Man’s main task is to give birth to himself- Erich Fromm
Imagine a situation where you are in control of your own life. You make your life choices, some good, some bad, and yet you are accountable and responsible for the choices that you make. Imagine having to make your decisions independently without being influenced by those around you. Imagine what peace would come from living life on your terms.
Imagine living a life so free from judgment, that you make your choices without fear. Imagine being so true to yourself. This is what self-awareness does to you. The moment you become absolutely self-aware, you live a life that is so fulfilling, and in a way, you are so happy in your own space that you are hardly bothered by what surrounds you.
According to Fritz Perts, we need to adopt beliefs that best inspire and develop our authentic self. We must define our rules, determine our own opinions, interests, and desires. Authenticity happens when you are your true self, without external influences. It means that you have such genuine thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you are who you are without feeling the pressure to conform to norms or to be like someone else to be accepted.
By increasing our self-awareness, accountability, self-reliance, and insight, we build our own world, our own truth and transform our lives. First, we learn that we are the captain of our ships and our lives depend solely on us. As a result, we become accountable and responsible for the decisions we make. We hardly ever blame other people for what has happened to our lives, but we accept that whatever happens, and it is within our control, we can take charge and determine the direction it takes.
We also learn self-reliance. We learn that we only have ourselves to determine the direction our lives take and therefore we are in charge of our own destiny. Self-reliance means that you do not put your life in the hands of someone else, but your own. This reduces dependency and gives more freedom to your life.
“Truth can be tolerated if only you discover it yourself. –Fritz Perts
The thing about self-awareness is that it makes you come into honest terms about you, the inner you and therefore you accept who you really are. Imagine a situation where you know yourself so much, and have accepted all things about you, the good and the not so good, such that no one can tell you something that will put you down. You develop such a true and authentic image about yourself such that you become almost immune to negativity, negative influence, and even irrational thoughts.
Without the development of an authentic self, it’s not possible to develop an authentic relationship with another. The moment you become authentic with yourself, you will also become authentic with others. You will develop such good relationships with people because you will always present your genuine self to them.
People who love you will do so for who you really are, not the façade you have created and therefore, you develop deeper relationships, whether it is friendship or romantic relationships. Have you seen people who adjust how they behave when they are in different environments?
With you, they have this persona and with a group of friends they have a different one? Maybe when you ask them they say ‘I don’t know why I was acting that way’ such people lack authenticity because they don’t come from a point of understanding of their inner self.
If we hold onto our own ideas of how things should be rather than accepting how they really are, we arise conflict in ourselves in the form of defensiveness- Carl Rogers.
One way that we fail at authenticity is failing to see situations for what they really are. We romance the ideal rather than the reality. I am sure you have seen this especially in relationships whereby a person falls in love with another for what they could be rather than for who they really are. One reason many people fall into depression is that they have an idea of how things should be and they cling onto it so much that they feel to see reality.
A depressed person is likely to make statements such as, ‘I was supposed to have made it as an artist by now.’ Or even worse, they live the life as if they have made it in the field they wanted to make it in and in reality, they have not succeeded yet. This kind of thinking is what Carl Rogers refers to when he says about holding onto our own ideas that we fail to face reality.
This is how we develop defense mechanisms. In my self-awareness course, I have discussed defense mechanisms in detail. Defenses are as a result of applying strategies to avoid facing unpleasant circumstances. We develop defense mechanisms when we don’t want to face situations as they really are.
One of the commonest defense mechanism is denial. A lot of us live in denial. Whether it is relationships, careers, businesses, personal lives, when we have not achieved the situation we would like to be in, we dive into denial and stay there. This is why you see so many people in bad relationships but they are in denial that it is bad and therefore they don’t make the effort to leave. Penetrating through our denials is how we learn to be authentic and face situations as they really are and therefore live a full life.
Once we escape from the rut of preconceptions of the mind, we can allow ourselves to soar- Carl Rogers
When we free ourselves from all those chains we have set up in our minds, only then can we live a full life. You see, self-awareness involves opening ourselves up. It means that we address our strengths, weaknesses, fears, past events that have built us and those that have damaged us and learning to get past this. This openness is not for the faint-hearted. To become self-aware, you must be ready to open up, not to others but to yourself. You must open your mind to possibilities and different ideas from your own.
In order to have a healthy concept of yourself, consider opening up more to possibilities rather than having a fixed identity or thoughts of how things should be.
Go and live a full life!!