by GG of Peace, Love, and Pretty Things
“Self-awareness is not what we think about ourselves. It is what we are aware of about ourselves.”
We like to cite our formal education, credentials and status because it makes us feel relevant and important. But a meaningful life can’t be captured on paper, right? It’s a very personal and intimate discovery of self that makes life truly fulfilling. This discovery isn’t taught in the classroom, and many of us don’t even realize that this is what life is really about. Eventually, we all encounter a moment where we have to face ourselves. In order to be fulfilled and connected to our purpose, we must come to understand our inner world as well as we understand the external world that we live in.
The following stages of self-discovery help us rediscover what is already real inside of us: unlimited self-confidence that is unaffected by people’s opinions and not driven by the need for approval. The experience of these stages is unique to every individual, but the purpose is to become aware of yourself, your journey, and your power.
Stage 1: Am I really a good person?
We all feel the desire to do good, and yet most of us have been taught that we are inherently bad. As a result, our lives are filled with inner and outer conflicts. We try to ignore our natural instincts in order to cater to others in accordance with the role that we are trying to play. This internal environment of self-denial creates resentment, anger, and guilt. We can become defensive, jealous and self-righteous when we are always trying to prove our goodness. At this stage, we are judgmental of others because we don’t know how to forgive ourselves.
Stage 2: The Pleasure and the Pain
We all reach a point where it becomes too painful to live without the freedom of true self-expression. We realize that our contributions to the world are empty when we are not contributing in kind to ourselves by honoring our truths. At this stage we still feel uncomfortable because we don’t want to exist outside of what’s considered acceptable by our peers, families, churches, etc. Whether we are practicing self-denial or self-expression, we have to deal with some level of discomfort.
Stage 3: Imperfect Perfection
This is a point where we start to become OK with our ambiguity, and we start to recognize this same balance of light and dark in all of humanity. It’s hard to let go of old habits and patterns, but this is the stage when you realize it’s necessary. Our point of reference goes from external to internal. It becomes OK to be wrong, to make mistakes, to be different because these nuances make us wise and beautiful in our own way. This is the “a-ha” moment!
Stage 4: Into the Light
At this stage, you are beginning to embrace the power of freewill. This power gives you the strength to stand up against your automatic, habitual responses and try new, daring things. As each experience comes your way, you will no longer react automatically according to your old ways. With your new awareness lighting the way, you will become more centered and driven by your own intentions instead of blindly succumbing to the will of others.
Stage 5: Inner Harmony
You begin to experience genuine compassion for others, not because you are supposed to, but because of the love you have discovered for yourself! You have reconnected with your inner light and you see that same light in others, even when they don’t perceive it for themselves. Your joy comes from within. You acknowledge that life is a journey and the quality of it is determined by your own perception.
Stage 6: Personal Freedom
No person, place or thing possesses you. You realize that everything but love is temporary. You no longer believe that your intrinsic value is lessoned by bad decisions and setbacks. You are free to live, grow, dream and create from your truest place. You recognize yourself as a small but integral part of the world, a world with all different ideas and ways of living; and you live your life with respect and acceptance for all walks of life.
It’s up to each of us to choose personal freedom, and it takes a daily commitment to work towards it. Blogging is one of the ways that I practice self-expression and personal freedom.