If you look at the past 6 weeks on the blog, it's been all about emotional health. As I've started to wake up to the critical need of emotional healing for myself, I've brought you guys along on the journey through this blog in the hopes that you can extract something out of my process that you can take for your own journey.
And as I'm learning so much about all of this - understanding my emotions, processing pain in a healthy way, and understanding myself on a core level - I've realized that one of the foundations to emotional health is actually self-awareness.
It may sound surprising, but I believe that emotional health cannot be realized without a solid foundation of self-awareness.
Before today, I had an inflated confidence in my ability to be self-aware and honest with myself. But looking back, I can plainly see that I was mostly ignorant and, in fact, disconnected from my true self.
I was great at lying to myself about how I was doing. I didn't have a grid for understanding my emotions. Heck, I even thought "emotional health" was for broken and damaged people, and certainly wasn't something that I would ever need.
What is self-awareness?
The dictionary defines self-awareness as:
"Conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires."
Simply, self-awareness is the ability to know what is going on inside of you at all times.
It's understanding the things that trigger you. It's identifying the emotions you are experiencing. It's knowing why you react to certain things in certain situations.
People who have very good self-awareness know their strengths, their weaknesses, and what drives them to do what they do. This awareness enables them to focus on what they are born to do, and let other people do the other stuff.
How to become more self-aware:
1. Stay humble
Surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth, and be willing to be humbled. True humility is the only way you will have the guts to learn from when someone calls you out on your B.S.
Give permission to the right people in your life to speak into your life. Invite them to give you feedback. Embrace the friends and mentors who will tell you the truth, because they are rare.
2. Learn from the wins and losses
In every situation life gives us, we have the incredible opportunity to learn something. We also have that same opportunity to close our minds and learn nothing.
When we don't learn, life doesn't get better. We go through a cycle of insanity that breeds continual mediocrity.
The same goes for self-awareness, because every time we win or lose in life, we have the opportunity to learn something about ourselves and strengthen our self-awareness muscle.
The key is to keep an open mind. Always looking for patterns and habits in our lives that we can change. Always asking questions to lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.
When you do something well, ask yourself "What did I do that made that work? Can I replicate that again next time?"
When you fail, ask yourself "What habit or belief do I have that kept me from succeeding? How can I do something different next time?"
3. Get brutally honest with yourself
There's no way to be self-aware without being honest with yourself. This honesty may scare you, but that means it's a good thing.
We can't grow if we aren't honest about which areas we are lacking in. It's impossible to move forward if we don't tell ourselves the truth about where we are.
Get brutally honest with yourself about your strengths and your weaknesses. Honesty is how you move forward and become the person you are destined to be.
Practical Next Steps
Give yourself permission to to be completely honest with yourself from now on. No more lying to yourself.
And give permission to a few trusted friends/mentors to speak truth into your life, and call you out when necessary.