*Patreon members: You can get your bonus 10 tips for improving your self awareness HERE!
I think we all have one thing in common, and that thing is the desire to feel FREE.
Whether it's to break free from unhealthy habits, to be free from self-limiting beliefs and emotions, or to find freedom within our bodies, I believe we all long for liberation from the things that have been holding us back from attaining a life that feels healthy, grounded and fulfilling.
And if I've learned anything in my own process of creating personal power, it's that the truth will set you free.
So, in today's post, we're going to kick off a month long exploration of self awareness, so you can explore your reality and find your freedom.
Welcome to the blog & podcast, Unlocking Wellness! I’m Crystal McLain, curator of Crystal McLain Creative, an online resource that supports folks who are ready to get creative with the care of their mind, body, and mother-lovin’ soul.
If you enjoy this content, would like to support my work, AND score some sweet self care goodies, consider a Patreon Membership for as little as $3 a month! Yup, three bucks…it’s like buying me a cup of coffee.To learn more about memberships and how funds can directly impact the wellbeing of yourself, as well as others, you can visit: crystalmclaincreative.com.
And, if you like to read along WHILE you listen, or enjoy graphics and videos, you can access all of these features through the blog version of this podcast (yes, even the audio as well). I’ll leave a direct link to this episode in the show notes below.
Alright. Let's get to it.
So, all of last month (being January of 2023) over on my social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and now, with more regularity, TikTok) I dished out some tasty morsels all about understanding and developing a creative mindset. And this month (being February, of course) I'm spreading the word about self awareness. And if you're new here, I should also let you know that the Dream Team and I at Patreon are diving even deeper into these topics. So, if you want something a little extra while you're on your self care journey, totally check out the membership thing.
ANYWAY, I decided to start the year with mindset and self awareness stuff because they are two of the three foundations for creative self care. The third being body consciousness, but we'll get into that next month.
Like I said, this month is about self awareness. So let's move along...
So, the mindset is more about the filter you're using to perceive yourself and the world around you, and self awareness hones in on how your mindset is affecting your thoughts, feelings, body, choices, and circumstances (as well as connecting the dots between these things).
- Today we're going to start by talking about what self awareness actually is.
- Then, we'll go over a few rules for practicing self awareness.
- And, finally, we'll explore a few questions for you to ponder, so you can practice strengthening your self awareness, and learn a little more about yourself and your overall self care game.
But, what is self awareness?
Alright, so, self-awareness is when you use the power of your conscious, curious, problem-solving brain to look at yourself and your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, values, personality, and choices critically. Critical thinking, by the way, is when you analyze the facts, evidence, and observations to form a judgment...but, like, not in a mean-girl sort of way.
And the reason we do this is, a lot of us are running around all willy-nilly, operating on autopilot, and allowing our subconscious brain to run the show.
We're making reactionary decisions based on outdated mindsets and triggered emotions, instead of tuning in to what's really going on and making deliberate choices that have a higher purpose.
When we avoid looking at what's really going on, we end up living a life that's unaligned to our needs, values, or desires. And that, my friend, is an equation for a bad time. I personally believe that's why so many of us are living with anxiety...but I'm not a therapist or sociologist, so what do I know?
What I do know is, self awareness gives us the tools to monitor our emotions and our reactions to those emotions. We discover our strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivators and other personality traits that form our reality.
And when you have this information, that means you're better equipped to manage your life. It's totally like having a super power.
Now, you're probably going to hear me say this a lot, but the more you understand something, the better able you are of taking care of it. And the relationship between understanding yourself and your level of wellness are no exception.
Rules for practicing self awareness.
1. Leave your ego at the door.
We all do (or have done) things that we're not necessarily in love with. Doing dumb shit is a part of being human. So when you're digging around in your self awareness excavation, be kind. Be real. Call yourself out on your bullshit. But don't be a douche bag about it. You deserve compassion.
And if you do find yourself being a jerk to yourself, refer back to last month's post about mindset, and change the narrative.
Which leads me to the second rule...
2. Know the purpose of your practice.
The reason to practice self awareness is NOT to figure out what's wrong with you, and confirm your life's failures. It's so you can recognize the driving forces in your life, and understand a little more about why you do the things you do (and how those things are affecting your life). And so, in doing this, you'll be able to navigate around the obstacles that are getting in the way of your wellbeing. You'll be able to make more effective choices, gain a sense of self control, and influence your future.
3. Embrace the fact that you'll never be fully self aware.
If you follow along here at CMC, another thing you're going to hear me say with regularity is, our mind, body, circumstances and world are ALWAYS changing. That quite literally means that WE are always changing. And it is impossible to be aware of all the things, all the time. You'll go absolutely mad if you try. Trust me, I know from experience.
The goal is NOT to become an all-knowing navel-gazer who's unfazed by life and moves through their timeline seamlessly. For starters, that's fucking boring and has zero substance to it. Secondly, like I just said, it's impossible. So, forget about it.
Practicing self awareness, is more like taking the time to investigate what's going on with your car when the "check engine" light turns on. Otherwise, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride...
Alright. So those are the rules. Now let's get to work...
Self awareness in action.
In order to increase your self awareness, you've gotta start asking yourself a bunch of questions (which is why it's important to have a creative mindset.). It's also handy to have a grasp on how the brain and body work, and figure out what your core values are, and how you identify as an emotional/problem solving/social creature. And don't worry, we'll get into all of those things as the year rolls on (in fact, you may want to sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss out).
Anyway, asking yourself questions is really the key to becoming more self aware.
And since we're all about getting creative with our self care here at CMC, I feel like the first question we should ask ourselves is...
What does self care mean to you?
- What are your thoughts (or your mindset) about self care?
- What IS self care?
- Is self care static or fluid?
- What's its function or purpose?
- Who deserves it?
- When should you practice it?
- What activities merit the title as self care?
- Why is self care important?
I've asked these questions to a LOT of folks (including myself), and I'm always amazed at how restrictive or limited the answers can be. And when that's the case, I like to challenge these responses so we're prompted to dive deeper, and really think about how we came to these conclusions.
- Do these thoughts reflect your true beliefs or values?
- Where did you first learn these ideas?
- How do these thought patterns support your wellbeing?
- How do they restrict you?
- What would happen if you challenged these "norms"?
Now, it's VERY enticing to either get super defensive, or come up with a flowery response, or mimic trending ideals, or to say what we think we should say, instead of actually expressing our truth.
So, give yourself some time to really chew on these questions. Grab a notebook, and just start writing. Kick them around in your head while you're commuting to work, taking a shower, or waiting for your dog to poop.
Developing your self awareness is worth the effort, because it will give you insight to your truth, and that is what will set you free.
If you want to become more self aware regarding your self care, self worth, and personal power you can follow along on my social media platforms, or dive even deeper with The Dream Team and me at Patreon.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
Thank you so much for being here.
I'll see you soon!