Self-awareness. Does anyone possess this quality anymore?
Get ready, we’re going deep today.
I’ve mentioned before that when I struggled with infertility, I went through a very deep exploration of myself. What was my role in the world if not to become a mom? I read a lot of self-help books and spiritual books that had me asking myself questions, and I learned some things about myself that were kind of ugly.
Personally, this is why I think so many in today’s society fear looking inward, and instead, point fingers outward in blame. What if they find something ugly about themselves? How will they be able to be confident and love themselves? Well, there is a way, which I will explain later in this post.
One self-help book I read said that what annoys us about someone else is likely in ourselves. I remember thinking, no way, I’m not like my mother-in-law, pretentious and manipulative to control people into doing what she wants. If you read my novel, Whit’s End, this may sound familiar to you. I based Ava’s relationship with her sister-in-law on mine with my mother-in-law. Does Ava ever discover that she actually IS like her sister-in-law?
As for me, I did figure out that I really was like my mother-in-law. Not in manipulation, but in being a control freak. This was not a pleasant thing to learn about myself, but I can tell you, it helped me immensely. You know the old cliché, the truth will set you free? Well, it hurts at first, but then it actually does set you free. It helped me to figure out ways to have a better relationship with my mother-in-law, no matter how much she tried to control. It also helped me to let go of controlling others.
What I’m about to say may sound political, but I’m only using this as an example of self-awareness. The hate for the U.S. president is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I’ve been around for many presidents. I myself, didn’t like him for a long time, until I finally did some self-reflection. I became self-aware of my own behavior. It helped me as effectively as it did with my mother-in-law. If more people became introspective and self-aware, I know society would get along much better.
But, how can we love ourselves if we find something ugly?
Once we discover and accept that “ugly thing” about ourselves, it’s not so ugly anymore. It’s actually beautifully human. We realize that we are basically all the same, living our lives the best we know, using the tools of behavior we’ve learned to try to cope with relationships. The revelation helps us to accept others as they are and not blame or hate. This doesn’t excuse inappropriate behavior, but since we can’t change anyone but ourselves, we need to work on our own attitudes. In doing so, we cut out the blaming and empower ourselves.
I understand that people fear the power a president has over their lives, but fear itself is also a subject for self-reflection and a topic for an entirely different blog post. Again, this is not about the president or anyone else, it’s about what’s inside.
Instead of blaming, self-reflection and a change of attitude works. How do I know? Because, I do this every day. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.