self awareness, Thoughts On...

Thoughts On… A Week Of Self Awareness

Training in self awareness came at the perfect time because this week has been pretty hectic. Work has been busy. Like, out of control busy. Like, you know when you have a few really important things that you need to do immediately but you physically can’t because you’re too busy? You can see tables covered in dirty plates and a bar filled with dirty glasses but there’s also 3 people that need serving. And you’re on the bar alone. Yeah, my stress is probably pretty tangible. I also had an ignorant co-worker yell at me because I asked him to say please when he was bossing me about and another co-worker I felt the need to take distance from because I’d found myself on the receiving end of incessant ridicule. Thank goodness for the breath. If I hadn’t had the awareness to focus on that, everything would’ve consumed me. Many times, my heart – my whole body, even – filled up with emotion and although taking deep breaths didn’t erase it, it helped me through it.

Another time when focusing on the breath really helped me out was one day when my mood started dipping dramatically. I’d been hanging out with a friend and I was taking the bus home alone. I started feeling down and I found myself running through that same maze of conversations. Sometimes the brain masochistically seeks out emotional pain. Misery loves company and low mood loves negative thoughts. Why? Because it allows the sadness to grow. It’s like its own life form. I could have let it grow that day. I could have fed my sadness negative thoughts and sunk deeper into despair – but I caught myself. When I found myself obsessing over minor details, I suddenly remembered what I’d said about emotions in my last blog post. How they rise and fall like waves, ever changing. I realised I was in the grip of a wave of emotion and that it would pass. That thought was so freeing. I looked up towards the front of the bus, taking deep breaths, quieting my mind and rode it out. I’ve read before that it’s important to see that we are not our thoughts and emotions, that they are separate from us and while that always made sense; it took me having the realisation in the moment and putting that idea into practice before I truly understood.

Daily meditation and journalling were two of the intentions I set for last week. Although I have been meditating daily, I feel like I’ve been cheating because all the guided meditations I’ve done have been either for when you’re out and about walking or travelling and for when you’re going to sleep. I would have benefited even more if I’d done some more basic meditation. But I forgive myself for that. As I mentioned previously, last week was really hectic. Although, having said that, I’m reminded of a quote that goes:

“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” – old Zen saying

I like the sentiment behind that. In my opinion, it’s less about forgoing your responsibilities and more about erasing the feeling of being busy. With busyness comes mental chatter and with mental chatter comes non-mindful actions. I’ll definitely make more of an effort to do simplistic meditation this week. The extra time spent on meditation not only benefits us but it also benefits those around us.

I’ve been disciplined with my daily journalling and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s really helped me to make sense of my emotions and it brought up some issues I didn’t know I was having. It made me see how isolated I’ve actually been feeling at work and verbalised some of the worries I have about my accommodation situation for when I’m at college. A problem shared is a problem halved, even if we’re just sharing it with our journal. When we go a long time without writing, it starts again slowly, with pleasantries – like meeting an old friend. Then, once we’re fully reacquainted, the information comes pouring out; almost desperately. And we realise how much we needed it after all. That’s how writing was for me this week. It came in bits and then all at once.

I wrote out a weekly planner last week and I completed most of the items on it but I didn’t consult it very often. I didn’t take the time to cross the items off the list. It’s safe to say I think work took over my life a bit this week. And that’s something that can only be controlled to a certain degree. But now it’s a new week and while I’m on a split shift today and don’t have much time (I should really be sleeping right now), I’ll draft up a new planner tomorrow.

I limited my social media use pretty successfully. I kept to my rule of not using my phone until half an hour after I’d woken up (except for the day I was on a breakfast shift and needed something to give me the will to live) and putting it away half an hour before going to sleep. It’s a great way to be more present. It’s memorable, it’s doable and it makes a big difference. I also remembered to turn the WiFi off when I got to work to limit distractions and obsessive phone-checking behaviour. These are rules I’ll keep following because they make my life feel more balanced.

So how did these intentions affect my behaviour overall? Did I achieve the things I wanted to cultivate? The first thing I wanted to cultivate was a higher tolerance for and understanding of shifting emotions. I feel like I’ve definitely achieved that, mainly through journalling, the acknowledgement of the nature of emotions and mindful breathing. I’m proud of myself because I really put in the effort and I feel like I reaped rewards because of it. My emotions have troubled me a lot and have affected my relationships with others so I’m excited about this new level understanding and self-control I feel I have. Patience is something I feel I have also cultivated. Limiting social media use was the main thing that granted me more patience. Delaying gratification and allowing things to happen at their own pace are two of the cornerstones of patience – I feel more familiar with both now. My routine has improved slightly but I still feel I could improve it further by being more committed to meditation and more closely following my weekly planner.

Finally, interactions with others. I feel like they were okay. It’s hard to remember the nature of all the interactions I have because I work front of house – I interact with so many people. We had a group of, frankly, rude Norwegians in the hotel this past week and I definitely bit my tongue more than once or twice when I felt they were being disrespectful. I also decided to not rise to the bait when that co-worker yelled at me. I just looked at him – observed how insecure and out of control he was, said nothing – and carried on with my work. Part of me feels I should’ve confronted him. But, for what? My ego? My pride? I want to be above that – “the wise man says nothing”. While it’s important to stand up for yourself, I don’t think it’s helpful to sink to the same level as someone who has disrespected you. And with regards to the other co-worker who has, over the past few weeks, made me feel ridiculed and isolated; keeping a distance was the best thing I thought I could do. To be honest, I was worried that by admitting I felt I hurt I’d be giving her leverage to continue. So I just didn’t engage. I kept to myself. I have enough people in my life who truly love me, I don’t need any fake friends.

My next blog post will be a bonus post  – my first productivity and creativity update! This will be up on Thursday and will be in addition to my regular post on Monday.

Thanks so much for reading.

– SMUT. xxx ❤



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