“Gloria don’t do it”
“You will give people the opportunity to run you down & you will lose yourself that’s if you’re like me”.
This was a reply to the message I had sent to the people who were pretty close to me at the time.
It was in 2017, I had read the purpose driven life by Rick Warren and one of the assignments was to ask people who were close to highlight our strengths and weaknesses.
I then sent messages to those in my circle & that I did with little critical thought until that particular reply which then started bugging me.
While I knew her message came from a good place, I didn’t stop to reason why she would feel that way for me.
I had started being self- aware earlier in the year and I didn’t think of myself to be so bad the way her message came across.
“Was I a bad person who would most likely receive bad reviews?”
“Maybe it was because of ……..” I started thinking about the times we had disagreements.
“Maybe you’re in a different reality, just wait till the responses come in” I concluded.
The responses came in with most of it just a confirmation of things I already knew and a few others which were quite new.
It’s been an amazing journey of self discovery I must say and here are ways I have been and still navigating through.
1)Mindfulness: By this, I learn to be present with my feelings and thoughts.
I pay attention to my emotions, why I feel the way I am feeling & what I am supposed to do with it.
I recognize when I cringe, I know it when I have goosebumps, I feel it when my heart is on a race.
I also pay attention to my thought processes & patterns and concurrently paying attention to that of people I share a space with at any given point in time. Their tones, facial expressions and gestures inclusive.
This has helped to be very intentional & sensitive .
2)Solitude(Introspection): This usually comes in for me mostly at the end of the day when I am about to sleep or at leisure.
I take stock of my recurring thought patterns and actions during the day to see what I should have done differently and how I can do them better. I see if my actions are in tandem and not in contrast with my values.
I take note of my strength and see how to reinforce to maximizing my potential while not failing to see how I can work through my weakness.
By this, I have come to know who I am without a secondary projection.
3)Communities: Asking people I share space & life with closely makes me see things I might be blind to.
“What do you think I should have done?”
“If you were the one, what would you have done?”
“Is it right?”
“Are you angry?”
Are some of the questions I ask.
They become my sense of reasoning often reminding me of who I am should I be in a place I am forgetting myself.
4)Journaling: This comes in handy in tracking all of the things earlier mentioned.
It eases me of having all of these conversations in my head and brings clarity as to where I am in the moment.
`You might want to see this JOURNALING: AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE.
5) The Scriptures & the Holy spirit: This has been the absolute standard in measuring if my emotions, thoughts or actions should be welcome.
Usually a tussle oftentimes as I would have been affirmed right by every other person except the Holy Spirit but the beautiful part is, I can recognize & in all sincerity appreciate the fine touch it brings.
James 1: 22-25 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
Here are some of the examples I thought to share with you.
CHOOSING A SPECIALTY
A) My internship had me actually questioning if I really wanted to practice medicine until my NYSC gave me a glimpse of the professional space I wanted.
Through self-awareness, I was able to feel that my soul detested routine that has no alternating course – monotony isn’t a thing for me
I also knew I liked to encourage, inspire, bear other people’s burdens & bring joy to the faces of others. I again didn’t want my hands on my pen alone but also on the scalpel but my internship (asides when I was in O &G) didn’t give me that wholesome space until my NYSC.
I liked how this minute I had a toddler running around the consulting room & the next moment a frail babushka(grandma) walks in with her unending complaints- variety is the spice of life.
I loved how the supervising consultant conducted his rounds. I liked the other history taking methods in that specialty.
My heart leaped- my soul just got a glimpse of what it wanted.
I was able to figure my specialty- Self awareness helped with choosing a specialty.
B)By self-awareness, I was able to figure out sewing wasn’t my thing after I had enrolled and started sewing classes in Ukraine. By listening to my emotions and what my heart leaped for, I saw creating & combining designs together with modelling was my forte as compared with sitting on a machine to bring the actual piece together.
I usually would be asked why my luggage was bigger than the average size everyone had whenever we travelled for summer camp.
Why was that?
I usually didn’t like and still don’t like how I feel whenever I bother others every now & then, so taking everything possible with me was the way to prevent that- Self-awareness helped with setting boundaries.
A BLESSING TO OTHERS
I remember how my platoon members kept referring other Corp-members to meet me for stationeries during registration because I had literarily everything. I went with my own stapler, the pins, marker and everything in between.
Growing in self-awareness has helped in other numerous ways which includes:
1)Personal development: My honest appraisal of myself brings to the fore the things I need to work on. This has me buying books in that sphere & gracefully being disciplined so I can become better.
2)Upholding emotional intelligence & fostering social skills : By self- awareness, I am able to understand my triggers and set boundaries which is properly communicated. If I have boundaries, others should have theirs too and should also be respected.
I ask questions to be sure how they want to be addressed?
I ask if it’s okay to share publicly with others if I consider a little private.
I don’t use curse words & now trying to choose my words carefully
I try to be punctual & apologize should I come later than I should etc.
This has improved my relationship with others
3)Improving my confidence & productivity at work: I put in the best I can when taking history, having a presentation or speaking engagement because I do not like to give below average. I make research about any assignment I am to undertake and also ask necessary questions.
4) Building right & sustainable friendships. Through self-awareness, I am able to profile those who resonate with my being thereby allowing them as friends.
There’s no subject of discussion that would hold without self-awareness as a recipe. From leadership to parenting to financial stability, self knowledge will always be an important foundational block.
You can actively start on the journey this year and more importantly is for you to gather the strength and to master the act of being gentle with your self while at it.
If you found this helpful, please be kind to share with others. Thank you.
Happy New Year.