Do you sometimes feel like you're dizzy from having been on the dating go-round too long? Like no matter how many people you meet, you never seem to meet the right one, or, you engage in relationships that start well but either don't go anywhere or go down the path to destruction? All too often we look outside of ourselves to find the happiness and the life we desire; we think a relationship or a person can be that "missing piece" which will make us feel whole. And even for those of us who may know on an intellectual level that we have to find happiness from within, actually doing it can seem like an impossible task. When we find ourselves engaging in relationship behaviors that don't bring us joy, and choosing people who aren't right for us and cause us stress, it is our subconscious alerting us that we're missing the picture and that we have lessons that are waiting to be learned, but are being ignored.
We can all save a lot of time, heartache, and stress by becoming self-aware. When we turn inwards and get to know ourselves by identifying our motivations and behaviors, we're not reaching blindly for anything we think might make us happy. When we understand what makes us happy, we can then more easily look for people and situations to support that inner peace and happiness.
Tips for becoming Self-Aware
1. Be gentle, but be honest. Becoming self-aware is not about being hard on yourself or blaming yourself for everything that's gone wrong. It's about creating change from within by being honest with yourself. If things in your dating life are not working, then clearly you're the one making choices that don't work for you. Congratulate yourself on wanting to make a change - it takes courage to embark on the road to self-awareness.
2. Ask yourself questions. Being self-aware is being able to look at yourself, as if from the outside in, and identify what makes you tick. Ask yourself about potential unhealthy relationship behaviors. Are you a people-pleaser? Do you let people walk all over you for fear they will leave? Do you try to control others for the same reason? Are you afraid of commitment? Are you able to give people space if they need it? Do you know how to communicate and listen to a partner in a healthy way? Do you let your temper get the best of you? Do you keep things inside and let them build into resentment?
3. Acknowledge your dysfunctional behavior. Your behavior does not determine what time of person you are, but it is what represents you to the outside world. Once you've asked yourself some tough questions and identified what areas you need to work on, you can then do so step by step. Like they always say, the first step is admitting you have a problem...
4. Go back in time. It can be extremely helpful to trace your issues back to the very beginning. Our childhood experiences and the things we learn and observe from our parents shape our belief systems. Are you holding onto childhood beliefs and fears that no longer serve you? Remember your parents did the best they could with what they had, but they may have taught you things that aren't true, or armed you with tools that simply don't work. These things can become deactivated once we're adults, as we're now in charge of our own lives, thoughts, and emotions. Make peace with your past by understanding why it happened and how it affected you, and make the conscious decision to parent yourself into the person you desire to be.
5. Read, talk, and experience. There are an unlimited amount of resources out there like books, seminars, DVDs, and websites to help you create successful change. The key is finding something that works for you. It may also help to talk to friends, or siblings, who had a similar upbringing to you, to help you get perspective. Short-term or long-term therapy is also extremely effective for many people in undoing unhealthy behaviors and beliefs.
6. Don't stop! Self-awareness is an ongoing process that will probably last your entire life. It's your responsibility to yourself and the people around you, to know who you are so that you can be the most productive and fulfilled person you can be.