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Self-Awareness & Shoes

As a very good friend of mine is fond of saying, “Self-Awareness is a beautiful thing”. I’d like to think that I’m a fairly self-aware person myself, but it’s not exactly a destination that one just arrives at one day and there they are. As we continue to grow and experience new things, we must constantly re-evaluate ourselves and our perceptions to avoid operating from an outdated set of beliefs.

As Heraclitus postulated, change is the only real constant in life, and this holds true for us as well. We’re all constantly changing and evolving on a daily basis and if we aren’t practicing the art of self-evaluation, we can find we become stagnant and feel out of sync with our own lives. This is because we are operating from a belief system that no longer suits us. It can hold us back and frustrate us, preventing us from expanding to our full potential.

Think of it like wearing a pair of old shoes that you outgrew years ago. Yes, you can continue to wear them, and it certainly won’t prevent you from walking, at least not until the blisters get too bad and you have to take a break for a bit. But just think of how much more comfortable you’d feel if you stopped for a moment to trade them in for a new pair that fits. Think about how much further you could go and how much faster you could run.

It may sound like a bit of a far-fetched analogy but let me continue it just a bit farther and maybe some of my reasoning will become a bit clearer. Like shoes are what we stand upon, our foundation so to speak, so too are our beliefs about ourselves. You wouldn’t want to buy a house without having the foundation examined, so why would you want to live your life without evaluating your own foundation?

Some people refuse to do this simply out of fear of change, which seems to be a fairly common sentiment when it comes to the topic. To a degree, the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it” has its valid points, but where would we be if everyone subscribed to that theory? I will admit that there are certainly times when things staying the same is, in fact, a good thing so long as they haven’t become stagnant and are still working for you better than any other available option. The keyword in that last sentence, for the purposes of this discussion, is ‘option’.

To be able to determine whether or not something is the most beneficial selection or suits you the best, you must be aware of all the options available to you. The wonderful thing when it comes to beliefs is that the options are only as limited as your imagination. With all of your options on the table, the next hurdle can be that previously mentioned fear of change.

This is one that I find simultaneously understandable and completely baffling. Yes, I suppose in a lot of respects, it can seem easier to just keep doing what you’ve been doing. But with a little bit of effort to make the change happen, you might just find that life is not only more enjoyable, but ultimately easier than before.

I know several people that are in relationships they simply aren’t happy with for all sorts of reasons. They are aware of how miserable their relationship is making them and what problems it has, but they’re afraid of the discomfort and pain that will arise from leaving it, for themselves and their partner. They know in their minds that staying dooms them to continue to experience the things that aren’t satisfying their needs, but getting their heart on board is often a different story.

To these people, when asked for my advice, I often find myself at a loss for what to say and feel like all I can do is listen to them and let them come to the conclusion on their own. I’ve tried saying all manner of encouraging things but ultimately, one just needs to find the courage to be honest with themselves and make the change.

As far as my own sense of self-awareness goes, this last problem is not one that I have to deal with fortunately. My own questions for myself revolve more around what I want to experience in life and who I might want to share it with. Which, I suppose isn’t all that different from the questions those people I previously mentioned are asking themselves, it’s just the circumstances that differ.

Regardless of the circumstances though, it’s the act of asking oneself those questions that’s truly vital. Asking them, and continuing to ask them of yourself, and being honest with yourself about the answers. This is pretty much the overall aim of this blog for me, to ask questions of myself and create a space to answer those questions.

Occasionally I get really helpful feedback that inspires me to consider aspects of an issue that I hadn’t even thought of. Other times I get feedback saying that my own internal examinations have inspired others to do the same or that they’ve been touched by the things I chose to share. And then there are times when I get almost no feedback at all and I’m just fine with all of those. As I said, the asking itself is what really matters the most and is why I keep writing. Thank you for sharing in my own internal investigations and thank you to all that have offered feedback, words of encouragement, or just silently read along. I appreciate all of you!