I have been working for the past 24 years on my self-awareness. It is the most important skill I have ever developed in my life. I have a deep appreciation for my own body and mind. I have learned to trust my instincts, and I don’t always have to check my ego on things, or listen to what I think others have to say about me.
For me it has been a life long quest. When I was 12, I was always told that if I didn’t get my confidence from other people, I would never be able to grow up and be happy with myself. I took that advice to heart, and it has been extremely difficult to not be self-conscious in the past 20 years. A lot of what I take for granted in life is just because people have told me it is the way to be.
I’m a big believer that being self-aware is a huge part of having a healthy self-esteem. When I first started to realize that I used to be self-conscious, I was definitely not self-aware. I was so used to having people say, “You really aren’t good enough,” or “You don’t have enough confidence.
I know, I know. I was so used to being told that I was only good enough to be a good friend, or I had to be a good writer, or I had to be a good musician, or that I wasn’t good enough to be attractive. It was all a part of being told I was bad, uninteresting, worthless, and ugly. It made me feel that I was a worthless person and a failure. It made me feel like I was not valued.
I feel like I can sum it up in two sentences, maybe three. I just feel like I have really good friends and I want to be accepted for who I am. But I do get into this weird zone where I feel I’m being treated poorly and I just want to be myself.
This is the same sense of self-judgements that all of us have toward the people we hang out with. It is difficult to get out of, but we all have the tendency to take it personally. I’ve written about this before, and you can read more here: How to Talk About Yourself Better.
I think a lot of these self-judgments are about being hurtful, and that is a good thing to take personally. I know that being hurtful is a bad thing, but Ive found that when I can talk about it and ask for the person to understand the hurtful way I feel, I notice more change in my own behavior.
I was talking to my wife the other day, and she told me that she had been trying to talk herself out of a lot of things in her personal life as well. She said she had been trying to quit smoking for about three years, but after she gave up the cigarettes, she started to feel better. She also said she had always been a bit of a perfectionist, but after giving up the cigarettes, she realized she was more inclined to be more “real.
The idea that you should want to be better after giving up something that you loved can be a difficult one to overcome. As with so many things in life, we can choose to pursue a life without the addiction but we can also choose to live without a particular thing. In my case, I chose to give up something that made me feel good.
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with that information, but I do know that it may very well have a profound impact on what I do in the future. But first, I need to get a few things in order before I can truly consider myself a success.