How to become self-aware. It’s not about finding yourself.

by | Sep 22, 2020

Who am I? The question is as old as life itself. And coming up with satisfactory answers can be an ongoing struggle. How ’bout we turn to our guest poster, Claire, for some meaningful insight?

It was at this time that I realised that I never had to find myself. I was always here. I was just changing, growing and learning.

She sent me an introductory email not too long ago. And before you know it we were chatting about guest posting.

Now, if you’ve hung around Chipur for any length of time, you know I rarely accept guest posts. But Claire’s approach, background, and message felt right, so I was happy to welcome her work.

Speaking of her background…

Claire has suffered from anxiety and depression for most of her life. She also deals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fortunately, she’s at a stage in her life where things are finally feeling good.

Claire has always been driven to help people. She loves to put a smile on others’ faces and know that with some deed – small or large – she’s helped make someone’s life a little bit better.

Claire at one time blogged from the UK at Miss Serenity, where her aim was to grow a community of like-minded people who can feel like they have a safe space to be themselves – and not be told to “pull themselves together” or be judged for how they feel.

So let’s get after it. The floor’s yours, Claire…

Claire’s personal intro

When I was first told that I had anxiety and depression, it made a lot of sense to me. It explained so many of the things I had going on, from IBS to constant worrying, to catastrophising and everything else besides. But it left me feeling like I didn’t really know who I was anymore.

I felt lost. I needed to learn how to become self-aware.

Being diagnosed with a mental illness makes you question everything. What does this mean about what you’ve believed about yourself for years up until now? Who are you? Where do you go from here?

What does it mean to find yourself?

how to find yourself

“Guess I don’t really have to ‘find myself,’ after all.”

For me, it was trying to figure out who I was before I knew I had anxiety – the carefree girl from “way back when” who was the life and soul of the party, was always surrounded by people and didn’t worry about EVERYTHING.

I tried to go back, to start dressing how I used to dress, (even if it was dated now!) get my hair cut the way I used to, wear the old makeup. It didn’t help, it felt like I was trying to be someone else.

So then I tried to re-invent myself, maybe I was hiding under someone new. I tried different clothing styles, listened to music I had never heard before, wore my hair longer, tried different makeup.

I still didn’t feel like “me.” So I stumbled through life, in a cycle of ups and downs, not sure where I was headed or what I was supposed to do in life.

I tried out different business ideas, maybe I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur that changes the world!!!

My “aha” moment

Fast forward many years to 2020, and like everyone else in the world, I’m in lockdown because of COVID-19. Time for some reflection!

I found myself alone a lot, while my husband was still working; thinking a lot about an old friend, who I no longer have contact with. I realised that she would no longer recognise me. Not because I look any different, but because I am a different person.

Through my journey with anxiety, depression and IBS, I have changed. My values are different. But they are my values and no one else’s. I became vegan, found a style that worked for me, and have grown in confidence about what I believe.

The person I used to be was quick to change to suit the people around her, to be liked. I felt like a hypocrite when it came to my love of animals – eating meat and dairy. I was in a relationship with someone who emotionally abused me.

It was at this time that I realised that I never had to find myself. I was always here. I was just changing, growing and learning.

You don’t need to find yourself

This is why I believe that so many people struggle with trying to find themselves. Becoming self-aware is not about “finding yourself,” it’s about understanding that everything changes. Friendships come and go, styles change, jobs evolve, and we are no different. We adapt to our situations, and we learn as we grow.

So as soon as you reach that point, where you think you have “found yourself,” something may change, and you will feel lost again; as you adapt to your new situation.

How to become self-aware

The most beneficial thing I have found is how to become self-aware of who I am NOW.  What do I believe in right now? Am I living a life that aligns with my current values?

When we do this, it makes us feel more in sync with ourselves; and as we learn new things, we can adjust our self-awareness too. We just need to make sure we are living in line with our values.

So take the time to think about what you believe in. Write down your values. Does your life reflect those beliefs? If not, make changes and see how you feel. Whenever you feel like you’re falling out of sync, revisit those values, are they still the same?

Adapt to your new beliefs as you grow and learn, and you will feel more balanced.

Thank you, Claire

Nothing I could I possibly add, except to say, “Thank you, Claire.”

Hey, plenty more where this baby came from. Be sure to peruse those Chipur titles.

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