It’s nearly the end of May, I absolutely love this time of year. It’s when we have the emergence of new buds and blossom on the trees and the number of birds visiting my garden increase. All the things I love to see. It signals new life, growth and hope.
Ok, so self-awareness, let’s talk about it and how a lack of it will majorly block your happiness.
I’ve been wanting to do a series of blog posts on what I feel are the most common factors that limit our happiness. What holds us back from living our best life, because if we can pinpoint what it is that’s holding us back, we can take the necessary steps to change it. What limits our happiness is different from person to person, however, there are definitely a few themes that we all seem to struggle with and I want to talk about them, so we can kick those things into touch. First up, is self-awareness.
I really like good ol’ Wikipedia’s definition. It’s simple and to the point but clearly differentiates it from other similar terms that people might confuse it with: “Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognise oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals. It is not to be confused with consciousness… consciousness is a term given to being aware of one’s environment and body and lifestyle, self-awareness is the recognition of that awareness.”
Self-awareness isn’t something I was really even aware of a few years ago. Sure, I’d heard the word before, but I never cared to understand what it meant or how it affected me. Not going to lie, I thought self-awareness was just for people who were super into yoga, meditation and spirituality – like “enlightened” people, you know? While I’ve definitely become more into these topics myself over the past year, I’ve come to realise that you don’t have to be an enlightened yogi to appreciate self-awareness. Becoming self-aware is something that benefits every single person, no matter your passions or lifestyle. Personally, I find it so important that it should be taught in school.
People like to get all philosophical and spiritual when talking about self-awareness and how to actually practice it, but really it’s quite simple. Being self-aware just means paying attention. That’s it. It means you’re making a conscious effort, or purposefully, paying attention to your thoughts, actions, reactions, emotions, general mood, etc. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
How a lack of self-awareness limits your happiness
What I’ve come to realise after starting to practice my own self-awareness is that when you’re not self-aware, you don’t feel in control of your life. At least, looking back that’s how I feel. I remember feeling out of control, like a passenger in my own life, not the pilot. I remember feeling like life was flying by so fast and I had no way of knowing how to slow it down or make it flow the way I wanted it to. And as you can imagine, those feelings were limiting my happiness.
At the time though, I just thought it was standard for everyone to feel that way. I thought that my level of happiness was just normal – that it was normal to feel pretty happy but also know at the same time that there was more happiness out there that was just out of my reach because I didn’t know how to get there. And the truth is, it is normal. It is average to feel average about your happiness. But why, WHY, would you want your level of happiness to be average?
I read somewhere recently that in a study about happiness when participants were asked how happy they were overall, the average answer was 7 out of 10. That seems pretty good, pretty normal right? I think that’s where I was, a 6 or 7 out of 10. That’s not bad! BUT, – it could be a 10. There are people out there, plenty of them, living at a level of 10!
Why wouldn’t you want to strive for that? How much better would life be at a 10?? Seriously, I want you to stop and think about it for a moment. Just give yourself one minute to imagine what life at a level 10 happiness would be like for you.
Since becoming more self-aware and just starting this inner reflection, soul-alignment process, I would rate my overall happiness as a 9 out of 10. And I have to tell you, it feels amazing (not to like brag or anything!). I’m just really happy – and I haven’t even reached my goals yet. I’m just able to enjoy my journey and process towards my goals so much more than I was before. The great thing is, you are closer to this than you might realise. It might seem far off, it might seem impossible to get to right now, but I promise, it’s not. It was just one year ago that I started to practice self-awareness so it’s closer than you think and you don’t have to go on any long spiritual retreats to get there.
To sum it up, when you are self-aware, you are in control of your life. Not only are you in control, but you feel in control and with that feeling of control you can do anything you want. You can change something you don’t like about your life, you can decide not to do things that don’t make you feel good, you can choose to participate more in things that do make you happy and you will know exactly why you are making these decisions. With self-awareness you are an observer of your actions, thoughts and reactions and as an observer you get to choose how you respond to things. You get to choose if what you’re observing about yourself aligns with your true self, with the person you want to be, with your soul.
When you are self-aware, you have a much deeper understanding of your true self and can make decisions that reflect the person you want to be and truly are.