How are you doing right now?
If you’re like me, probably busy...
Busy with your career, lending an ear to a friend, carpooling kids around town — sometimes we’re the last person in our lives to get our attention and care.
The problem is we can’t lead a happy, balanced, fulfilling life if we’re not self-aware, or if we’re not assessing our own strengths and weaknesses, drives and motivations, habits, and values. Simply stated, without reflection, we’re in the weeds and heading for burnout!
I’ve got you, though.
I’ve been a therapist for over 25 years, I'm a Board-Certified Psychoanalyst and Certified Chopra Ayurvedic Lifestyle Instructor. I wanted to help even more and share my knowledge and experiences.
So I launched Windows to Wisdom®. I wanted others to access the lessons from a psychoanalytic therapy process, because, for starters, it’s an effective and fascinating framework for understanding yourself and the world.
"Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is not about the tools but the process, not in the symptoms but in the meaning, not in the workbook but the working through." - Jamie Cromer Grue
But I also understand that you may not have the time nor the budget to do a full psychoanalytic training or your own psychoanalysis. So instead, or in the meantime, I am sharing psychoanalytic concepts and strategies to help lead you to deeper self-awareness, mind-body-spirit balance, and a purposeful action plan — even better, a plan that can be integrated into your already busy life. Gaining self-awareness through self-analysis is the focus of this post.
Self-awareness, as we know, has loads of benefits. Here are a few:
It empowers you to deliver therapeutic and useful interventions for yourself and others.
It makes you conscious, confident, and present.
It gives insight into your behavior, feelings, and experiences.
It is a gateway to the unconscious mind, which greatly influences actions, relationships, and sense of self.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” - C.G. Jung
So, are you ready to step right into self-awareness through self-analysis?
Let’s make the unconscious conscious, and strive to be more self-aware. I’ve got a few tools that I hope you’ll incorporate into your everyday!
5 Steps to Self-Awareness
Step to Awareness
Micromanaging, unreasonably critical of minor details
Frustration with things that can’t be controlled
Set clear and feasible expectations.
Believe and capitalize on your strengths while also recognizing your weaknesses.
No personal responsibility for your life’s outcomes
Stop making excuses for yourself.
Own up to your mistakes.
Think broadly rather than placing blame.
What can you do differently? What changes can you make? What blind spots are there?
Living in fear
A life of limited possibilities
Acknowledge the fear, discover its roots and be compassionate.
Explore: Are there themes to the fears? (Safety? Judgment? Shame?)
Assess how these fears have gotten in the way or helped.
Trouble understanding emotions
Disconnected from self
Recognize the impact of emotions on thoughts.
Practice mindful self-compassion.
Name feelings and share them with a therapist or trusted person.
Difficulty empathizing with others
Disconnected from others
Meditate and ground yourself when faced with tension. Breathe and shift to values of compassion, respect and a desire to connect.
Ask: How would you want to be treated?
Self-analysis uses the principles of psychoanalysis — as well as other methods of self-inquiry to uncover the themes and repetitive behavior in your life and how you relate to yourself and others.
As you embark on this journey, here are a few things to keep in mind. One, this is an adventure with detours and trials along the way. It won’t be a straight path; in actuality, no paths in life are straight. Getting lost is part of life, for it is only when we get lost will we be able to find ourselves again.
Appreciate this adventure, be purposeful, take it at your own pace, and for the love of ... stay balanced amid the chaos!
You are capable of reaching your destination. But without balance, we cannot practice and cultivate our self-awareness.
So, here’s how to start the adventure:
Learn to be curious without judgment
Ask yourself, “What are my deepest whys?” and “what else?”
Dig deeper for the next level of understanding
Ask questions to move forward. For example, What is the purpose of this? When did this first begin? What do I need?
Know your defenses
Ask how you protect yourself. These unconscious habits are born from past necessities and situations which may no longer serve you.
Remove obstacles that stand between you and living the life you want
Assess and acknowledge strengths and limitations, be familiar with your relationship patterns, and be consistent with your intentions and motivations.
“When you deeply know yourself, you can trust your inner compass and live a purposeful and meaningful life.” - Jamie Cromer Grue
Remember – On your journey towards self-awareness and purposeful living, you don’t have to walk the path alone.