Guess what – it’s possible that all that ‘work’ you’ve been doing on yourself for all these years, cultivating the silent observer in you, that inner-witness that you’ve trained to be super aware of all your moment to moment actions, strategies and dysfunctions – that raising of awareness might have been sending you backwards!
Unless that skillful noticing has been permanently coupled with your love and self-forgiveness, even affection for all your fallible, over-reactive, slightly mad behaviours, then there’s a good chance that each time you’ve noticed yourself being imperfect you’ve been using that raised awareness to judge yourself harshly and entrench yourself even deeper in self-loathing, self-disempowering habits.
That’s right – we could be going backwards here! Hold up a moment!
The key to useful self-awareness is LOVE. So now, every time I notice myself being an overreactive diva (for instance) – instead of kicking myself and saying ‘oh Jamie, such a brat, what’s the matter with you? when are you going to evolve?’ – instead of talking to myself in the familiar voice of the slave-driver or the self-hating judge, I bring in the LOVE, in my case, these days, in the form of an affectionate and undramatic, psychiatric nurse who lives within me.
When I’m melting down or making a big fuss about something, either out loud or to myself, my inner psychiatric nurse, in a sympathetic, soothing tone, affectionately says ‘awwww…do you need a little lie down? shall we put the kettle on?‘ a bit like an old auntie who’s seen worse in the war. For me it’s so much less violent to myself, instead of the old, frustrated ‘Oh Jamie ! when will you ever grow up….?’ voice – to place my palm affectionately on my chest and lighten up, and to be self-soothing.
Because self-awareness without love leads to self-harming.
Cultivating my inner psychiatric nurse has been great for this, because self-awareness without affection for myself soon becomes self-judgement, and self-loathing. How easy it is to descend into kicking myself with frustration when I witness myself failing again.
This is why foolishness and playfulness are central to my life, to diffuse any earnestness in me that thinks it has the right to judge and condemn.
Whatever your technique for staying self aware, please don’t forget to include an equal amount of self-forgiving LOVE, and even affection for your own unique fallibility. Without it we are just warring on ourselves, cultivating more seeds of violence, and regressing not progressing, in our Evolution.
All talks and workshops at www.jamiecatto.com