Last week I talked about self-awareness. Thinking about this caused me to realize that before I began my own journey about seven years ago, I never really thought about myself. I mean REALLY thought about myself. My thoughts often focused on things like, “Why doesn’t so and so like me?” “Did I do something to make so and so mad?” “I don’t think they like me.” …and on and on. But I didn’t really think too much about myself unless it was to be critical. Often, I was critical out loud. I know now that that was to gain affirmation from others because I couldn’t give it to myself.
One day, I was in the library and found myself browsing through a book about Eleanor Roosevelt. A quote caught my eye. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” At this point in my life, I was really struggling with feeling like I didn’t belong. Much of what I said or did was determined by what I thought others would think about me. I had been living my whole life in fear and completely unaware. Eleanor Roosevelt’s words resonated with me. Her words helped me realize I was making myself feel insecure but I wasn't sure what to do with that information.
Once I began my journey of self-DISCOVERy, I began to see that I was living on autopilot. The feelings of insecurity continued to dominate my thoughts and actions. Then, my journey introduced me to my inner roommate, Annie. She is the voice I often hear when I am struggling with feelings of insecurity. Part of my self-love journey has been learning to recognize when I am hearing the voice of Annie, which is why self-awareness is so important on the journey.
Even after I figured this out, the feelings of insecurity and self-doubt persisted. So, I began to work on becoming more aware of how I was feeling and what I was thinking. It was a conscious decision I made to try to be more aware. This started slowly for me but after a while, because I was trying to pay attention, I began to notice I could feel in my body whenever something was causing a disturbance within me. Emotions like insecurity, self-doubt, and the need to be right, created a physical change I could feel within my body. Sometimes it felt like stiffness. Other times I would become trembly, hot, or nervous. Often, I would hear the voice of Annie, “Who do you think you are?” “I really don’t think they like you.”
The physical sensations gave me the opportunity to check-in with myself. Noticing these feelings enabled me to become curious about why I was feeling this way and then decide if I wanted to feel differently. All this noticing and deciding didn’t happen overnight. It has taken me a few years to work it all out. Even now that I know what I know, I still have moments when I forget to pay attention to ME and I listen to Annie instead.
Juan and I had guests at our home this past weekend. One guest who showed up was not invited, Annie. Right in the middle of the fun, she started telling me I was talking too much and I wasn’t being a good hostess. For the first time, I was actually able to feel the feelings and identify the unwanted guest before she ruined my fun. I remember going into the kitchen, taking a few deep breaths and with each exhale, I blew Annie out of my mind. I didn’t even try to justify my side of the story; I simply blew her away.
Taking control of the situation gave me a sense of empowerment which gave me a nice little high for the rest of the evening. This was an important act of self-love which was accessible because my efforts to become more self-aware are making a difference.
So, today I am grateful for this important lesson. I learned that being more self-aware can improve my relationship with myself and this growth helps me bring a better version of myself into all my relationships. So, with each little step, with each little lesson, I not only improve myself, I improve my relationships. WOW! How cool is that!
Has becoming self-aware helped you see aspects of your life differently? I’d love to hear about your experience.
With Love and Gratitude,