Are you feeling like everything on the outside seems to be going well, yet you can’t shake off the feeling that something isn’t quite right within you? Maybe you struggle with anxiety, anger, guilt, or depression that comes and goes unexpectedly. Or perhaps you find yourself constantly seeking comfort in unhealthy things like sugar, alcohol, or too much screen time. Maybe you’re experiencing a lot of conflict in your relationships, and you feel like you’re constantly getting triggered by the same things. It can be easy to think that this is just how life is and that you have to accept it, but I’m here to tell you that life doesn’t have to feel this way. The key to making lasting changes in your life is awareness.
Why do we feel stuck?
When we’re feeling stuck or unfulfilled, it can be easy to look outside of ourselves for answers. We might blame our partner, our job, or even the world around us for our struggles. But the truth is, true change and growth start from within.
Yet, many of us live our lives somewhat unconsciously, not really taking the time to think about how we feel about our lives and whether or not we want to and can make any changes.
Often, we wait until we are so painfully stuck and overwhelmed to face our true feelings and make significant changes. When we are in pain, we are forced to confront our problems, ask better questions, and make the changes necessary.
But do we need to wait until we are feeling so painfully and uncomfortably stuck to make meaningful changes? The answer is no, and it all begins with awareness.
What is Awareness?
So what exactly is awareness? It’s simply the state of being conscious and present in the moment. It is paying attention to our senses, rather than getting lost in our thoughts or using distractions to avoid dealing with our emotions. When we are aware, we can become more attuned to our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as well as the impact that these have on ourselves and others.
Awareness is the capacity to be present, to be in touch with the present moment and to be fully alive. – Eckhart Tolle
Why is Awareness Important for creating lasting change?
Awareness is essential for creating lasting change because it allows us to:
- Identify negative or limiting patterns and habits that keep appearing in your lives that may be holding you back
- Understand the ways in which you attach meanings to these patterns
- Uncover what role you play in these patterns
- Get in touch with the feelings you have associated with these patterns
- Uncover the root causes of these patterns
- Take steps to overcome the limiting patterns
By looking within and taking responsibility for our actions, we can start to identify the root causes of our struggles and work towards making positive changes in our lives.
Self-Awareness is not being hard on ourselves
It’s important to remember that self-awareness is not about being hard on ourselves or placing blame. Instead, it’s about being honest with ourselves and having compassion for our struggles. By being kind and compassionate towards ourselves, we can start to unravel the layers of our emotions and thought patterns and begin to understand why we do the things we do.
So let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to create more awareness for creating lasting change in your life.
1. Self-Reflection: Taking Responsibility for Our Actions
It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of blaming others for our problems, whether it be our partner, our boss, or even society. But the truth is, placing blame on others only serves to disempower us and keep us stuck in our current situation. It takes away our agency and responsibility for our own lives.
Looking deeper within and taking ownership of our own actions and emotions can be challenging, but it is an essential step toward growth and positive change. It helps us to take control of our lives by allowing us to become more self-aware and understand the root causes of our problems.
Remember, we all make mistakes, and awareness is the key to making the necessary changes to move forward.
2. Ask better questions to increase awareness
We’ve all heard the saying “If you want a better answer, ask a better question,” and it definitely applies here.
When we feel stuck in our lives, most of us have tendencies to ask ourselves “Arrgh, why I am stuck here?” However, to increase our self-awareness and start creating lasting changes, we need to ask “better” questions.
These types of questions can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” and they can really help us understand ourselves and our circumstances better.
When we ask thoughtful, insightful questions that require deep reflection and go beyond surface-level issues, we can get to the root of problems and identify core issues, rather than just addressing superficial patterns.
Let’s see an example of what this process looks like.
1. First questions to understand where you are at in your life
Here are some questions to help you explore:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your life overall? You might consider breaking this down into specific areas such as relationships, career, sense of purpose, spirituality, and leisure activities.
- What do you value most in your life? Are you able to fulfill your needs based on the values you hold dear?
- What emotions do you typically experience on a day-to-day basis? Categorize them as either fear-based or love-based.
