There was a time when I was steering blind hoping for bigger and better things in life. I didn’t exactly know what bigger and better meant, but I just felt it was something we should all be chasing. I didn’t want to stop by and figure out. I used to think that would stop my momentum and so it wasn’t something I thought I could afford.
It didn’t turn out so well.
I was heavily in debt and lost meaningful connections that meant the world to me.
Acceptance was hard but it was a skill I needed to learn.
After much time spent on soul searching, trying to make sense of my apparent failure, and trying to figure a way forward, I got introduced to the concept of mindfulness. In the course of learning to meditate, I came to a profound understanding- that I’m not my thoughts, that there is a space between stimulus and response and if given proper attention, one can stretch that space. That space, I later learnt, was key in helping me become calmer. From an anxious and angry person to someone who by no means is perfect but a lot more better at managing his temperament, mindfulness helped me learn the art of acceptance.
Previously, I used to think that acceptance was for the weak. In hindsight, I realized I was looking at it all wrong. Events are just events. We need to accept them for what they are. Choosing a response is what we can have influence and control over. Acceptance is the first step to choosing a deliberate response.
I’ve become a reflective person because of my difficult life experiences. I understand the value of self-awareness and that is why I talk so passionately about it. But it doesn’t mean knowing everything about oneself. That wouldn’t be possible since we are evolving everyday because of our experiences. I feel that self-awareness is more to do with the process than the answers. It is not about drawing conclusions for the sake of it, but rather about making the effort to get involved in the process of trying to understand oneself. It means turning inward and asking what we can learn about ourselves rather than merely reacting without thinking.
Making the deliberate effort to reflect on own’s life is the first step to becoming self-aware. But with most things in life, that too soon turns into auto-pilot. The key, is to not just reflect, but to reflect on one’s reflection process- to see if it in fact is adding value and not becoming another thing on our ever so growing to-do list.