Self awareness

The older I become(!) the more I wonder if one of the main reasons we are so unhappy is because we don’t know ourselves very well. We don’t know what we should think most of the time, nor what we should do, nor what we should feel. Of course some people are happier than others; well balanced and measured but a lot of us find life a bit of a struggle. We like being told what to do ¬†and spend a lot of our life waiting for the next interesting event or person to come along and take us out of ourselves. Confidence is a capricious thing. One minute you can feel great; yes, I can do that, no messing about for me, but it only takes a sneer or a put down comment from someone and it throws us off kilter.

I spent a lot of my time, especially in my youth, trying to avoid my own company because thoughts would plague me: everyone else out there is having a much nicer time than you; you’re not cool enough and I would become sad and feel lonely. I got scared and anxious and flapped about trying to console myself by calling someone up and pretending to be cheerful. What a lot of time I wasted. I didn’t, at the time, know about self awareness. I probably would have sneered at it because that’s what you do when you’re scared or jealous or feel threatened by something you don’t understand.

It’s an important part of the process of coming to talk to someone, in my view, to learn to spend time getting to know the person you’re going to have a future with – yourself. Simply sit with yourself for 10 minutes a day. Notice how you feel; notice where you feel things; develop a nodding acquaintance with your fears, your triggers, your patterns of behaviour. Notice what upsets you, what makes you happy. If you can’t manage 10 minutes every day, try 5 minutes three times a week.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” (attributable to Plato) This phrase is often repeated by people like me but it makes it no less true. Let me know how you get on. I’d be genuinely interested.