These are simple words, but a large concept for some. Our lens (the way we perceive our world) can cloud or color our vision of ourselves. It is so hard to be objective when our emotions distort our interpretations of how we view ourselves and see our world. After all, we are a product of our experiences. Maya Angelo once said,
“ You’ll never remember what someone said, you’ll never remember what someone did, but you will always remember how someone made you feel.” There they are again, those feelings and emotions. So often we don’t really know what we are feeling. We just know how we are feeling. If it is bad, we try to escape those feelings quickly. How do you escape your feelings? Some people get really busy with work, cleaning, or a project. Some use alcohol or drugs. If this escape is a crutch, eventually they may develop an addiction. Some people just try not to think about it. How’s that working for you?
Jay Asher states, “But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.” As hard as you may try, those emotions are just there. You can develop some really bad habits and addictions trying to cope the best way you know.
Self-Awareness calls for introspection. Introspection takes time, sometimes painful, uncomfortable time. What causes you grief? C. G. Jung once stated, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves”. Perhaps this would be helpful, or maybe you already know what your problems are.
Identifying those triggers, those things in your life that act like a mechanical trigger in initiating a process or reaction by you, are essential. What triggers your painful, unpleasant thoughts that make you want to escape. Are you triggered by anger, a fight with the wife, money, financial struggles, or too much money? It is well worth your time to examine and answer this question. The Buddhist would suggest you respond to that question with an absurd answer, thus provoking a mental debate about the question. Look at options, talk with someone you respect, seek out a trained professional such as a counselor. Have some quiet time to think without the usual interruptions of the day. Invite opportunities to be alone with yourself. Take a walk and think, not ruminate (to go over in your mind repeatedly for an extended period of time, much like a cow chewing it’s cud)….., but think. Counter the negativity in your mind with just the opposite, the positive. Wear some good positive grooves in that brain to replace the old, redundant, distorted, negative ones. Meditate.
Some people hate being alone for the very reason that they may have to deal with themselves and their thoughts and problems. Rather than doing that, they prefer to be distracted by others, thus avoiding the realization of that which they would rather forget.
Instead of running from the emotions that haunt you, identify what they are, when they surface and what you can do to deal with them in a healthy way. If self-awareness is something you cannot accomplish on your own, healthy discovery in a safe place that offers confidentiality can be a good choice. Insight and self-awareness can lead to a happier you and a healthier sense of well-being.