Self-awareness is the bedrock of all therapy. The degree to which you are self aware will shape everything in your life – your relationships, how you handle challenges and obstacles, how you deal with failure, and whether or not you can rise from the ashes and recreate your life anew. A lack of self-awareness, on the other hand, corrodes relationships with those you care about and creates enemies where there were none before. It exacerbates emotional and psychological issues such as phobias, anxiety and depression to the point where you can become a liability both to yourself and others.
So why don’t more people face into this life task? Simply put, they haven’t yet woken up to the necessity of doing so. They haven’t faced the fact that as adults they alone are responsible for the life they are choosing to live, moving forward. They often feel that they don’t have a choice, that they are stuck in a set of circumstances from which they can see no easy exit or solution. Some circumstances are indeed harsh and rigid, but how we frame them, how we see them, our attitude towards this outer reality is something we can change. And the remarkable thing is that when we change ourselves and our thinking, the outer circumstance often shifts. I have seen it over and over.
We all have to ultimately accept that, for whatever reason, we have landed here in this body, this personality, this set of circumstances, and we are the only ones who can live our lives. We are the only ones who can make changes or do something different with this life. We can blame our parents, our partners, our bosses, our friends, our enemies for all the bad that has happened to us. While that might make you feel better temporarily, I can guarantee it will not lead you to make any positive change in your life unless it spurs you to be different, to take ownership of your life and take some responsibility for the mess you are in. If you have been the victim of abuse or criminal negligence, clearly there is a perpetrator out there who is to blame. But then what can you do, moving forward? The worst thing for any of us is to get stuck in victim mode, because the victim is too often paralyzed, poisoned by low self-esteem or self loathing. The hardest thing in this state is to generate the energy for self-care, but the first step must be an effort towards self-awareness. If you need help, then getting help is the first step.
photo by Peter Buchanan
I have often reflected on the fact that everything in our Life calls on us to Wake Up. Sometimes the early wake up calls are like little slaps or stings, but the more we ignore them, the harder the next blow. It’s always advisable to come into consciousness before that wake up call feels like you are being hit with a two by four. And for many of us, that is what it sometimes takes. Yes, it feels harsh, but the question becomes – can you move forward, or will you simply give up? Tragically, many people do, not realizing that life could ever be any different.
as seen in a storefront window/ artist unknown/ San Miguel Allende
If anything should give you hope, it is this simple observable fact of nature. Nothing ever stays the same. In fact, even if we wanted something in our experience to be frozen in time and never change, it wouldn’t happen. So, things will get better, or they will get worse – in other words, they will expand or they will contract. But they won’t stay the same. So why not get onside with moving your life and your consciousness towards a more positive, brighter future? In order to do that, you have to take stock of where you are now and honestly examine what you are up to, your relationships, your self-defeating attitudes, your goals, your deep-seated longings. You can only start the journey from where you are now and honestly look at your patterns and your psychology. Many people pursue one artificial goal after the next, but then wonder why their lives feel so meaningless. They have never taken the time to examine their lives. Socrates is reported to have said the unexamined life is not worth living. After all, what else do you think you can do with the rest of your life if it is not connected to what is most meaningful to you on a deep soul level.