In order to have healthy relationships we need to be self-aware
As we grow in self-awareness, we will better understand why we feel and behave the way we do. This new understanding gives us the opportunity and freedom to change those things we’d like to change about ourselves and our relationships.
Self-Awareness: What do you think of when you think of this topic? You may have lots of reactions.
- “I don’t want to be self-aware…I don’t really want to know what’s going on inside!”
- I’d like to be more self-aware…sometimes I have no idea why I feel the way I do.”
- “I’m not really aware of myself, I’m usually aware of other people.”
Whatever your reaction is … let’s look at this together. Here’s a starting definition. To be self-aware means being aware of oneself, including one’s traits, feelings, behaviors, and vulnerabilities.
As we grow in self-awareness, we will better understand our feelings and behavior, which are sometimes a mystery to us.Without self-awareness, it is hard to change troublesome habits or patterns, even if you want to Click To Tweet
Being self-aware can be hard…especially if you aren’t used to checking in with yourself on the inside. As I’ve been able to take in God’s total acceptance of me and all my shortcomings, I’ve been able to tolerate being self-aware even more. Sometime when I look inside I like what I see, and sometimes I don’t. Knowing that God loves and accepts me, helps me tolerate the parts of me I struggle with.
Trying to change something about ourselves doesn’t work if change is primarily external. Lasting change only happens from the inside out. In order to change our actions, we must be self-aware. Just trying harder doesn’t work, at least not for very long. It takes a lot of courage to be self-aware…because we need to be able to feel, tolerate, and modulate our feelings.In fact, how we handle our feelings has a lot to do with how self-aware we are. Click To Tweet
We can’t be self-aware if we:
- Suppress our feelings
- Numb our emotions with addictions or substances
- Intellectualize ourselves out of awareness (focus on getting it right, keeping in our head and pushing away our emotions)
- Are cut off from our body
These ways of pushing away our feelings can result in losing our connection with ourselves, God, and others. It also slows down the healing we can find in Him.
Some steps to increase your self-awareness
Step 2. Try to see yourself as you really are. Without self-awareness, you see a version of who everyone else says you are. We need to push aside who others say we are, in order to see ourselves as God sees us, because that’s where the real healing happens. You can read more here and here.
Now none of us totally knows the truth…but examining what others have told you might help you unpack a belief you’ve had about yourself that may not be true.
Examples: Someone in your life told you that are selfish. Ask yourself what is the truth about this? What specifically do they mean? Maybe they see you pursuing a balance life where both you and they are considered. They might label this as selfish, but in reality, it’s balanced.
Maybe you struggle to consider others in a certain area, but in general you are giving and considerate to others. The point is to challenge labels you’ve been given rather than just accept that what someone else has said about you is true.
Step 3. Bringing God into the equation can really help your self-awareness.
All of us have past emotional wounds, and these wounds distort our image of God. When these wounds are healed, we can connect more fully to God, accept His new view of us, and take the incredibly brave step to see ourselves as we are, warts and all. He will also help us to pay attention to the feelings he’s given us to guide us.
We need to know about God, as well as experience Him in our hearts and souls. When we shut ourselves down and turn away from awareness, we turn away from ourselves, God and others.
We may miss out on the ways God can interact with us in comforting and soothing ways. Matt 11:28 tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
If you’d like, take a moment now to take a deep breath, and say to God,” Here I am, could you please help me with this situation? Could you help me be more self-aware and see myself through your eyes? Could you help me see where I need to grow, as well as how I’ve already changed?”
Let yourself rest in Him, and gain comfort and strength. He loves you, cares about you, and wants to help you.
Step 4: Our challenge is to remain present
We all need help to remain present in the moment to increase our self-awareness. Here’s an exercise that can increase your self-awareness. In a given situation…check in with yourself:
- What do you see?
- What do you hear?
- What do you smell?
- What do you feel?
- What’s happening in your body?
- What do you need?
- What are your instincts telling you?
So, this next week…try to be a little more self-aware:
- Ask yourself, how am I doing on the inside?
- What do I need?
- If you feel comfortable, try to breath in God’s love and acceptance of you, and seek His help in whatever challenging situation you are facing.
- Try to feel your feelings a bit more than usual, and be kind to yourself in what you discover.
I hope this helps…you are worth the time and space you are taking for yourself.
I’d love to hear from you. What jumped out to you about the need for self-awareness? Where are you already self-aware, and where would you like to grow? What one thing you could encourage yourself for this week?
Please share this post with anyone you feel could benefit, or on social media. We’re in this together…