08/19/2016

Why Self Awareness Is Crucial In Designing The Life You Want

Why Self-Awareness Is Crucial To Designing The Life You Want

Good morning friends!

I want to explore something with you. Do you have a strong sense of self? Do you know your likes, dislikes? Do you make decisions with confidence and security? Do you feel stretched thin and unable to be confident in your decisions, especially when it’s a decision to say “no” to a social obligation, a request from a family member or friend, etc? And now be honest, in your mind, did you hesitate when answering these questions?

If your answers were yes, yes, yes, no: congratulations, you get 100% on this quiz and this post is not for you. Although I would love your feedback and insight anyway, perhaps I could learn something from you. But if your answers were in any way all over the map…I want to share a little piece of my story with you.

Just two years ago, I remember having a moment of great despair, following a low-grade panic. It was autumn and I was freshly brokenhearted, so I went for a walk along my favorite trail to clear my head. As I listened to the rustling of the leaves overhead create sounds like ocean waves, it dawned on me that I knew nothing about myself. I asked myself, what is your favorite color? Blue. Is it? That’s my automated response, but has it changed? What is my favorite flower? Umm, what? I don’t have one. It might sound silly, but this new awareness that I basically had no personality was extremely depressing. Combine that with a broken heart, and you have a recipe for extremely low self esteem and sense of self worth. Wistfulness and Despair moved into the inner room of my heart, and I brooded over this for months.

I decided to make a vow to “find myself.” But finding myself seemed too lofty a goal, especially since we as humans are dynamic, constantly changing.

Who we are never changes. Who we think we are, however, does. ~ Albert Einstein

So I picked the next best thing: I vowed to learn about myself, or at least to start asking myself the questions I wanted answers to, despite how insignificant they may be. I began journaling and Pinteresting writing prompts. I began investigating how to find my calling, how to build self confidence, essentially: how to be my own therapist to work through this uncomfortable period (Although full disclosure I was in therapy the summer previous, I highly recommend seeking a professional’s help at least once in your lifetime. Her advice has always been invaluable, and we are still friends to this day).

A few things standing in my way of mental clarity:

  1. Material possessions. I spent most of my time after work cleaning, tidying, reorganizing, simply managing all the stuff I owned. I felt an increased pressure to keep my condo immaculate because I had a roommate and didn’t want them to have to live in my chaos.
  2. Chasing after romantic relationships. This is embarrassing, but for the sake of being an open book, I was a little boy-crazy. Since college, I was always preoccupied with old boyfriends, new boyfriends, long-distance crushes,  and the like. It recently dawned on me that I felt that if I found someone with a similar sense of adventure,  we could move outside of Michigan. Wow Past Arie, those are sure some big life goals. “What is your dream?” To follow my husband wherever he goes. Ha! I just can’t even with you, Past Arie.
  3. Noise. I didn’t like to sit in silence. I truly believed if I didn’t have music to run or drive to, I would die. Running without music? Sounds awful. Driving without music? Sounds like I’m never gonna drive over 10 minutes anywhere. I drowned out my thoughts and feelings with TV, music, and social media. It took getting quiet to get contemplative.
  4. Putting priority on the wrong things. Putting work and physical fitness (the vanity kind, not the good-for-you kind) first were a few of my bad habits. I would wake up earlier and earlier to have time to pray, exercise, and start the workday — early bird gets the worm, right? But eventually, balance became skewed. I would either wake up and start working immediately and neglect all other spheres of my life, or another aspect would take over. Balance is hard. But I know that I need time to just “be” in the morning before I can live a productive and peaceful day. Gotta center that Chi.

I’m sure there were more things than these, but these were the obvious things that came to mind. If you’re looking for a few resources to help you “cut the mental clutter” to find your clarity and sense of self,

Here are some resources that helped me on my journey:

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I hope to do a post on this someday. Until then, check out my post on Fit Mitten Blog about doing a serious overhaul on my condo. It is freeing both physically and emotionally to get rid of unnecessary material items. It really freed up a lot of time. KonMari takes you on an adventure of self-discovery, and you don’t even need to backpack Europe to do it. Boom!
  2. PowerSheets by Lara Casey. These were a Christmas gift from my sister, and it was the first time I really thought about what I liked, disliked, and what I wanted for my life. I made a corresponding “PowerSheets” Pinterest board to act as a vision board. At the time, I thought the task daunting, but I am so glad I did it. It was worth it for the self-discovery. Full disclosure: I never actually did the goal-setting part, but like I said, worth it for the beginning part of the work book.
  3. Cut the noise. I did a few social media fasts, started watching less Netflix, and challenged myself to drive and run without music or any sort of noise. Getting quiet, even though uncomfortable, is the quickest way to tune in to your intuition and see how you’re doing. I found ideas just floating around, waiting to be plucked and put into practice. It’s amazing how much clarity this simple act can give.

I found that through this process, I am:

  • More confident in my decisions
  • Less worried about what others think
  • More in tune with how I feel and what I need
  • Able to process life quicker and easier
  • More focused on the things that bring me joy
  • More open to love
  • Building stronger friendships
  • Attracting similar souls
  • Realizing what is important
  • More grateful and appreciative of the blessings in my life
  • Able to say “no”
  • More lighthearted and enjoying life!

My wish and prayer for you is that through the process of self-awareness, personal growth, and self-discovery, you will find more peace and love in your life, gain more self confidence and self esteem, and that you will attract the kind of people in your life that will help you grow into the best possible version of yourself.

Are you self-aware? Do you challenge yourself to grow daily, perhaps growing outside your comfort zone? What has been the most helpful advice or tool you’ve found to facilitate the process of self-awareness? I’d love to hear from you!

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