I hope life is going well and your attitude is positive and upbeat. Are you looking forward to what's coming with enthusiasm and joy? Are you excited about possibilities? If you have areas of your life that are uncomfortable or where you feel stuck and unhappy with yourself, taking an honest look at those stuck places can be very helpful.
Today I want to focus on part 2 of the basics of a happy life: Awareness. According to Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher, "the unexamined life is not worth living". This is what awareness is all about - Self-Reflection. It takes a brave person to really look at her life and evaluate it for improvements.
When we are living our life every day and getting through the day the best we can, we often don't know where those areas are that are not functioning properly. We tend to avoid going into the pain.
*We talk around the situation, focusing on ideas or behaviors that are misleading, that misdirect us away from what the real issue is. This is known as a Red Herring, and we all have plenty of these. Trying to locate and eliminate these can be a difficult process by ourselves, because we are invested in maintaining the status quo.
*We project the cause for our situation onto other people or circumstances. This is the blame game. We say it really isn't our fault, we are not responsible for the way "it" is. The blame for how we got to this place is *my mother didn't love me*, or *my father left me (abandonment)*, or *I was raped or beaten or suffered other physical abuse*, or *my teachers were mean to me* or *I was bullied when I was in school*, or any number of other life experiences we may have had that had an impact on us.
*We distract ourselves from our feelings in any number of ways. One of the most powerful distractions in our lives today is the television. We invest our resources in bigger and more powerful pieces of equipment, and spend our leisure time in front of the big screen. We put televisions in every room of our house so we don't have to miss anything if we bathe or potty or cook. We also distract ourselves with behaviors such as smoking, overeating, chewing our nails, or any other myriad activities we can't do without. These behaviors and activities relieve our feelings of anxiety, insecurity and fear.
But are we stuck with these behaviors? So many of them are subconscious and we just do them.
For example, if you are a smoker or have ever smoked, you know how unconscious the habit can be if you allow it. A smoker just finds themselves reaching for a cigarette and smoking often without any awareness of what they are doing. An overeater finds the refrigerator calling at inappropriate times and they may find themselves standing there trying to find something to make them feel better.
Perhaps you play the blame game. You may find yourself talking again and again about a situation in your past that is responsible for so much of your problems today. It might go like this:
"When I was a kid, I'd try to talk to my mom about stuff but she was always so angry that I just learned to keep it to myself. That's why I don't like anger and get uncomfortable when people are angry or upset, even for good reasons. And I never share my deep inner thoughts. So I can't get close to people, even though I want to. I just can't trust them." (The Blame Game)
Or it might be this way:
"I know I should quit smoking and I'd like to, but whenever I try I just can't get past the first few days. It seems like all I can think about is smoking and everyone says I get real crabby. Besides, if I quit smoking, I'll just start eating a lot. I've seem my friends get real fat after quitting cigarettes." (Distraction and Avoidance)
Or you might hear:
"You know, I'd really like to have a wonderful relationship but I find that when I start getting close to someone, I feel like I'm being smothered. It's like they want to own me and want me to be a certain way, rather than leaving me the room to be myself." (The Red Herring)
In the example of the Red Herring, the issue of personal boundaries and being authentic is projected onto the other person, who can't win.
So how does one become aware of these kinds of internal activities? And how can we avoid these pitfalls to a successful life?
First, we become aware; we give ourselves the Gift of Personal Responsibility. When we are ready to be aware and take responsibility, we free ourselves to become truly who we are.
Second, when we are aware of our choices and we own those choices, we are in a position to change them. If we don't empower ourselves with self knowledge, we can't make the changes necessary to create the life we all want for ourselves.
Third, the more shackles of unconscious living we break free of, the more we come into our own power. The more powerful we are in ourselves, the less our need to control and manipulate others.
And finally, I want to add that when we take full responsibility for our lives in each moment of each day, we begin to live powerfully in the Present Moment, rather than the past or the future. And this is where we were meant to live, in this Powerful Now!
Blessings and Peace,
PS: Just a reminder… you can get a complimentary 20 minute consultation by emailing me at sharon @ChangeYourLifeNowCoaching.com. Just note that you are interested in the consultation and I'll get right back with you.
PPS: Feel free to continue this conversation. Email me your thoughts and experiences. I look forward to sharing with you personally.