By: Yadley Turnier
Whether you experience external or internal challenges, self-awareness is an inescapable part of being human. Self-reflection and self-awareness help you to rediscover who you are.
What is the essence of self-reflection and the process of self-awareness?
Well, you, yes, you! You are a picture that emerges through your experiences. Before you get nervous about what you are about to read, I want to invite you to take a deep breath for five seconds, hold for five and breathe out for five. Please give yourself the space to participate in this breathing exercise when you need it. The purpose is to clear your mind and allow you to feel as if you are at the center of your being. Once you have completed this exercise, you should feel more at ease, and your thoughts and feelings should be more intertwined.
Since we are on the topic of self-awareness, I want to ask you all a question. How well do you know yourself, and are you aware of your own emotions, beliefs, and values? Now pause for a second, grab a pen and paper, and take a few minutes to reflect. What is your inner voice saying to you? I know it may sound unorthodox to ask yourself this question but think about it. Try to silence the distractions around you so that you can focus. Can you hear your thoughts? Do you accept them? And if not, that’s ok too.
Sometimes it’s hard to listen to your thoughts when the noise around you is too loud. No, I’m not talking about physical noise, but the mental noise that lives in your head. Picture this: you’re at a bar with your friends, the music is loud, and you’re having a great time, but as soon as you leave the bar and you’re outside, you realize how loud the music was on this inside. Put this scenario into perspective now with you as a person. The bar with loud music is a metaphor for all the thoughts you have on your mind: School, work, relationships, stress, family, financial issues. Now try to silence that noise. What are you left with? It gets interesting when you put aside the everyday noise. Putting aside the noise that lives in your head is the first step in the process of self-awareness.
Many times, we’re told to identify our thoughts and feelings. We need to know where they come from and why they are there. Self-reflection is the process of questioning yourself and getting deep inside yourself, learning more about yourself. It is the process of knowing yourself inside and out. We get to find out our strengths and weaknesses and why we do certain things—identifying what factors make us happy. What parts are you disappointed with? Self-reflection doesn’t come easy for everyone, but it is essential to understand that everyone has their strengths and inner workings.
I know this may be a lot, and I’m in your business, but let these questions marinate in your head. When I asked myself those questions, I was struggling to find the perfect solutions too. I felt like I was taking an open book test and still didn’t know the answers. There are probably many of us that feel the same. A lack of connection from our true selves can sometimes make things more challenging to address.
I found that the best way to overcome this disconnection is to reconnect. Cut out all distractions and focus on yourself, and I mean ALL distractions. For 24 hours, I did a phone detox and did not check my phone for emails, text messages, or social media. I didn’t even watch tv. It was just me and my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I don’t know about you all, but I have this ridiculous obsession with my phone. Even my own family knew I had a problem! I asked them the night before my detox how they felt about my phone usage, and let’s say they had a few choice opinions. My mom and sister had no faith in me to undergo this detox, but I was determined to do better for myself.
The Saturday morning of my phone detox, I began my day with a run and felt amazing! I was able to get up at around 8:30 am. I typically don’t go for morning runs, but I decided to make some changes to my routine this time. It was great to get outside and feel the rush of a workout. Starting my day off like this helped me disconnect from my phone and reconnect with myself. Getting my body moving was essential, and I found that my mind was more straightforward when I was physically active. I also noticed that I had less stress for the rest of the day, which I had been trying to improve for the last few weeks before this detox. With our busy lives, it’s not easy to find time to take care of ourselves, and there can be so many distractions that keep us from being in the moment. We all have different priorities, but we hardly ever make ourselves the first one. Some engagements are necessary, but setting time aside during your day to also reflect is just as important.
After completing my other priorities, such as homework and organizing my room, I dedicated the remainder of the day to some self-reflecting. I grabbed a journal and a pen and enjoyed my alone time, and focused on myself. I had heard of this game called “We’re Not Really Strangers.” It’s a game where you can ask yourself questions about your life. Then you can write down the answers in your journal. I think it’s interesting to see how many questions you can ask yourself when you are alone. I also thought about how much easier it would be to let things flow naturally and enjoy them.
Some questions in the game are deep and expose things that we don’t typically address. One question that the game asked was, “Can you think of one thing you keep doing that keeps hurting you?” It became clear that the more we distract ourselves from our wounds, the less vulnerable we become. It’s like we’re sitting in a comfortable place of being safe and secure, but I found that vulnerability is where strengths lie. Learn to practice self-reflection and mindfulness. Frontiers Media S.A. described mindfulness through self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence.
You still have that journal, right? Well, it’s all up to you now. I challenge you all to take a day to disconnect and reconnect. Dig deep within yourself to find that light that shines in you, revealing who you are. Hello Stranger…