The transformation journey most often begins with the realization that you are involved in dysfunctional life patterns or relationships. You discover that the way you have been doing things just isn't working for you (at least not anymore). This discovery gives way to taking the first steps towards transformation....increasing awareness.
The journey truly begins by becoming more aware of who you are and how you respond to a variety of emotional triggers. Meaningful change is only possible by understanding how and why you respond as you do. Without self-awareness you are doomed to wander blindly through life, loving and hating, hurting and being hurt, and not realizing that your judgments are all projections of yourself.
Some people, commonly men in particular, have been conditioned to think that "feeling exposes weakness"; that expressing emotions of any kind indicates vulnerability. Therefore, they not only don't want others to truly see them, to truly know them, they don't know, or even want to know, themselves. This is a dangerous way to move through life because the feelings - that are present without their knowledge - always find a way to express themselves (in anger, bad relationships, or health issues, for example). These people are often triggered, and react, without having any idea as to why they are doing so.
We must learn to identify our emotions and interpret their meanings. Our emotions are vital, and accessible, and we can use them as aids to our judgment and memory. They speak to us through signals sent to our minds and bodies. We must learn to pay attention to them; identify and acknowledge them. Ignoring, masking or diluting our emotions leads to unhappy and unhealthy situations and relationships, leaving us uncertain as to why we are in certain predicaments, or what to do about them.
Self-awareness is key to the transformation journey. Without it, you will continue to wonder aimlessly through life, never knowing who you are and why you do what you do. All it takes to be self-aware, according to Hendrie Weisinger, "is some serious thoughtfulness and the courage to explore how you react to the people and events in your ... life."
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