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Self-awareness in the journey to finding self

Self-awareness in the journey to finding self

Self-awareness played a critical role for me in the journey to find self. It’s not a destination as such, more on ongoing practice. But one day in my adult life, I realised I wasn’t happy and I didn’t know what would make me happy.

In search of finding self I started exploring who I was and what made me tick. Coinciding with my loss of identity, were a series of traumas which pushed me to breaking point. They were the catalyst I needed to stop wasting my life and to get real with myself. It was time to reconnect with me!

Maybe you can learn from me, not wait until your world comes crashing down, maybe you could implement self-awareness now with the intention of finding yourself and finding new ways to live the life you always wanted to.

What is self-awareness?

Becoming self-aware isn’t hard work, but it does require a willingness to turn inwards. For me it was about being honest with myself and unpacking what was really going on in my life. It was time to connect with who I was.

So what is self-awareness? It is a process of reflection and introspection which enables you to see yourself clearly and with objectivity.

When life is a series of reactions and anger instead of considered responses, it doesn’t take long to feel that life is out of control.

I felt like a billiard ball and someone else, everyone else, had control of the billiard stick except me. And my life was confined to the snooker table. Not very enjoyable!

Self-awareness provides a means to evaluate your thinking and behaviour and to consider how it is impacting your life.

Are you thinking and behaving in a way that is helping you live your best life?

Are you thinking and behaving in ways that is hurting/harming you and maybe others?

Why do you need to become self-aware?

When I wasn’t self-aware, I was operating on automatic thinking mode. I had learned patterns of thinking and behaviour which different experiences in my life had reinforced as well as learned standards for living I had inherited from my family, ancestors, religion, society and culture.

When everything in my life was going well, I was calm and seemed in control of my life. But when the pressure and stress started, I was unable to control my animal instincts to fight or flee.

The end result was a melting pot of thoughts covered in guilt, shame, blame and anger fueled reactive behaviour. Leading to a lack of responsibility for my life with little joy, a lot of emptiness and disconnection.

Self-awareness enabled me to process why I think and act the way I do. This highlighted things I wanted to change about myself.

In the process of learning to be more self-aware, highlighting what I was doing I also started opening doors to why I think and feel the way I do.

It enabled me to explore my beliefs, assumptions I made about people and situations, my values, my standards for living and my history (previous life experiences) and the influence I was unconsciously letting them have on my daily life decisions and the way I thought and behaved. Wow! Now that’s enlightening!

It was like being the celebrity in ‘Who do you think you are?’ except it was exploring my mind not my ancestry. Although I must say digging into my family’s history did help me with my own self-awareness.

Thriving not surviving

Life can be about surviving if you let it. But is surviving enough. I say no! Life to me is about thriving. So if I’m only surviving I want to work out why and work towards thriving. I want to live the life I was born to live.

When it comes to the crunch, you need to ask yourself, “Do I want to keep living my life the way I am?” If the answer is NO, then self-awareness is probably a great place to start. Let self-awareness open you up to new opportunities for your life.

Growing and getting connected

Everyday I aim to grow and get more connected.

Self-awareness helped me to move on from my past. I use it to examine the patterns in my life and find new ways of being. It’s not complete by any means.

Life is about learning and being the best you can be (well that’s my opinion). I’m still learning, always learning how to be more true to who I am. Everyday is about connecting with my higher self or you may say intuition.

Connecting to my intuition means I’m living my life from my heart. I often break into song singing, “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. I have chosen to walk the past less travelled because I have walked many other paths and they didn’t offer joy and happiness.

My journey of self-awareness has been enlightening.

The more I come from my heart, the more true I am to myself and the less influence my ego has on my life (that animal instinct that thinks it rules me!).

mindfulness

Seven tools to help you become more self-aware

Here’s some things I did to become more self-aware. When I reviewed other references similar ideas were presented, so I feel confident mentioning the following.

Mindfulness

It’s easy to live everyday, thinking about the past or future, and not be in the present moment. But if you want to be more self-aware you need to be mindful. This means you have to be focused on what you are doing when you are doing it.

Now for me, my children often say I’m not listening. I know when they say that, I’m not mindful. I’m actually doing something else, and not focused on them. The result is I have no idea what was discussed and the moment was missed.

Multitasking is the enemy of mindfulness. Doing one thing at a time is the key to remaining mindful. However, that doesn’t mean operating in automatic mode. Mindfulness means you are aware of everything you are doing, seeing and saying.

Thinking about being mindful has also highlighted for me what gives me joy. So I seek to do things more often that result in joy and happiness. My priorities have changed as a result of being mindful in my journey of self-awareness.

