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IT'S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY: Self-Awareness and the Permission to be Human

IT'S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY: Self-Awareness and the Permission to be Human

By Andrea Seydel Author of Saving You Is Killing Me: Loving Someone with an Addiction

When you love someone with addiction, emotions can get the better of you. Frequently you are left feeling hurt, disappointed, angry and sad. But it is essential to know these emotions are fundamental and very human. When you gain self-awareness, you can recognize and manage your feelings and gain emotional intelligence to help you take back your power and better handle these elements of your lives. It is empowering to look at your own words and actions from a perspective outside of yourself to see yourself more clearly. In this sense, you can see self-awareness is a way of introspection that brings opportunities for honouring your thoughts, feelings and behaviour from a clear, compassionate perspective.

Self-awareness is about seeing yourself through the lens of objectivity, reflection, and introspection and looking at yourself from the inside out. In positive psychology, it is called meta-cognition, where you think about your thinking. In other words, self-awareness is about having a perception of your strengths and your weaknesses, your thoughts, your beliefs, and your emotions. As you develop more self-awareness, you can change your thoughts and even changing interpretations that you might have made in your mind. Sometimes your mind will go into autopilot, where it might run off worrying, ruminating, or even storytelling. The mind is incredible and is geared towards keeping you safe. It can even get hijacked into the stress response or a panic attack simply from our thinking and interpretations. Having this awareness and understanding of how our thoughts, perceptions, interpretations, and beliefs influence our emotions and then affect our actions becomes exceptionally empowering. Self-awareness involves monitoring your feelings, your thoughts, and your beliefs. It becomes a tool to help you reach higher levels of well-being and overall happiness. It can even bring a sense of calm in the chaos. When you create space between the stimulus (or what hooks you in), which is the stressor or circumstance, and your reaction to it, you generate room where you can look in between, and you can gain an empowering perspective. Self-awareness can be cultivated and practised. It’s like a muscle; the more you practice, the stronger you get. Each moment is an opportunity to be self-aware.

We commonly suppress, hide, or disregard our feelings. Sometimes we even suffer in silence. When you love someone with an addiction, there can be the energy of shame and embarrassment. All too often, we numb, hide and struggle on our own. Emotions need our attention. Self-awareness is the key to intentionally honour and successfully process our feelings that come up. It’s not about pretending those bad things don’t happen because Lord knows that you are presented with many struggles, heartaches, and challenges if you love someone with an addiction. It becomes essential to observe and honour your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

Simply put, self-awareness refers to an awareness of ourselves on many different levels: whether that be our emotions, our preferences, our intentions, our values, or our beliefs. Emotional intelligence is the ability to use, understand, and positively manage our own emotions to relieve stress and overcome challenges. When we are more self-aware, we gain intelligence over our feelings. We gain a perspective that feels better. We start to honour our truth and see things through a compassionate lens. With self-awareness, we can shift from a place of helplessness to responsibility.

Food for thought:

What circumstances have triggered emotions inside you? What emotions are you feeling right now? Where do you feel that in your body? What thought did you have that lead to those emotions? As these feelings come up, simply observe them for what they are. State the feeling you are feeling. Give yourself love around those feelings. It’s okay not to be okay. Negative emotions — like sadness, anger, loneliness, frustration, self-criticism, fear, or rejection — can be tricky, even painful at times. The concept of self-awareness is about knowing emotions are human, that you are human. It’s okay not to be okay. When we love someone with an addiction, it’s HARD. It’s SAD. It’s DEVASTATING watching someone you love destroy themselves. Your feelings are real and human. IT’S okay NOT TO BE okay: Self-awareness and the Permission to be Human.

For further support: Do not hesitate to listen to the SYKM podcast or purchase the book

You can also reach out to Andrea Seydel herself at

Here is the SYKM Podcast link:

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