It was just a tad over five years ago now, my life was my life, and I thought nothing of how I interacted with people. I thought I knew me, but it was all very superficial. In reality, I couldn’t see far past my nose. In a way, I was a 34-year-old child that didn’t listen………..until one day I learned that awareness was the first step in self discovery and recovery.
Yes, one day. It always comes down to one day. I was on the way to the African Lion Safari with a person I quite liked. A friends with benefits type friend, except I wanted more. This person taught me so many things, and I respected them immensely, but at the same time, I never did quite listen to their caring critique of my awareness. At the three-quarters point of our drive, my friend told me that they had started dating someone……..and BOOM! My life changed forever.
My distraught was immediate, and I had to pull the car over to avoid an accident. I didn’t even flinch as the pain hit me fast and hard. It was a massive blow that we both didn’t expect. At first, I was concentrating on ‘why not choose me?’ ‘Who wouldn’t?’ ‘What’s wrong with me?’ And so on and so on. These thoughts rattled through my brain as we both did our best to enjoy the African Lion Safari, but I was just an open bloody heart lying on the floor, gasping for air. It didn’t stop at the lion safari either, as we ended up going to a restaurant for dinner to continue this conversation and there was a lot of public crying on both sides of our table. If there was a scene. I was it. A 34-year-old child, crying in a lobster restaurant……. Oh, the memories.
In the following days, I began to replay all the things this person tried to point out to me, things that I just shuffled under my rug. I never gave these things a second thought until that point. I was blindly fumbling through life. I delved deep into the internet to get a better understanding of what just happened, and that’s when the light finally clicked on in my head. Everything I was doing was a pattern. It dawned on me that I’ve been in this place before. Not once, not twice, not three times, but pretty much my whole life has been on repeat, and this person was even trying to show this to me, but I couldn’t see it until right there and then. Instead of just being ridiculously sad, I was also quite intrigued by this new archaeological find in myself, and this finally brought me to my awareness.
Within four weeks of my heart breaking, I signed up to something called the Hoffman Process. The only thing I knew about the program was that it was an 8-day workshop about pattern breaking and that I’d be sleeping there, with no cell phone use allowed. Eight days, 14 strangers, 3 instructors, and me. I won’t go into detail about the methods used in those 8 days, as it’s best not to know. However, the biggest lesson I learned was about awareness.
Awareness is the key to breaking habits or breaking patterns. So what is Awareness? To me, Awareness is the ability to look at yourself from an outside perspective, and take note of how you act, react and feel. For example, If someone called me ‘lazy’ for sleeping in, and I reacted by attacking them immediately, something is amiss. My awareness tells me that the words said to me hit a trigger from when I was younger, that still hurts. My reaction was an overreaction to the pain, especially because the person who said the word was joking and actually doesn’t think I’m ‘lazy.’ I may not have liked how I reacted, but after the fact, I can sit down and be aware of how I acted, so I can change it in the future. Being aware helps you track back to when your actions, reactions, and feelings were created. Once you understand how all these things were built, then you can actually work on them. If you’re not aware of how you are, then you cannot fix what’s broken, as you have no clue where to begin. Make sense?
When I left the Hoffman Process, I felt like I was a new person. I began to look at people in a completely different way. I was more empathetic towards others, and I was more empathetic with myself. I still have a ways to go, as it’s a constant learning process, this thing called life, but it was the perfect springboard for me to jump from.
Do I still make some of my old mistakes? Yes, of course, I do. However, since I have a better understanding of where everything comes from, it’s helped me become a better communicator, which has helped me fix mistakes faster and create closer relationships with people. Awareness enables you to become a better friend, a better family member, a better member of society, and most importantly, a better you. It’s step one, and all you have to do is take the leap of faith and learn.
If you or a loved one you know battles with any Mental Health Issues, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.