Journalling

I have to admit I have over 20 full journals just from the last few years. Currently I have three I’m writing in. It’s natural for me to journal because I love to write. My oldest journal is from 1993.

Whenever I become aware of a lingering feeling, thought or situation, I know I am ruminating and its time to journal about my inner feelings. Within minutes, I’m exploring what I feel, why I feel that way and challenging myself to change perspective and develop more understanding.

Self-help books, like Lousie Hay’s, “You Can Heal Your Life” include journal prompts you can use to help you explore different aspects of your thinking and behaviour.

Alone time

When my partner started travelling for work, my life changed not for the worse but for the better. His absence provided opportunity for me to consider alternative activities. I chose more self-care.

This included enjoying one-on-one time with myself.

I started walking in nature, taking salt baths, sitting outside with a good cup of coffee enjoying the view, getting lost in a good book, meditation and even lying on the grass staring at the sky.

When he stopped travelling due to Corona virus I kept applying my self-care as it was key to staying connecting with myself. And with my new awareness I want to ensure I maintain balance and harmony.

It is easy to slip back into old habits, so a daily schedule can be a great way to remind yourself to allocate time for yourself.

Exploring other philosophies

You may be thinking how does this make you more self-aware? Well when I started attending a Thursday night Buddha meditation course, I was introduced to new ways of looking at life and living life. Fascinated I started attending different workshops and reading books about Buddhism.

I personally no longer affiliate myself with any religion, but I started to adopt some of the values of Buddhism including compassion, acceptance and kindness.

What I have found is that all religions have one thing in common, they teach that God is love and kindness and there is no separation between man and God. Everyone is free to believe what they want.

Through exploring my beliefs I become more self-aware of how they are supporting or trapping me from living my best life.

Some philosophies I have explored include David Richo’s “The Givens of Life – Five Things we Cannot Change“, and Don Miguel Ruiz’s “Four Agreements“. Both suggest rules/guidelines to live a more compassionate life.

The Five Things We Cannot Change

  • Everything changes and ends
  • Things do not always go according to plan
  • Life is not always fair
  • Pain is part of life
  • People are not loving and loyal all the time.

The Four Agreements

  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Always do your best.

Listening and asking for feedback

I never forget the conversation I had with my daughter a few months ago, where we openly discussed what it means to be supported.

During our talk I was evaluating whether I felt supported by my family. As a mum, there are times where I felt like I was the door mat. I was getting upset about not being supported.

My daughter also evaluated whether she felt supported and to my surprise she didn’t. I was shocked at first. But then we discussed what we believed support was. We had different definitions and expectations.

What was wonderful about that conversation is that we listened and provided feedback to each other.

Both of us shared in a self-awareness discussion about how we were being perceived and how our actions or lack of actions was impacting the other. At the heart of our discussion was our beliefs and assumptions, followed by our feelings and thoughts.

Exploring archetypes and numerology

A fun way to get to know more about yourself is to explore your archetypes and numerology.

Archetypes like numerology assist to identify your human nature, who you are, why you are here, what makes you tick you might say.

Caroline Myss identifies 10 families of archetypes relevant to modern women in her book ” Archetypes – Who are You?”. Well worth a read. I found mine very easily and was surprised how they were very similar to my numerology reading.

Numerology uses your birth date and birth name to explore your life purpose, destiny, soul urge, personality, maturity, life cycles and more. When completed in detail, a numerology reading provides valuable insights into your inner self.

Self-awareness is about getting to understand who you are and both these tools can really help you connect with your true self.

Seeking support from therapists and healers

One of the best things I ever did in my life was to start seeing a kinesiologist. I wasn’t even sure what a kinesiologist was, but I wanted assistance to move forward in my life.

I was becoming more self-aware and I guess in that process, it was becoming obvious to me that there were a lot of things coming up that I wanted assisted with processing out.

A friend had recommended a kinesiologist to me a few months earlier and the timing was right so I made a connection and began a series of sessions that were instrumental in changing my life.

Each session allowed me to grow in my self-awareness. Just went I would think I’m done, emotions and experiences from the past would raise to the surface to be processed.

My eyes were opened you may say. Seeking support was a great decision as it uncovered things which may have taken me years to discover.

Being more self-aware has you might say awakened me to who I am and now more than ever what I want in my life.

Everyday I seek joy and happiness.

Self-awareness was the beginning of a beautiful journey, that I am so happy I started. There is no going back now. Before I didn’t know where I was going or why, now I do.

What are you waiting for? Dive in and enjoy the ride!

Your journey to self-awareness

The journey to self-awareness is different for us all.

If you’d like to explore the power of numerology, explore the Sisterhood of Roses numerology collection. Readings are done by the author of this article, Lynda Galway.