It is already February 2nd, 2017, and this is my first post of the year, so Happy New Year to you! Maybe a little unconventional to start the New Year by basically skipping January,
but this year January for me was all about self-awareness.
Life threw something at me at the end of last year that made me stop in my path – ok, I guess you could say it made me freeze, feel paralyzed and completely unable to move on, at least for a while – and I literally had no choice but to stare into that proverbial mirror and face what it had to show me. The experience has been brutally honest and at times horrifying while also genuinely beautiful, but most of all it has been liberating.
I, like so many people I know, have been working on self-awareness for quite some time now. Those who know me see me participate in numerous classes and courses that not only help me become a better coach and trainer, but also offer ample opportunities for self reflection. I am constantly reading books and articles on the topic and do yoga regularly, so I was convinced that I have a pretty good understanding of who I really am.
Practicing self-awareness on a regular basis certainly sharpens our understanding of ourselves and gives us the illusion, that we have discovered and conquered most of what there is to know about our own behavior, decisions, thoughts, emotions and needs. However, until I went through an experience that questioned everything I ever thought to be true, shook up every value I ever took for granted and threw all my parts up in the air only to then let the chips fall where they may, so that I felt utterly vulnerable and completely naked when forced to stare into my own reflection, until that point I really had not been given the true opportunity to explore at least some of the hidden parts of my personality, some of the anger, the shame, those things generally sitting in my blind spot at the best, or completely hidden from me and everyone else.
An experience like this is not at all desirable, for it comes with so much sorrow and pain I would never willingly choose to bring it upon anybody I love. But now, coming out on the other side I can honestly say it has been a true gift. I have connected with myself and a couple of true friends in more honest and authentic ways than ever before. I have discovered many resources that are available to me now on a deeply personal level, I understand I have and will always have a choice, no matter what life throws at me. I feel weakened in some ways but much stronger in others and have broken some of the invisible but very binding chains that had me tied down for so long.
I am not here to tell you everything is perfect and I have no more problems to face. What I am here to tell you is that there is so much to gain from a horribly painful experience if only we have the strength and courage to work through it instead of around it. It can be a truly transformational experience, one which will allow you to get to your core and connect with the place in your Self where the true power is.
Should you find yourself in such a position it is essential to have support. I have found it impossible to work through it on my own – and believe me, I tried. I was too proud for a while to ask for help but was struggling so much I finally let go of my pride and reached out, and what a difference it made! Not because anyone could solve the situation for me or because I needed sound advice – although I did get some – but because I was not alone with the pain. Simply the fact that there was another human being sharing the pain and anxiety I was experiencing made it so much more bearable. So make sure you have support, whether a friend, a relative a therapist or a coach, but don’t try this on your own. Not only is it very hard on you, but who will you share the memories with?
What prompted me to write this post was a great article I read in HBR about Shakespeare’s characters and self awareness, how so many of them had the power to develop their personalities but only after they found themselves in a truly painful situation
where they chose to self-reflect.
Enjoy and reflect.