Self awareness. WTF is it?
When I describe TruBirth sometimes what I often find myself talking about is how the class is a tool to create connection and self awareness in your reproductive journey. One way I actively promote this idea is through my online Facebook community. I regularly post questions designed to get members thinking and talking about their feelings and growing their tools of self awareness. Throughout my TruBirth E-learning course I have tools to aide in this process but I wanted to spend some time really identifying a general ability to be self aware.
You may be saying, “I am self aware! For instance right now I know that I really want to read this blog post.” 😉
You may be saying, “I feel like I’m self aware most of the time, sometimes I forget to turn off the toaster oven or eat lunch but I’m generally on top of my feelings.”
You may be saying, “Most of the time my emotions catch me off guard. I wish I had a better handle on what I felt and why.”
You may also be going, “Emotions??? What are those?”
Wherever you are this can be helpful, especially if you are even thinking about starting your reproductive journey! So let’s look at ways you as an adult can go back and create an inward environment that welcomes your emotions and, in turn, self awareness. Let’s talk about the 5 steps to self awareness.
Step 1. Creating an open space within your mind and heart.
This will be something you may need to return to frequently but it is simply saying to yourself, “I am open to feel what is with in me, and I will love myself wherever that is.“
You can just say this to yourself right now, but the more frequently you are saying it, and the more visible this is to you, the more your heart will open up to the reality of this statement. This is your self awareness key.
Maybe consider making it a note on your desk at work, or on you bathroom vanity. Maybe embroider it on a pillow or get it tattooed! The point is the more visible this is to you on a regular basis the more powerful it will be.
Step 2: Spend time in thought daily.
You may be thinking this seems too easy to be including in the 5 steps to self awareness, but stick with me for a minute. In today’s world where technology is handheld and can even join us in the bathroom for our daily poop, most people are spending what in the past would have been time to think or process on Facebook or reading their Kindle.
Now this post is not a guilt fest for using technology or even to imply that technology is the root of all evil. I’m not saying technology is intrinsically bad by any means, because at the end of the day you have the power to control your devices. You can chose to put them down. You can say “I will no longer take a device with me to poop” or “When I nurse my child I will not look at a device.” It’s up to you what is right for use of your technological devices, all I am suggesting is finding SOME sort of time that YOU want to be in thought.
That is all, just find time and be in your own thoughts. This time is not meant to be structured at all. What we are looking for here is unstructured time in your open thoughts.
All self awareness is the ability to assess right? But what do you have to assess if you do not sit with yourself regularly? It’s kind of like time spent with a good friend. Generally speaking you have no real objective other than just to be together. You probably are not doing regular psych evaluations with them yet you probably still feel you have a good idea of who they are. That is because there is so much to see when you just spend time with someone. When you just learn to listen.
So go for a walk without your phone, workout without music, turn off the radio on your drive home. It doesn’t have to be constant, just some time everyday. Who knows you might actually find that you enjoy being with yourself! 😉
Step 3: Broaden your emotional vocabulary.
We might all know things like mad, or sad or happy. Maybe you know more than that and that’s great.
There are literally 100s of words to describe your feelings!
A great assessment tool (perhaps you would call it a self awareness tool) would be to write down all the words you know that describe feelings. Maybe even try to define what they are or give examples. Then when you are all done, look up a list of words and commit to learning 5 or 10 new words! You might realize you already know more than you thought, and even this can be a great reminder!
With limited language skills comes limited ability to assess (see I keep using that word). If you only know the colors red and black, how well are you going to be able to dialogue about the sunset and refer to your assessments? This will be much easier the more language around the subject you understand! This is true with all areas of study, including your emotional self!
Step 4: Notice trends.
When you are spending time with yourself daily (DO IT!) do you notice any trends?
For example I might notice that when I think about writing I start to feel bad. Or when I think about the conversation I had with a co-worker I feel happy! You can really help yourself out in the beginning by writing theses down. Note in the examples that this does not have to look like some sort of PHD-level paper on emotions, this is very basic simple feelings, with whatever emotional language you might have. (It helps to have lots of language around this! Don’t you agree?)
This is what I call peripheral self awareness, in other words, this is the outer edge of your self awareness and is a step that can be/should be done ALL THE TIME. Like a reaction to stubbing your toe, the more you do this the more of a reflex it will become! Thus paving the way for you to further assess whats going on!
Your truth stands in your trends. If you can access these reactions and trends then you begin to find your deeper belief systems. Knowing these is like finding the road map to yourself.
Step 5: Asses your trends and draw conclusions from them.
Note: You are not on trial here. These do not have to be perfect or even 100% accurate – it is all a process. You are navigating new waters and you may follow an idea, only to realize it doesn’t really resonate with you after all and that time was not wasted! The process is what we are looking for NOT THE OUTCOME!
Let’s take a second here to remind ourselves that all feelings are welcome. Maybe re-read your self awareness key from Step 1? In order to be able to dig this deep you must create an open and loving environment for yourself so you can avoid defenses coming up and stopping the reflection process.
When you hear yourself saying “no don’t go there,” or “no don’t write that,” take note of that. This could be your mind’s way of pushing feelings down that we have deemed socially unacceptable or even “bad”. Be kind to yourself. This can be scary but if you feel ready push yourself there. This is most likely an area of yourself that really needs love and healing. This part of you may need to hear.
Look at the trends you wrote down and try to see if any conclusions you come up with feel right to you. By feel right I don’t mean that they don’t meet any resistance, but that they seem to fit. Finding this feeling might be hard, so if you cannot find one that feels right you can just write out as many as you can come up with and leave it at that. Next time you are thinking about it in your unstructured time, it might just come to you.
Examples of conclusions:
“When I think about writing I feel bad.” Some conclusions might be:
- I am scared to write
- I don’t like writing
- I feel insecure in my writing ability
“When I talk to my co-worker I feel happy.” Some conclusions might be:
- I feel connected to this particular person
- I have feelings for them
- They remind me of my father
Listen to the things that pop up in your mind, because this is WIDE OPEN. There are so many things that you could come up with. At the end of the day we are looking for the things that sit right with YOU and feel the most true. (it could be multiple)
You are a work in progress just like every other person on this earth. We are all navigating this life and trying to find our way. This can be a tool to help you find more joy and confidence in yourself and to feel deeper and truer connection with those around you. I hope these steps are helpful. Please feel free to comment any other ideas you may have that have helped you find your self awareness!