How Self Awareness Changed my Life.

Photo Credits: Fifo Adebakin

I am deeply in love with myself. Well, on most days.

But for this to have even happened in the first place, I needed to get to know myself. And so, I did.

I learnt about the good things and the bad things. I learnt (and am still learning everyday), everything I can learn about myself. This is what being self-aware means to me and it has changed my life completely. I am a much more confident and secure person because of this. I am also kinder, and softer because of my self-awareness. I will share with you how self-awareness has made me a better version of myself and then I will share with you steps I took in getting to know myself

First, self-awareness helped me to better understand myself and my desires. More than that, it helped me better communicate these needs to the people in my life, making our relationships so much more nurturing. Because I know myself, I know why I like expressive and communicative lovers. I like people who will tell me that they like me, tell me how much they like me and want to spend time with me. This is important to me because its rooted in my (mostly resolved) self-esteem issues. I want this external validation from people that love me. I like how it makes me feel important and cherished and love.

Now I know all this because I traced my needs, which some had referred to as me ‘being extra’ until I found out what was really beneath my actions and thoughts. If you do the work of getting to know yourself, soon you will be able to know what you want, how you want it and why you want it.

Let me tell you, the truth is that a lot of us do things just for the sake of it. A lot of us are not intentional enough to know what is truly under a lot of our thoughts and actions. Self-awareness means that you know what is important to you and why it is important to you. Your actions are more likely to come from a place of purpose as opposed to mindless actions.

Second, self-awareness made me more aware of my flaws and how to improve them to become a better version of myself. More than that, becoming honest with myself and getting to know myself also led me to realise the human capacity for both good and bad. I am reminded of the ying and yang symbols, black half with a drop of white and white half with a drop of black. A little bit of good in evil and a little bit of evil in good. We are not absolute, infallible creatures. We can mess up. We often do. We need to be kinder to ourselves when we mess up whilst still remaining accountable when we are at fault. that fine balance, is the work of healthy self-awareness.

Like me, I react to stress very badly. I’m a little better now but tension transforms me into an irrational hot mess. Sometime ago, because of my inability to handle stressful situations, , I hurt someone I cared about and he cleared me that he felt disrespected and needed some space from me. I was hurt but I accepted his stance very easily because that flaw I had just displayed was something I was already aware of (and trying to work on). I didn’t fight him or say he was lying. I offered a very sincere apology and gave him the space that he asked for. I knew what I had done was wrong but it had not come as a surprise to me, and it was something i was trying ti be better at. Apologising meant recognising his hurt and then sitting down with myself to address my mess up. On my own, I journaled and started thinking about how to concretely improve my actions. My favourite thing about self-awareness is the matching drive for action, for improvement, for growth. Because you know better, you want to be better. And this means becoming a better friend, lover, sister, brother. A better person.

This sounds nice right. Well it is. It is also a whole lot of work and it is a never ending process. You can never finish the work of self-awareness. There is always more to learn, to unlearn and relearn. But the first step to self-awareness is to become honest with yourself. Just face yourself for real and realise that perfection is not a standard you should bother chasing. You must first realise that you are a human being who will mess up, make mistakes and hurt people. When you realise this, you tend to judge yourself a bit less and the you begin to truly unpack your thoughts, your actions and your identity.

The next step is to spend time with yourself. Journal about your thoughts. journal about your hopes, your fears. journal ehn people hurt you and journal when you feel hurt by others. be in the habit of documenting and interrogating your thoughts. Find out what you like. What makes you happy. What inspires you? What makes you sad? What makes you afraid and why? Who are you running from? Where do you find joy? Interrogate your fears. Get to know yourself the same way you would get to know a friend or a lover.

Finally, to become more self-aware, always look inwards. When you behave a certain way, always ask yourself why. When someone is trying to care for you but you distance yourself and make them leave, why are you doing that? What motivates your actions? When something happens between you and someone else, look inward and see how your own words and actions may have affected them too. Be honest about your intentions and communicate them.

Life is beautiful and difficult and painful yet bursting in joy. And you will always have yourself through life so you might as well get to truly know the face you will look at in the mirror every morning. Knowing yourself opens you up to a world of softness, accountability and growth. It has certainly made me better and I can bet it would do the same for you too.

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