Becoming More Self Aware

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Becoming More Self-Aware

 It’s that one thing that is always on the lists of “what you need”- self-awareness…But how in the hell do you achieve it? If it’s a part of all the things you need, then how come so many people don’t have it? It is my belief and a strong one, that people don’t know self-awareness is something that has to be intentionally sought after and worked on. It’s one of the anchors in the self-development process. Yes, that one. The process that EVERYONE needs but shy’s away from because they fear what the work will look like. Simply put, it’s an inside job.

 So, how do you go inside and start the work? 

 1.)  Pay Attention

Self-awareness has been something that I have been blessed to have to a very large degree. Before you roll your eyes, just know that it has come with some gut-wrenching truths about myself and my decision making. Which let me say, hasn’t always been the best or in alignment with what I know I should have chosen instead. In this season of my life, as a mother and a woman in a completely new phase, my awareness has transitioned drastically. And it started with paying close attention to my thoughts, feelings and actions. Exactly as they were happening and in real time. 

When I started this process, I experienced an awareness as sharp as the side you give when a stranger goes to touch your baby’s hair. You know it brings you that moment of pause and makes you say something like… “I know good and well that did not just happen.” Yep, that’s how I began to address my thoughts. I had to start checking myself at the door. And listen, it is no easy task to address your flaws. Acknowledgement and acceptance of them are two completely different processes. But I was ready to dig in; because it was time. 

2.)  Journal 

Yep, that one too! It’s the new wave! Not even close. If you’re not journaling, you are not actively engaging in your self-development. It is so necessary. You get to determine the frequency and the time frame. But do it. Allow yourself to write freely, especially at first. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar. Simply write from your heart and as you get the hang of it, not only will it become very natural, but you might even start journaling about specific topics. And as you look back it will become so cool to see just how much you have grown. 

 For me, journaling has become a coping skill. Especially when I am in transition. When I am challenged with effectively managing my emotions. Cause let me tell you something, I always have a lot on my mind, and I need to get it out once it all comes to an intersection. Once I have a sound understanding of what is happening with who, I also use journaling to process a plan of action of how to get through the situation. I use the journaling experience to illustrate my thought process, decision making and to help me release the energy within and around the emotions. 

3.)  Seek the wisdom of trusted sources/confidants

 This one can be tough, because people’s opinions, especially once you become a mother can really be more hurtful than helpful- even your mama’s. So, even though they are trustworthy, always remember- garbage in and garbage out! Take what you need and leave the rest. So often the support we need is in the moment-the really challenging moments. I’ve learned that if I don’t take the time to sort through the challenge as best I can first, then I’m not able to adequately express the support I need to get the most substantial advice or wisdom. Developing the awareness of the importance of communicating exactly what you need is critical to you receiving it. 

I’m learning that it is important to have a small circle of women, mama friends that you don’t know very well to provide some value, wisdom and encouragement. Seems backwards, right? How are they trusted when you don’t know them? Well, that’s the best part. You will find that you are more aligned with the people you don’t know but who are currently, in real time experiencing very similar challenges. The synergy in the shared experienced brings you to a place of trust. Try it, your mind just might be blown!

 

I’ve seen mama’s do it alone, my mom was one. I’ve also seen and experienced parenting with a partner. Both are hard.What an eye opener, when I thought, “this is the life, an active partner to support me and we support each other on this new journey.” Only to ebb and flow to a place where there weren’t enough conversations to help me understand the difference in his parenting style and mine. His engagement with the kids and mine. However, being the pensive always thinking woman that I am, I had to go back to my childhood to track my experiences and couple them with how I currently operated. Then, we were able to have a discussion about the differences in the dynamic we experienced growing up. BAM! There was my answer. Two loving homes, with two completely different ways of learning how to parent. My only thought at that point, “well, let’s get to it”- understanding where we came from to create where we are going. Talk about effort! I felt it physically, mentally and my goodness, emotionally. This new awareness enhanced the evolution of my relationship with self, and with my children’s father. We are still a work in progress. Uncovering a deeper layer of each other has proved to be scary but is yielding great results in our communication and understanding of how to support each other.

To this day, I continue to learn how to exercise and practice becoming more self-aware. I won’t lie, it takes a lot somedays, but keeping that learning piece at the forefront of my mind allows me to be the student-on learning journey with every Aha moment being a marked point in my evolution. Internally, I still experience challenges. Especially, carrying feelings of guilt sometimes-I’m working through it. It was the awareness that I actually took my precious children for granted. They have simply been trying to understand and figure out their place in the world- just as I was. 

 

 

Olivia Gordon