Healing Appetizers: Self-Acceptance, Self-Awareness, Self-Forgiveness
In modern society, we have so many different paths to healing. We can find psychological support through traditional and non-traditional therapies. We can explore mindfulness during spiritual retreats. And we can learn how to boost our confidence during self-improvement seminars. Not to mention, there are numerous other healing modalities and alternative medicines.
But despite all the ways that we can repair ourselves, the world still seems full of conflicts, difficulties, and challenges. An estimated 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression. 792 million people around the globe live with at least one mental health disorder. And millions of people are at risk because of health complications like heart disease, infections, and various cancers.
At a time when so many of us need healing, and we have so many avenues to achieve it, why can’t we get better?
By and large, it’s because many of today’s modern healing practices ignore a foundational part of the journey – self-awareness.
Rather than help you connect with and understand the Self, these therapies, retreats, seminars, and products assume that you aren’t good enough. They suggest you’re sick or unhappy because you aren’t working hard enough to achieve your goals. These healing paths are promoted to us as ways to fix ourselves, because we’re broken. They treat us like objects instead of people, and reason that our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies can be repaired like parts.
With these options, you approach healing from a place of inadequacy and depletion. You never stop thinking that you can improve, and you travel down an endless rabbit hole, in which there’s always a magic new solution that can help you reach your full potential. Quite simply, this isn’t the proper way to heal. The process should never begin with who you haven’t been – it should be wholly focused on who you are right now.
Every authentic healing journey starts with self-awareness. This might sound simple enough, but who is the Self and how do you know which Self is the true you?
No two people will travel the same path to finding the Self, but there are some common questions, steps, and strategies that you can use to unlock your self-awareness.
Journaling and mirroring: You may think of mirroring as the act of mimicking another person’s behavior, which can help you connect with that individual’s emotions and needs. But in this instance, mirroring is all about you. It’s seeing and recognizing all the different parts of you, inside and out, and then capturing those observations in a journal. Journaling is an incredibly beneficial activity because it forces you to slow down all the thoughts speeding through your mind. It helps you quiet harmful or overly analytical mind chatter. It gives you tools – words, sentences, and paragraphs – to express yourself, practice self-honesty, and explore your deepest feelings. What are you holding back? What are you afraid of? What’s your darkest secret? What feeling is present in your eyes? Journaling, combined with mirroring, gives you a place to write it all down without criticizing or analyzing yourself, and also without beautifying the truth or pretending it’s something other than what it is.
Identify your dependence: To find the Self is to find independence, and you can’t be free if you depend on any person, item, or substance for stability. Be it emotional, mental, physical, or financial dependence, you must understand how you’re bound to others and why. Then, think about what it will take to step out on your own.
Assess your values: To improve your self-awareness, you should think about what’s most important to you. What excites you and warms your heart? What makes you cringe? What inspires your passion or your ire? The answers to these questions can help you paint a clearer picture of who you are.
Be honest about your goals: So much of our lives is about what we can provide for others, but this is an opportunity to be open about what you want. Don’t list out achievements that you think would impress your friends, family, or followers. What do you want? Maybe it’s as simple as happiness or stress reduction? Maybe it’s overcoming deep personal trauma or conquering addiction? Maybe it’s facing your biggest fears? You can’t create a roadmap to healing if you don’t know where you want to go.
And these are just a few ways that you can start to change your self-awareness. What’s most important is that you do this critical work first before paying for the productivity hack or investing in the plant-based treatment. The answers are within – start with yourself, get to know who you are, and get clear on what healing means for you. Once you build this foundation, you’ll have no problem making progress and you’ll realize that you’ve always been enough.
In the second post of this series, I’ll dive deeper into all that healing entails. Stay tuned.