This month, I explore the topic, ‘knowing yourself‘ as I’ve come to the realisation that I’ve spent most of my life, not knowing who I am. I’ve listed my most common failings and I’m curious to see if you associate or did associate with any of the below: –
- Saying yes when really I want to say ‘Hell No!’
- Always out to please others before pleasing myself
- Indecisive, preventing me from moving forward
- Lack of confidence and self-esteem
- Covering up my insecurities by being a joker
- Always worried about what others may think of me
- Strong dislike of my reflection
Do any of the above points sound familiar?
If yes, you now have a chance to put things right as it’s never too late!
Firstly, I’m going to concentrate on the ‘strong dislike of my reflection‘ as I know that I’m not alone with this.
My method for turning this around can be applied to any negative aspect of your life and it will help you to get to know yourself better. Step one is to practice self-awareness.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdomAristotle
Practising self-awareness to learn more about you
There are lots of informative websites out there that will help you get to know yourself and I will list them below, but firstly, you have to open yourself up to facing some challenging fears and knowing that there is no overnight fix. Practising self-awareness needs to become second nature so that you’re doing it without thinking and practising mindfulness is also key.
I hated looking in the mirror
I hated looking at myself in the mirror, especially when it’s leading up to that time of the month (sorry gentleman, but don’t let this put you off the rest of the article).
Practising mindfulness and becoming more self-aware taught me that this aspect of myself might be related to my hormones, but the key question for me was, can and how do I turn this around?
STOP THE NEGATIVE THINKING!
As soon as I realised that there was a possibility of changing my outlook by visiting the GP, I was immediately uplifted instead of staying low, which I had done for many years and in the process, not doing anything about it.
I had a plan and I was feeling positive.
Co-incidentally, as soon as I made myself aware of the possibility of it being contraception, I discovered that my hormone coil was past its sell by date. This is a strong learning lesson to never avoid feelings or emotions that cause you pain or fear.
Stop concentrating on the negative thinking and challenge yourself to think positively, because the only person putting you down right now IS YOU!
When you look in the mirror and you’re alone, it’s YOU who has the power to be positive or negative about your image. Ask yourself, what do I like about my body?
I love my eyes and when I concentrate on this aspect of myself, I remember comments made to me in the past about my eyes. This statement in itself is powerful because, when I didn’t care, when I wasn’t so hooked on the negative aspects of my reflection, I was happy!
I’ve still got both of my eyes, so what changed?
I’m more self-aware about my negative thinking and I can switch on the positive thinking and SMILE. Of course there are times when it’s not easy to do, but I then sit alone and meditate for a while to find a solution. It’s as simple as asking, what can I do about this?
In all seriousness, if you get yourself into a rut, you only concentrate on the negative aspects of your life and you don’t see what’s positive. Look around you, open your eyes, look at your loved ones and see what matters to you and for every negative thought, replace it with a positive thought.
Think about this too!
When you’re feeling positive, how does your body portray this?
Don’t be a question mark, be an exclamation mark!Amanda Norman
Another major tip I have to offer to allow you to get to know yourself better, is creating a self-aware journal. To do this, you need to be fully open to paying attention to what makes you feel both comfortable and uncomfortable. Record them as over time you will begin to learn the signals and you will find a solution to stop avoiding the issue and deal with it.
Self-evaluation is key to becoming more self-aware and please don’t ever chastise yourself. I used to do this all of the time and slam myself in a way that I wouldn’t dream of doing to anyone else for fear of really hurting them. Again, not very positive is it?
I’ve talked about not liking my reflection in the mirror as one of my negative traits, but another one is how people perceive me. Why was I so self-conscious about this and believing that I wasn’t any good?
By creating a daily journal, even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day, you can begin to create a positive turn around and get to understand why you act or think in a certain way.
Don’t be afraid and don’t avoid the issue! Explore with gentle self-kindness and you will begin to feel a lot better about yourself.
Some of the key questions below allowed me to discover my negative thinking and how it was only me perceiving this.
- What happened today?
- How did this make you feel?
- Have you felt like this before?
- What did you do about it?
- What did you do different today?
- What was positive about today?
I discovered that I was never out to please myself and that I was only out to please others, ALL OF THE TIME even when my inner self is screaming NO, NO, NO, but I would never say no for fear of upsetting someone.
I DARE YOU TO LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE AND ACT UPON IT!
Seriously, do what your inner self is screaming at you to do and record the reactions from others and record your own feelings and emotions. It’s not wrong to put yourself first!
To be good at what you do, you need to be strong and healthy both physically and mentally.
I discovered that the phrase ‘self-love‘ used to resonate strong feelings of disgust in me as I didn’t feel that it was healthy to love yourself. This just makes me smile now as I know that it’s silly. I also think that sub-consciously I was avoiding this because of fear and I would do this by telling myself that I’m not worthy of love. I never for one moment reflected on the positive aspect of people that do love and care for me. This is another strong example of being caught in a negative thinking pattern.
Over time I was running myself into the ground by doing and not listening to my inner voice and via self-reflection, it’s obviously one of the reasons for my anxiety episode.
All of those times staying up late to get that task done to please someone as I’m the person to be relied upon, I can’t let anyone down, I can’t have a lunch break as I have to get this task completed as people will be upset and so on and so on..
The harsh reality of this is realising that it was all in my head. I created that scenario, I worked myself into the ground because of my negative thought patterns.
I began putting myself first and although I faced the fear as it’s not easy to do when it has become a way of life, I did it again and again and I grew stronger and no I’m not selfish. I’m more aware of myself!
I now have self-respect!
There are numerous ways to do a journal. You can simply put time aside to write daily or whenever you feel the need to. I used the Tarot as a tool to help me self-reflect and I recorded my findings in a journal.
The major turn around in my life from the self-reflection, self-love, self-awareness and self-kindness, was finding the strength to actually remove myself from a negative environment. It’s not an easy process, but it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be and if I hadn’t done this, I’d still be breathing and not living life!
Finally, please talk to someone.
Don’t bottle up your fears as it doesn’t do you any good.
Find that one person who you trust or look at counselling services, because you will learn one thing…
YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
Identity Personal Empowerment
Identity – Personal Empowerment is my daughter’s project and it’s brilliant, especially when she talks about people’s perceptions and projecting them onto us and what we can do with them.
Mental Health Foundation – I love this website due to the resources that are available.
I hope this article helps you and if you have any questions please ask or comment below.
Please note that I don’t have any qualifications to manage your mental health and I can only offer you general advice from my own experiences. Please consult your GP if you’re struggling with your mental health as they will get you the help you need.