A consequence of abuse is deeply painful reactions and emotions. Survivors of abuse will find it helpful to apply self-awareness to help them develop a healing sense of control.
Self-awareness can be described as our ability to observe ourselves and our own behavior. Most probably you have said one time or another, “I shouldn’t have done that.” This judging of our actual behavior against our unspoken standards can be a helpful step towards improvement.
As with all conscious thought exercises, self-awareness improves with practice.
In the beginning of acquiring self-awareness, you will be critical of behavior you have done. You will apply self-awareness after experiencing some sharp emotion or wild reaction. You will actually be saying “I shouldn’t have done that. I could have done better.” Embrace these as the first steps towards better self-control. You are becoming more self-aware than somebody who just feels intensely without thinking about it.
When we consider how we have behaved in the past, we are able to create a separation or a pause between our conscious thought and our feelings. This is very important growth!
Your feelings are not wrong; but consider how you express them, and what behaviors flow from your reactions. Are you behaving in a way you like? Would you prefer to express yourself differently?
Imagine the best outcome.
Like an artist shaping a bonsai tree, we have to have some goal in mind for our questioning of ourselves.
With practice, you can learn to apply self-awareness during your intense emotions and reactions. You will be able to choose your behavior and avoid conduct you have decided is not worth doing!
Sometimes I get very very sad. I have learned to question my intense sadness, is there really a cause to this sadness? Am I frustrated in some way or anxious about some outcome? What positive steps can I take to ease my frustration or anxiety? If there’s really nothing I can do, isn’t it time to employ a little patience, and wait for the outcome to resolve itself? And if I’m still too sad to feel able to do anything concrete to change my mood, then I give myself a pause to be sad.
I have learned to detach my conscious thinking from my intense emotions, and during the emotional turbulence, think about the causes of my emotion, and the way in which I express it to others. I don’t have wrong emotions; I have feelings that I want to control.
I have come to find this pause, this detachment, very helpful to me in dealing with my emotions. There are times, when using self-awareness and examination of my feelings, that I am able to ease myself out of an intense mood and focus my attention on some project or chore outside myself. There are many times, however, when I need to take time out to experience my feelings, and I still find taking a step back and thinking about my emotions and my reactions is somewhat comforting.
I’m able to consider my emotions as a temporary state among a greater continuum of existence. I feel, but I can orient my expression of my feelings along a pattern of personality. There is me, and I try to act a certain way and avoid some behaviors.
I hope my personal experience persuades you to practice critical thinking about how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. This thinking will help you choose to express your feelings in ways that you find nourishing and helpful.
You Are Beautiful
Remember that we at PLQ believe you are strong enough to grow beyond the abuse dealt to you. You are a person with unique perspectives and experiences, and you can develop yourself into the person you imagine you want to be!
Christopher A. Balsz