our friends, our society, everyone and everything in our outside world. But how much do we really know who we are? Are we truly happy? Are we satisfied? Are we lonely? Are my relationships genuinely meaningful? Our my needs being met?
Self-awareness isn’t this “one thing” defined or a magic wand. Self-awareness is rooted in our willingness to see ourselves clearly while being gentle with ourselves. Because what usually happens is that as soon as we start seeing the things we don’t like, we begin to beat ourselves up, and then shut it all down. It is being able to identify and manage our feelings as they show up. It’s paying attention to our thoughts without passing judgements on ourselves. It’s listening to our needs, being able to identify what’s important to us, and being at peace with what we desire. It’s being able to verbalize what we need, regardless of whether or not I will get it. It’s paying attention to our bodies and remaining present even in moments of stress. (“Checking out” is really a thing, folks! We’ll talk more about this later.) It’s allowing ourselves to sit with it even when “it” is uncomfortable.
Throughout this process, it is important that we write down all the things that come up. Write down our feelings, make note of our answers to different exercises and questions, jot down our random thoughts. (If having a paper journal isn’t your thing, the notes app on your cell phone works great and is always with us!) Writing is a wonderful practice to incorporate into our daily routine. It creates an opportunity for us to establish a habit of listening to ourselves, to our inner voice and document it so that we have baselines and reference points. It fosters a deeper understanding of ourselves, our thoughts, our beliefs, and creates an awareness of what beliefs or thoughts actually belong to us and what we have internalized as ours that actually belong to someone else.
So where do we start, right? Set some goals. Have a plan, a direction, have a short-term and a long term goal – what do I want out of this? Having clarity on this will serve as a beacon when things seem and feel a little blurry. They will get blurry. We will feel like we're losing sight. This is all part of the process. Breathe. As we become clear on our likes, dislikes, on what truly makes us happy, we are able to make decisions that move us in the direction of our true selves. Knowing who we authentically are and being conscious of honoring ourselves “is” the journey.
Throughout the month, we will be sharing different activities, prompts, thoughts, challenges to keep us going. We are here with you.
To keep reading on where to go from here, click here.