- Do you tend to hold back in certain areas of your life because you fear being judged or because you’re afraid of failure? Are there any areas of your life that are out of balance and how does this impact you and the people around you?
- Have you given up on any aspirations or goals that you used to have?
2. Peeling the onion to go deeper into self-awareness
Now it’s time to reflect on the answers to your questions and dig even deeper to understand what’s going on behind them. While you’re thinking about that, take a moment to consider how you would describe the emotions you felt as you read these questions and started thinking about your responses. What did you notice?
- In which areas do you typically experience fear-based emotions such as regret, frustration, anger, resentment, disappointment, sadness, and self-pity?
- In which areas do you tend to feel more positive emotions like gratitude, pride, fulfillment, a sense of achievement, love, inner peace, happiness, or joy?
- What situations tend to trigger strong emotions for me?
- How do I typically react to emotional triggers?
- Where in your body do you feel these emotions and how would you describe the energy you experience?
- What are the thoughts that come to mind?
- When you get caught up in a conversation or monologue in your head, how true are they?
- How do my emotions affect my behavior and actions when I am triggered?
3. Identifying the root cause
Now, let’s dig a little deeper and ask some more questions to understand where your limiting patterns and emotional triggers come from. By being aware of the origins of these patterns, you can start to address the underlying issues in a more effective and meaningful way.
- What are the thoughts that come to mind?
- When you get caught up in a conversation or monologue in your head, how true are the they?
- What do your thoughts say about you?
- In these moments, what do you believe about yourself?
- Do you know when you first had these thoughts about yourself? How far can you trace back to the time you started feeling this way?
- Can you identify some events in the past where these emotions and thoughts originated?
3. Journaling for Awareness
You can try journaling as a tool to increase your awareness and gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
One of the benefits of journaling is that it allows you to reflect on your thoughts and emotions in a more mindful way. By simply taking the time to put pen to paper, you are able to slow down and be present in the moment, rather than getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life.
When you take the time to write down your thoughts and feelings, you can gain new insights and perspectives that may not have been immediately apparent.
Journaling can allow you to :
- pause and reflect on what is going on inside of you
- process your experiences in a deeper way
- make sense of your emotions
- understand your patterns of behavior.
One simple way to start journaling is to set a little time everyday to write about your thoughts and feelings, even if it’s just a few lines. You can focus on one specific topic or simply write about whatever comes to mind.
It’s important to be open and honest with yourself and to let your thoughts and feelings flow freely. You don’t have to worry about grammar or spelling – this is your personal journal, so just let your words flow.
4. Developing Self-Compassion for Greater Awareness and Understanding
Another component is enhancing awareness is self-compassion.
When we are more accepting and understanding of ourselves, including our flaws and limitations, it allows us to be more honest with ourselves and to see ourselves more accurately, rather than hiding behind a facade of perfection or denial.
Self-compassion also helps us to recognize and acknowledge our emotions and to be more present in the moment, rather than avoiding or suppressing our feelings. This helps us to increase our awareness of our internal experiences and to make more mindful decisions.
Moreover, when we are self-compassionate, we are less likely to engage in negative self-talk or to beat ourselves up for our mistakes. Instead, we can approach ourselves with kindness and understanding.
In short, self-compassion allows us to be more honest, present, and resilient, which can help us to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
5. Having a Support System in Exploring Awareness
Reaching out for support can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to boosting self-awareness and making positive changes in your life.
A non-judgmental, empathetic, and compassionate presence of another human being can create a safe and trusting environment in which you can explore your thoughts and feelings more fully.
Having someone who can listen to your story and reflect back on your experiences can help you gain new insights and perspectives that you may not have considered on your own.
It can also help you feel more grounded and provide a sense of encouragement and accountability.
The Take Home Message
Awareness is a powerful tool that can help us make positive changes in our lives. By asking the right questions, and becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the patterns that hold us back. This understanding can then be used to make conscious and intentional choices that align with our values and lead us towards a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
If you’re interested in learning more about how I can help you increase your self-awareness and make positive changes in your life, feel free to book a free exploratory call. I’m happy to chat and see if my support can be of benefit to you on your journey.