The oyster must become aware of the grain of sand before it can make a pearl.
I have quoted this once before, but I am thinking it bears repeating.
When we want to initiate any kind of change or growth, (or maybe even more relevant these days), try to handle turmoil around us with a bit more grace, the first step lies in awareness, self-awareness – it really is unavoidable.
A client of mine once told me that to him, awareness meant ‘taking note of something from all sides, looking at all aspects’. An interesting perspective. I challenged him to consider that view regarding his self-awareness. He rose to my challenge and shared an initial insight which I think applies to many; that too often we only see ourselves, and others, from just one perspective, with a view that is merely observing what appears to be on the surface.
Attempting to widen out perspective, (we can even aim for a 360 degree of self-awareness!) we can begin with a ‘conversation’ with the self about an aspect of our self we are not used to giving too much attention to or that we have neglected (for example, if we are ‘over-working’, our 'self-care' side may need some attention.)
You will find that by asking a gentle question to yourself now and then (‘how am I feeling?’ or ‘does that feel ok?’), slowly, just like with another person, the ‘object of your attention’, - that part of you that’s been neglected - will begin to open up to you to reveal it’s essence. From there you can begin to see that aspect of yourself for what it really is and develop a rapport with yourself that is necessary for any change to begin to take place.
Obviously, it isn’t very easy to change something if you don’t know what it is, so the time spent in ‘making friends’ with the little 'grains of sand' in your own inner life will be time well spent.
Alternatively, you can always test this idea with yourself. Ask yourself: How well do you know you? When was the last time you had a conversation with yourself that was just about you? Not about your job or your partner or what you think about X or what your feel about Y. Just a little chat inside about how and who you are. It may sound silly but most of us don’t seem to have the time for these little chats with ourselves, and the result can be that we go about our lives for years and years and everything seems okay when suddenly – Boom! One day we look around us and realise that we don’t have the slightest idea as to why we are doing what we’re doing. Our partners and family are strangers to us, we have nothing left to say to old friends and our work has become meaningless. Nothing has changed, really – we’ve just let ourselves lose touch with who we are. We’ve forgotten to check in with ourselves for so long, that one day, that other part of you stand up and says “Hey, this isn’t what I want!”
At this point we usually do one of two things; we either panic or we ignore the little voice and all our feelings. We pull ourselves together and go right on doing what we are used to and hope that the feelings will pass. But they don’t. We can make them go away for an hour or a day, but sooner or later they pop up again and will continue to do so untill we take the time to listen to what those feelings are telling us.
But with a little self-awareness - and being more tuned in to our body - we can learn to listen to what our internal voice is saying to us before we get to that place – hopefully avoiding such a 'boom!' experience altogether. This is the beginning of transformational change in our lives – when we can start to hear and interact with what we are saying to ourselves and learn to use these conversations to bring about other changes that will benefit not only you, but the little ‘you’ inside.
What are the grains of sand in your life?. ‘Listen’ to your emotions, listen to your body.