Are you self-aware? After you’ve been through narcissistic abuse, you might not be as self-aware as you think.
The definition of self-awareness is having a high degree of knowledge about yourself. It’s awareness of your habits, emotional tendencies, needs, desires, strengths, and weaknesses.
Having a high level of self-awareness is a powerful tool. It allows you to change your life more effectively, since you know how you tick.
People who lack self-awareness find life to be frustrating, quite often – so right now, that might include you – and it most definitely includes a lot of narcissists, believe it or not. I know that sounds confusing, but stick with me.
1. Notice your thoughts. Unless you’ve been meditating for years, your mind is constantly churning through ideas and endlessly providing commentary. You can’t just look at a tree and admire it, your mind has to comment, “That’s a beautiful tree.”
Notice your thinking patterns.
What are you thinking when you’re feeling nervous?
Walking down the street?
Notice that similar situations result in similar thought patterns.
Do you judge people and situations?
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the past or the future?
Do you expect the worst to happen or the best? Or do you adopt an attitude of, “Let’s just see what happens” instead?
2. Notice your feelings.
What are you feeling throughout the day?
What do you feel while you’re eating?
Driving to work?
Lying in bed?
Waiting in line?
Once you’ve notice your emotion, question it.
What am I feeling? Why?
What do I need right now?
How do I normally react in this situation?
Is that smart?
3. Understand how you deal with frustration or emotional discomfort. A huge chunk of your time is spent trying to make yourself feel better. If you feel slightly frustrated or uncomfortable, then you may spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to change the situation or the others around you to resolve those negative feelings.
Do you try to control others?
Do you attempt to distract yourself?
Is your first instinct to leave the situation?
Do you surf the internet or eat a big bowl of ice cream?
4. Examine your friendships.
Where do you find your friends?
Are most of your friendships long-term or short?
When your friendships end, what is the common cause?
What types of people do you prefer to be friends with?
What types of people do you avoid?
5. Examine your intimate relationships.
Do you see a pattern in the type of people that you’ve been involved with?
What are the negative characteristics they all share?
Why do you think those people appealed to you?
What were your shortcomings in your relationships?
Are you clingy? Jealous? Too focused on work?
Failed to communicate your needs?
Think about how you contributed to the failure of your relationships. Have you changed your approach from relationship to relationship, or do you continue to repeat your mistakes?
6. Keep a journal. There’s no better way to learn about yourself than to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences each day. Studies have shown that we don’t remember our past very accurately, so record it while it’s still fresh in your mind. Be sure to include your high and low points for the day. Note how well you ate and slept, too. You might find some useful information. * Create a habit of writing in your journal for at least 15 minutes each day. You’ll start to notice patterns and learn a lot about yourself. Understanding yourself might be the most important piece of your self-development puzzle. If you don’t understand yourself, it’s difficult to apply all the great information available today. Maintain an awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Examine and question them. You’ll be surprised by what you find.
As we’re going through narcissistic abuse recovery, we tend to notice how big things affect our mood. Taking a vacation, marriage, divorce, death and serious financial issues are a few of the big items. However, small things can also impact your mood is a big way, and the small things happen more frequently. Understanding the small, day-to-day experiences that impact your mood is important.
Many of the smaller things in life can affect your mood:
1. Dehydration. If you’re feeling sluggish or irritable, you might just need a drink of water. Some people don’t have the benefit of good thirst mechanisms. Have a glass of water at least every few hours. Your mood might improve considerably.
2. Music. There are at least a few songs that impact your mood in a positive way. It only takes a moment of listening before you can feel your mood shift. Try to listen to a few songs you love each day. Upload them to your smart phone so they’re always handy.
3. Scents. Certain smells can alter your mood. Your smelly cubical mate has one effect. A scent that reminds you of your all-time best date has a different effect. * Are there any scents that you love? Find a candle or air freshener that mimics a smell you enjoy.
4. Weather. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, or just right. A nice day lifts your mood. A dark, rainy day can drag it down.
5. Compliments. Receiving a compliment is sure to enhance your mood. Just a few kind words can have a big impact. Giving compliments can have a positive effect on your mood, too. The opposite is also true. A few unkind words can result in a bad mood. Keep that in mind when you’re talking to others.
6. Sleep. If you have children, you know what they’re like when sleep-deprived. You’re not much better! Ensure that you’re getting enough sleep that your mood isn’t being affected negatively.
7. Your posture. