What is Self-awareness?
It is an inward journey that begins with an acknowledgement that I am not just a driftwood floating on a river. It begins with the thought, “surely I am much more than a hamster in a wheel?” This question/thought sparks a sense of agency (ownership) over the happenings in my life, in contrast to the notion that things just happen TO me.
What comes to mind when you read this?
Is this why Self-awareness initially feels like an added mental load to an already overloaded mind??? YES! You can be left wondering, ‘Where is the bubbling joy of self-discovery???’
This is usually the disillusionment that hits someone who embarks on this path of awakening. As you sit with your therapist or coach and these eye-opening concepts are flowing into your mind, they sound mind-blowing and you leave the session quite invigorated. Then, the inevitable happens.
You float above your life and start observing how ingrained your dysfunctional operating system is, and how you have (unconsciously) curated your environment to maintain it. You almost want to hide from yourself and blame others for what you are observing but then there it is: your contribution to your unhappiness, dysfunctional relationships, less than optimal productivity, etc.
You realize that the buck stops with you. You realize how much power you have had all along: you took the cards that life dealt you and have somehow (even if unconsciously) managed to create an existence (before this awakening, we say ‘I found myself here, there, doing this, that, with this person, or alone, etc).
This realization, that you are born and raised within certain parameters, but then given agency on how to be creative in building a life within those parameters, is the essence of Self-awareness.
What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
The secret is to stay with the process long enough to un-learn and re-learn better ways of being so that you start seeing different results. Those who are patient with themselves (and their therapists or coaches!) stand a good chance of attaining a healthy level of satisfaction with the quality of their lives in the long run.