Self-awareness is an important component of emotional intelligence. I’m not afraid to say with confidence that it is something I am very good at. Almost to a fault when it came to my relationship with my narc but we’ll get into that later.
It’s vitally important for us as individuals to be able to know what we are feeling at any given time and to be able to relate those emotions back to where they are coming from. I’m not perfect. There have been times that I have reacted emotionally without self-assessing until after I reacted in a way I should not have but I can tell you, it does not happen often with me. I come from a place of trauma and even though I have worked through it and I have moved on to a better place in my life, I still am very self-aware that situations and words and even just a bad day can bring up old trauma without me realizing what it is or where it is coming from. I gauge myself according to how emotional I feel at the time. If I am having a huge emotional response internally, I might look away from the person or say give me a minute to try to assess the feelings. After all, I do not want to respond to someone who is innocent as though they are guilty. Which means I do not want an innocent man paying for my ex-narcs actions and words. I know my triggers but sometimes one from a long time ago sneaks in that I had forgotten or put away and I need to be self-aware enough to step back before responding.
Making your way back from abuse is a forever commitment. The man in my life got really angry with me a few months ago. Until he responded in a way that made me realize my response was not the best, I had no idea that I had been triggered. Because he loves me and is committed to me and because I am as honest as I possibly can be all the time, we fixed it in a 20-minute talk over the phone both admitting some responsibility but honestly, I reacted in an emotional way that hurt him. Without meaning to, I questioned his integrity and when made to self-reflect and step back, there was a combination of things that happened before he and I texted that day. He texted something in a commanding tone (very short text, directive) which set me off because I was so controlled and my ex had just spewed off a number of emails trying to gain control over a situation with our son. The timing and combination of it all exploded before I had time to assess how I was feeling and I responded in a way that I can never take back. I saw a red flag in the “tone” of that text and I should have stepped back and waited to respond. There was no red flag. There was a busy, focused public servant asking something in a short, concise manner and me who was reeling from the ex-narc emails. So making your way back is a forever commitment to self-check and your partners forever commitment to let you slide those times you fail and need to figure it out yourself and apologize.
Self-awareness involves knowing your limitations. I can tell you all of my faults and I am honest about them! Before we were a couple I would say things like “my friend, you need to understand, I come in and drop my shoes in the house wherever I feel like it.” And then I would do something a few weeks later and maybe send a text: You know, I don’t feel like I have to do the dishes before I go to bed if I’m too tired. I will get up early in the morning before work and get them done but when I’m done, I’m done and will not push myself…… He never waivered so….here we are, almost a year later. I can also tell you all of my good qualities. It’s a balance.
I often preach that people need to take some time off to heal before moving forward. Part of that healing is becoming enlightened. You need to know what drives you. How to stop the inner voices that can sabotage your next relationship. You have to be able to draw on resources that will help you handle the everyday obstacles that get in your way. Ask anyone who knows me. 99.9 percent of the time when I am upset or faced with something I do not know how I will handle, I will give myself up to one day to cry, be anxiety-ridden whatever I need to do. Within, honestly, sometimes 1 hour up to 24 hours, I will know the path I am choosing, who I am calling to help and what my next step is. And here is the thing, you have to be prepared that another obstacle may be thrown in your way and you may not end the issue right then and there. I methodically set out how to tackle those obstacles and I know how to ask for help and guidance and how to proceed on my own.
Self-awareness is only a bad thing when the narc knows you self-reflect and uses it to his or her advantage to make you believe that you are the one that needs to do all the changing. Being self-aware also means as you mature into your enlightenment that you are able to know when you need to work on yourself and when that need is someone else’s want because of their need to control and change you as a means of deflecting any responsibility on their own behavior. I have always had good self-awareness. I have not always had the maturity to understand sometimes, I did not need to be the one to change.
Self-awareness is about paying attention. Being in-tune to yourself. It’s about the details you pick up from your perception of the world around you and how you process that. Thousands of tiny bits of information that come into your life every day. From the sound of a bee buzzing on a rose to how your lover feels when you hug him. I am acutely aware of his breathing, his heartbeat underneath my hand….everyone processes these everyday life events differently. Self-awareness is your ability to know your feelings, physical sensations, how you react, your behavior, your thoughts…. self-awareness encompasses everything about you and involves being honest with yourself. Once you can be honest about who you are, then you are free to love and be loved for who you are.
Self-awareness is about not being afraid to be you and being confident enough in your world that you can make changes in yourself if YOU see the need. I am constantly striving to be a better version of myself. I’m not seeking perfection. I am simply challenging myself to stay enlightened and in-tune.