I think, unfortunately, a lot of people are in denial about who they truly are and most importantly, how that may be reflected to the outside world.
Self-awareness was one of the major reasons why my 24th year ended up being one of my healthiest and happiest. Honing this trait was also one of the most difficult pills to swallow. Here’s why:
For a long time, I let the way that others see me become the way I saw myself.
I listened to the stories they told me about me. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I realized how messed up that is. Because some of those stories are fake. And the truth demands our attention.
Sure, some of those stories were true, but it’s one thing to just assume that what people say about you MUST be true, and it’s another to confirm those beliefs for yourself.
It wasn’t until I started taking the time to be a little introspective that I started making headway. I dug deep within myself and figured out what matters most to me and what I want my life to look like. I got real with the person I really am.
This took a lot of self-help books, therapy appointments, drunken mistakes, text arguments and regrouping over brunch. I spent a lot of conversations through tears with my friends, asking why they thought certain things went wrong and why they thought I acted in particular ways. Through these conversations, I began to figure out what made me tick, where I screwed up, where I succeeded and how I’ve grown. It seems simple, but sometimes we get so swept up in the monotony of every day that we don’t take the time to think—REALLY think—about who we are.
I began to recognize what I suck at sometimes
In time, and through a lot of thinking and (super) hard work, I learned to not only acknowledge my flaws but own them. By doing this, and recognizing those weaknesses in themselves, the very recognizing became one of my greatest strengths.
I learned which situations I thrive in and which situations make me uncomfortable. I learned how I behave towards people when I’m anxious. I learned that I run when I’m scared. I learned I have trust issues that go back to my first relationship. I learned that I thrive on affirmation and shut down when I’m denied.
All of these things weren’t obvious to me, until I took the time to think about ME.
We spend a lot of time in our days on autopilot. I’ll admit, the average human being probably doesn’t think half as much as I do (lol). But I’ve come to realize that my self awareness has become my strength. My greatest blessing and sometimes a hindrance. I’m not perfect (lol again) and sometimes I’ll behave in ways that I don’t realize. But it’s always a process. In time, you’ll start to really get yourself. From there, you can succeed and be even happier and content with yourself and the cards you’ve been dealt.
You have to surround yourself with people who get you, too.