Healing Through Self-Awareness
You are probably sitting in a chair as you read this. Do you notice the weight of your body as it presses into the chair? You do now that I mention it, right? But most of the time your brain just conveniently tunes out that sensory input.
The brain has the ability to filter out unnecessary information. And, to some degree, you are able to choose what you are aware of. You can choose to put your attention on the parts of your body that are touching the chair.
You can also choose to disconnect from your physical and emotional states. And that can be an important survival mechanism when experiencing trauma. But to maintain this disconnection over time will cost you.
We all experience traumas of varying degree in life. Often, we are unable to fully process those experiences at the time they occur.
I remember when my (then) one-year-old son had a febrile seizure. I needed to think and act quickly. I put all of my own panic and fear aside and dealt with the situation. When the paramedics were gone and my baby was doing fine again, I broke down and had a good cry, which is exactly what I needed to do! Those emotions needed to be expressed and allowed or they would have stayed in my body waiting to be processed.
At some point you need to reconnect with your internal self so that you can process your experiences. You can pretend that you are not affected by life’s traumas but your body/mind always remembers and holds onto feelings that have not been fully processed. As author Karol Truman says, “Feelings buried alive never die.”
Some feelings can be buried so deep that you have no conscious memory of them. But until you process them, they will stay within your body/mind, creating imbalance or dis-ease. And the first step toward processing or healing those feelings is to become aware of them.
Your body attempts to create awareness and get your attention through signals of pain, dis-ease, and discomfort. This is the body’s way of telling you that unresolved mental, emotional, or spiritual issues are being held in your body.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, honor your body for giving you that message. Pay attention to what area of your body is in pain and consider the role of that body part, what it does for you. Also, think about when that symptom first appeared. Were you going through a difficult time or experiencing life changes?
The most effective way to increase self-awareness is to quiet yourself and reflect on the meaning that you attach to your body’s messages. But it can be helpful to consult other sources to help spark your thinking and provide insight. Below is a list of books that I often use for reference:
You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay
Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, Karol Truman
Your Body Speaks Your Mind, Deb Shapiro
If you are suffering from constipation, for example, Deb Shapiro suggests that “Constipation is basically an inability or unconscious refusal to let go, ‘unconscious’ being the operative word here. … [it] represents a muscular holding indicative of a psychological holding.”
Then ask yourself, “Where am I holding on? Am I afraid of what may happen if I let go?”
These can be useful tools in understanding what your body is trying to tell you. I recommend, though, that you not rely completely on them. Sometimes you will find that they hit the nail right on the head. But sometimes it just doesn’t fit and then you need to do more internal detective work.
It is easy to be drawn into the trap of ignoring our internal environment when we are surrounded almost constantly by so much external “noise.” Your body/mind will tell you when you are out of balance if you will develop awareness and pay attention.
Once you are aware of what your body is telling you, you are ready to take action and make the necessary changes in your life that will support your healing and highest good.