Self-awareness is touted as a powerful form of healing, yet it often does nothing for us. Being aware that you have a problem doesn’t mean the problem is going to magically vanish, right?
Does this mean increased self-awareness is a waste of time? No.
It means that in order to heal yourself with greater self-awareness, you need to become aware of the right aspect of your problem. Which is the right aspect? That’s what this article is all about.
Your buttock hurts. This is your level of self-awareness. Will this level of self-awareness stop the pain? Not likely.
So, you try to expand your awareness to remove the pain in your buttock. You stand up and look at the seat of the chair to identify the problem. Nothing. Hmm…maybe there is just something about that chair…you move to another chair. Your buttock still hurts.
You trying just standing there. It still hurts.
You concentrate on the pain itself. It’s a stabbing pain. Sharp. It burns a little and throbs a bit. It’s right in the center of your left buttock. Lots of awareness going on. Does your buttock still hurt? Yes, it hurts like hell, even though you have expanded your awareness significantly.
Suddenly, you glance at your buttock in the mirror. Ouch! You have a thumbtack stuck in your buttock!
Your trail of awareness:
Your buttock hurts.
Your left buttock hurts.
You explored the chair.
You checked out another chair.
You became aware of the pain: Center of left buttock, stabbing, burning, throbbing.
You noticed there is a thumbtack stuck in your buttock.
Several kinds of awareness yielded no relief. One insight solved the whole problem. Awareness didn’t do anything to solve the problem until you became aware of the hidden cause of the problem. Then, you put yourself in a unique and obvious position to solve the problem completely, assuming you want to be out of pain.
The same principle applies to longstanding emotional pain. Emotional pain is a bit more challenging, however. The thumbtack can still be identified. It is just harder to locate because – believe it or not – you actively hide it from yourself even as you search for it. This is why your problems can be so frustrating and confusing to you, yet obvious to others, and vice versa.
The challenge with long-term emotional pain or self-sabotage is that part of you wants to hang on. When the pain is so familiar to you, it can be scary to let it go. Who would you be without this pain? This is called a psychological attachment. We become attached to emotional pain, deprivation, rejection, being controlled and other psychological states. If that was your childhood programming, then that’s what you’ve come to expect in life.
So, you hide the emotional thumbtack because you can’t imagine living in a world without it. Welcome to Earth. We get attached to pain around here. We really need to learn why and let it go.
Even so, when you identify your hidden emotional thumbtacks, you can remove them. In fact, they fall out all by themselves as you become more aware. This is when self-awareness heals.
For example, when you realize you have been depriving yourself of happiness because you believe it is morally wrong to be happy, this limiting belief begins to unravel because it seems so absurd to your adult mind. You may feel guilty when you are happy because you were forbidden to express your joy and enthusiasm as a child. As an adult, you continue to recycle the deprivation, yet hide this attachment from yourself, just like the thumbtack in your buttock.
Self-awareness heals! The challenge is identifying that thumbtack.