A little self-awareness goes a long way.

This post has been slightly updated from a post that ran on May 2, 2010.

I mentioned the other day that I have been reflecting on the absolutes that I preach while teaching the body image course.  The last one I shared was that it is never about you. 

Today’s bit?  A little self-awareness goes a very long way.

I’ve said this before but I am going to say it again.  Journaling as a young girl, in many ways, kept me safe.  Had I not turned to a journal when I was young to sort through what I was feeling and thinking, I don’t think I would have thought much about what I was feeling or thinking.  I would have just let those feelings and thoughts run rampant and not reflected on what I was learning from them.  But because there is only so much you can get from a journal where all you do is recite what you did that day, I soon turned to long, stream-of-conscious journal entries where I spent enough time on the page talking about more than just what I did for the day that I soon discovered what I most wanted for myself, what patterns were keeping me from getting there, and what pathways I needed to take.  Journaling also allowed me to move on. After I had spent 5 pages lamenting the end of a relationship or a bad grade or whatever, I had really exhausted my desire to sit in it.  Instead, looking up from the page, I was ready to move on, wiser and more clear. 

Moreover, because we all have a desire- at our core- to be honest to ourselves, when I wrote one thing in my journal, it was incredibly hard for me to act in a way that was counter to what I had just expressed.  Hence, my journal kept me safe.  It kept me honest.  It kept me doing the right thing.  I also think it kept any wounds I did and could have suffered in childhood and adolescence in perspective and at bay.  I was not what happened to me.  I was a thinking, breathing, loving person who acted from her soul.  Not events, but soul.  That’s a powerful thing to realize at any age.   

Now, does self-awareness only come from journaling?  No.  It can come from honest conversations with someone you trust, from counseling, from thoughtful meditations during a morning walk or evening swim.  How you get to self-awareness is as varied as we each are. That we get there is a great gift in living our most authentic lives, in being insulated from the pain that can come, in being open to the joy that can also come.  It is a salve to heal the wounds of body criticisms and self-image criticisms that can come if we aren’t prepared.  It is good medicine in fighting the good fight. 

So what do we do to raise our self-awareness?  Only you know what is right for you.  Perhaps you should start journaling, reading books that address issues that pique your interests, see a counselor, form a confidence circle with a friend, run, walk, or swim so that you can work things out in your head.  I can’t answer the how for you.  I can simply tell you that it is time and energy well spent.  If you are looking to make it a cornerstone of your self-work, journaling is a significant part of the Beautiful You journey that was specifically designed to increase one’s self-awareness and self-acceptance.  Periodically, I offer journal prompts on here.  I’ll continue to do so in the hopes that those prompts can be part of all of our strategies to go within.  And is there a girl in your life right now who is struggling?  Give her the gift of a journal to get her started in knowing her most amazing self.

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2 responses to “A little self-awareness goes a long way.”

  1. PJ

    I’ve just been back to re-read your earlier post about “it is never about you” and this one follows on so well. I take everything personally – and I’m beginning to understand this is a common trait among people with ED. I’ve always thought I was pretty invisible but actually it seems I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what other people think of me. Writing, both for my blog and through notes I’ve been writing after all my gp/dietician/councelor appts (my memory is not too gd at the moment) have helped me to see my thoughts in action – and therefore to analyse them more objectively. Journalling, as you say, can be so much more powerful than just a list of what you did that day.
    PJ recently posted..what to look for in a helpful website

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