Welcome back to Pretty Spiritual Podcast. So glad we can be together for today’s topic: self awareness. First off, what is self awareness? We love this simple definition: being self aware means knowing what we’re doing when we’re doing it.
We’re going to look at questions like, why is self awareness important? What happens when there are parts of our lives that are below the level of awareness? How do we check out and dull our awareness? And what tools can help us start to bring these habits and patterns into conscious awareness?
Self-awareness is often the link between our emotional lives and our actions. In other words, when we are practicing self-reflection, we have a choice about how we act. And, conversely, lack of self awareness can mean that we cause harm to ourselves and others. The unacknowledged parts of our lives can cause us great fear we don’t even know exists. And this fear can actually drive our impulses and actions.
And when we’re stuck in patterns or habits that are causing harm, we’re usually acting out and repeating dysfunctional learned behaviors. Chances are, we all know what it’s like to be caught in a cycle of addictive numbing or checking out.
While more self-awareness can help us feel better longterm, it can often feel worse in the shortterm. Why? Well, we’re getting a front row seat to the patterns we’re not yet able to shift or change. If this is where you’re at and it feels like too much, don’t worry! This is just the first phase. With continued effort, the space to choose will open up. And often it feels like a moment of grace when it does.
We know this might sound obvious, but we’re going to feel stuck until we are aware. Maybe self awareness will start to infiltrate our lives for brief moments. And we can’t help but be unaware of the stuff that’s still below the level of consciousness.
That’s okay, too! When we are stuck in patterns for long enough, we become willing to open our hearts and minds to a new experience.
Self reflection is the first step to changing patterns and behaviors. Once we see what we’re doing, we start to get an opportunity to make different choices. The more awareness we have of ourselves, the more space there is for us to choose.
Like so many other parts of our spiritual lives, self reflection is a muscle. The more time and energy we put into exercising that muscle, the stronger and more flexible it becomes. How can we start? If we look underneath our actions, we have an opportunity to see the attitudes or beliefs that are driving our behavior.
Especially when we’re acting on patterns we learned when we were very young, this comes down to a matter of feeling safe or being okay. For core beliefs that are deeply ingrained, learning and watching out for our triggers can be really helpful.
Okay, ya’ll, let’s get that wellness and spiritual healing! Here come our favorite tools for growing self reflection and gaining awareness.
Our favorite tool is the A-B-C model, which teaches us that “external events don’t cause our emotions, but our beliefs do.” A is the activating event (maybe even in the moment, if we’re super lucky). B is for the beliefs we formed after the activating event… and chances are these are old ones. C is for consequences. What was the result of these beliefs on us and others? You can get even more info on our tools page.
The good news is that we have more awareness than we’ve ever had and we are exactly where we’re supposed to be. So we can relax and trust ourselves. We see more and more that we’re creating our reality and our relationships based on our beliefs. When we look at what’s going on below the surface, we get the opportunity to live more authentically. Maybe it can even help us be softer and easier on ourselves and others.
Plus, reflecting with other people (especially spiritual besties) can help to introduce new perspectives and information. There might just be a different way to look at something! (Fingers crossed.) Also, we want to put in a plug for positive self affirmation. What if the practice of doing this helps bring old ideas and beliefs to the surface and helps us choose a new perspective? The key to all of these spiritual practices? Repetition.
Finally, meditation is a forever tool that helps us to be aware in truly miraculous ways. It can literally change our brains and create space between our feelings and what comes after them. Maybe we can just trust that the process is happening according to plan. When it’s time for the self-awareness to blossom, it will probably feel like grace.
When meditation is a daily habit, it actually creates new neural pathways in our brains. The more we practice, the more ingrained they become in our brains. This means that the more we repeat a practice, the more available it will be in the midst of our lives. The state of open awareness that we practice in meditation gets carried over into our busy, full lives.
The power of meditation can actually break through our habitual modes of dissociation. This means that self reflection can change our relationship with the stuff that’s still below the level of self awareness. It works on us even before we realize it. And often, we only see it when it shows up as grace in our lives.
And, hey, when all else fails, putting thoughts and motives to paper can help us see what’s going on underneath. Writing is an incredible tool for self introspection. So take a few minutes to write about your thoughts and feelings. See what you’re believing about your sense of self and maybe some new perspectives will open up. Maybe we can love the person who’s here right now.
What tools are you using to grow self awareness and practice self reflection? Please share them with us! Find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Insight Timer, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud, Podbean, and Stitcher (or our Contact page) and share your feelings, thoughts, and anything else! Thanks for listening to our spiritual podcasts. We love ya!