Giving to yourself: Practising Introspection
The process of learning to give more to yourself is a difficult and rewarding experience. It is a journey filled with lessons that will continue to fill you up as long as you keep on practising them. The difficult parts about embarking on this journey are knowing how to start and what to do at different points on the way so I have put together helpful tips which will be released weekly to guide you along the way and provide you with the knowledge that you need to feed your self.
The first place to start is self-awareness through introspection. You cannot fix what you do not know and understand. While it may be the first step, it is a step you will repeat regularly because every day you will be presented with the opportunity to learn more about yourself.
Get a book or an online journal, create a quiet time where you can focus on yourself without distraction even if it is for thirty minutes each day and settle into that space. The purpose of writing is to help you keep track of your findings for future reflection and for honest self-expression.
Introspection starts with a good question. What do you want to know about yourself? What part of yourself do you want to explore? Your question could sound something like “Why do I get angry easily?” “Why can’t I make the right decision?” or “Why does this situation hurt me deeply?”
A good place to start looking for answers is to go to your childhood. Could it be that an experience you had shaped your beliefs about yourself, the world and what you deserve or maybe when you were a teenager, you struggled with connecting with your peers and that has made you a socially anxious adult?
It helps to ask close and trusted loved ones for their opinion on the question and to read about the subject of your question in articles and books. Reach out to old friends and acquaintances to help you remember parts of yourself you might have forgotten or not been conscious of.
Observe your behaviour in relation to the question you seek answers to and take note of your patterns. For example, if you want to know why you are so angry, ask yourself why you are angry the next time you are in a situation that triggers anger within you.
“Why am I angry right now?”
“What has this person said or done that is making me angry?”
“Is this the same reason or situation that triggers anger in me in other situations where I have been angry?”
It can be difficult to tell what the right answers are especially if you are fond of doubting yourself and it can take a while to learn to trust your own voice. To identify the right answer within me, I have learnt that honesty comes with a peaceful feeling deep inside that no outward experience can provide. When you are being honest with yourself whether it is a difficult truth to admit or an easy comment to share with others, you feel lighter and free. It is a gentle feeling of calm where your core does not feel conflicted with the thoughts in your mind or the words on your lips.
Find your feeling of truth through stillness and honest expression.
The right answer is the honest answer and the honest answer is the one that creates peace within you even if it is a bitter, painful or shameful to admit.
When you find your truths and write them down in your journal. We are complex beings so there will be many truths. Different factors come together to create whatever troubles us and whatever gives us joy so don’t be surprised when you find that many experiences created the mindset or habits that you exhibit today.
Do not run from yourself or block your thoughts with responses like “I don’t know” or “that’s just the way I am”. Do not invalidate your truth by saying to yourself that you should not feel a certain way or think that way. Do not condemn yourself or destructively criticise yourself. Do not judge yourself with the responses of others or blindly accept them without thinking about it.
Just see yourself to understand yourself.
It is saying to yourself:
“I react these ways to these situations because of these experiences or these beliefs that I have formed”
without the judgement of
“that makes me this type of person”