What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. </>
~ Abraham Maslow ~
When we were small and learning about life, the lessons we learned were a reflection of the world around us. They formed the stories we told about our world, and how to operate in it to be safe. Sometimes, we might have sensed that a friend’s house wasn’t the same as ours. People didn’t yell in their house or get lost in a bottle when they came home from work or lay curled up in a ball crying all the time. But mostly, we accepted our family was the way it was and created a story to help us fit into the story safely.
As children, we didn’t think about life in terms of ‘something’s wrong with this picture’. We saw it through the child’s lens where every experience becomes the foundation for the next experience. When the adults around us yelled, we either grew quiet fearing what would happen if we didn’t, or fought back fearing what would happen if we stayed silent. When things happened that didn’t make sense, we either accepted them as our ‘new normal’ or, told ourselves we’ll never be normal. Not knowing the difference between what makes sense and what was nonsense, we conformed and adapted. No matter how fragile the branches of our family tree we held on for dear life, because it was the only place we knew where we belonged, no matter how fiercely the wind shook it.
Shaky foundations create unstable paths.
As adults, because the way things were is what created our adaptive behaviours and the stories we told ourselves to make sense of our world, we continue to operate from the unstable paths we created to make it through to today.
And then, life throws us a curve ball. One day, we encounter a situation we have absolutely no framework for, or we lose someone we love, or our heart breaks over yet another love gone wrong, or we just feel weary of always being the victim. Suddenly, the weight of everything we’ve learned that is stuffed down into the backpacks we’ve carried with us through life, pushes us to the ground. How will we ever get up again?
And that is when we have a choice. To crumble, stumble and keep struggling on, carrying the backpack stuffed with even more regrets and pains, telling ourselves this rut of ‘normal’ where being the victim, the loser, the scapegoat, the fall guy is our lot. Or, choose to wake up and start to unpack the past, jettisoning the stories we created as children that no longer work for us now so that we can learn a more conscious and life-giving way of being present in the world.
And that’s where self-awareness is important.
Self-awareness is an always choice.
Self-awareness is not a place. It is not a one-time event. It is a life-journey, a way of being and staying present always to what is happening in your life. It’s about not holding onto regret, pain and trauma but stepping joyfully into the lightness of being human, just the way you are, in this moment right now.
Self-awareness is owning your own story.
Self-awareness is not a self-indulgent retelling of the litany of sins committed against you, flailing your psyche with the long list of wrongs you’ve done, or were done to you.
It’s not about staying the victim. It’s about rising up, a victor in your own story.
Self-awareness is being courageous.
Self-awareness means fearlessly and lovingly hearing the lies you tell yourself about yourself. It means letting go of the list of wrongs and falling in love with yourself in this moment right now. It’s about being willing to learn and see the truth is not; you are awful, stupid, worthless, unloveable. The truth is; you are perfectly human in all your human imperfections. And aren’t you fascinating?
Self-awareness means looking in the mirror and being willing to love the person looking back, without fearing she or he will ever be enough. It’s about accepting, no matter how scary the thought, that you are enough, just the way you are, even in those moments when fear would have you doubt your own self-worth.
Self-awareness is the freedom to be you.
Self-awareness means taking up the challenge of charting a new path to finding value in all things in your life today because you are willing to acknowledge the old path was leading you to exactly the same place you were living in the past — and that was going nowhere but to where you felt defeated, lost, confused, alone.
Does self-awareness matter?
Always in all ways. Self-awareness is the path we walk to living the life of our dreams, having the love we’ve always yearned for, the relationships we’ve always wanted, the joy we’ve always craved, the peace we’ve always chased.
Self-awareness is the way to freedom.