Have you ever been asked how you’re doing and had no idea how to respond? I have been in that place for months now. It goes a little something like this:
Friend: “Hey girl! How are you doing? How have you been? (Crickets…)
Me: “Oh, you know… good I guess? Actually, I don’t know to be honest. I think I’m good? Fine? Making it?”
Have you ever responded that way? It sure doesn’t feel good, and it’s generally followed by tears at the realization I have not assessed my own heart and mind in far too long.
Life is so busy, and I often feel like my life is in control of me, rather than me being in control of my life. Many things can get us to this place: lack of boundaries (not saying “no” when you probably should have), busy seasons outside of your control (birthdays, start of school, travel), times of suffering or transition -- you name it. We’re all susceptible to landing in this place of unknowing, and rarely is it intentional.
My interest is not in the circumstances that got us there (because they’re always different and oftentimes out of our control), but the daily rituals or lack thereof that cause us to return to this place of “self-unawareness” time and time again.
I think we can all agree it’s important to have self-awareness. It affects everything in our daily lives -- what we believe about ourselves, how we treat others, how we eat, how we spend our time, etc.
"ASSESSING HOW WE'RE DOING IS AN IMPORTANT ACT OF SELF-CARE THAT ALLOWS US TO CARE NOT ONLY FOR OURSELVES BUT FOR THOSE WE LOVE AS WELL."
There are many ways we can do this, and it’s important for each of us to find a way or ways that resonate with us and will be easy to apply. I’ve given this some thought and I want to share some practical ways of becoming more self-aware with you that I think are simple and a good place to start:
- Self-assessment when I first wake up in the morning: Many of us snooze, and a good time to start daily self-assessment is during those snoozing minutes. Before you jump out of bed, simply lie there and begin thinking actively about your emotions, what’s on your plate for the day, and gauge your desires for God, life and health.
*Quick tip: This might be easier if you turn on your side table light to help you wake up.
- During your morning routine: So maybe you can’t think about anything until you’re out of your comfy bed, I get that. How about during your morning routine, while you shower, do your hair, or put on make-up? Even your morning commute! Usually those are pretty mindless times for me where I allow my mind to drift and think about fears, relational conflict or simply nothing. Imagine if you could utilize that time intentionally toward self-assessment and awareness for your day?
- Bored moments throughout the day: In our world today, we hate being bored for one minute. Many of us (including myself) mindlessly whip out our phone the minute we’re bored! We have conditioned ourselves to never be bored, and because of that, we miss out on an intentional opportunity to look inward. This honestly happens to me a lot, and I’m trying to be more mindful in these times and NOT pull out my phone to mindlessly check email, scroll social media or text someone. It’s not been an easy habit to break, so I would encourage you to have grace for yourself and celebrate the times you succeed!
- Bed time: Craig has actually written on this subject a little in depth here. But I would just like to reiterate how helpful it can be to end our days well. This could look like using our bedtime routine to intentionally reflect on our day, our emotions, things that hurt us. Or it could be putting in headphones and listening to a worship song that brings us peace and allows us slow down and turn inward for a mindful moment.
Let’s be those that are self-aware for the sake of loving God well, loving ourselves well and loving others well. I am hopeful introducing one or more of these little habits into your day could make you more mindful and emotionally healthy. These practices have helped me to be more thoughtful, intentional and joyful in the midst of the mundane -- and hopefully have made me a little less moody too.
May we be friends, parents, spouses and children that respond to people in grace and walk in peace by being more aware of our own emotional state. Not only are the people in your life worth it, you are worth it too!