In this moment be conscious of your breath, your feeling with your body – are you cold? Hot? Tense? Relaxed? How is your mood? How fast or slow is your heart beat? What are you doing right this minute while reading this – Fidgeting? Playing with your hair? Biting your nails? Eating (my favorite!), hopefully not sleeping! I bet you are suddenly very aware of many things going on with you, and within you at this moment. Now think of doing this all the time, wherever you are, with whoever you are and with anything that you are doing. Think of the different ways this simple yet intricate process of tuning into yourself might affect the way you interact with strangers, with your loved ones, and with yourself. If you didn’t guess already, what I’m referring to is this concept of self-awareness, of being present with your own thoughts and feelings on a regular basis.
You might ask why continuous self-awareness is so crucial. I’m going to propose the following idea of preoccupation with oneself, which most of the time could be interpreted as self-criticism and worry. People mistakenly confuse both preoccupation with oneself and self-awareness as being one and the same and that both are negative. Yet the former is an unhealthy self-absorption, while the latter is a state of mind where one accepts oneself as they are without any judgment. It’s being in sync with you and only you at any given time. Now back to the reason for practicing this ability, for us to be effective in relationships we must first learn how to be in tune with ourselves. Think of a toddler you have interacted with or maybe stories of what you heard from your parents about you as a toddler. Being aware of what kinds of feelings they bring up in us and how we think of us in relation to them is the cornerstone of a healthy, secure attachment and connectedness. Now if you try to think of all other relationships you acquire as you go through life, the same concept applies. Think about your responses to others, based on how you were brought up. Are you super reactive or sensitive? Do you speak all the time or do you withdraw during social interactions? And lastly think of when was the last time you asked yourself why do I do what I do? Of course we all have a story, but that story need not be an excuse for all your actions, rather an avenue for understanding yourself. Following this path of understanding yourself, then makes being present with yourself easy, which then helps you, be present with others.
If this is something you have been doing already, good for you! However if you are willing to take on this journey of self-realization, start thinking of steps you might want to take. The first step is to accept this concept and then to become a careful observer of thyself where you try to get to know and notice things you might have tried to block-away before. Then you might want to find someone that you trust to talk to about your own observations of yourself. I truly believe in the significance of this exercise from within, which could have been triggered by another close confidant believing in ME, or YOU in this case. I will have more to say about this close confidant with time. Stay tuned and happy self-reflecting!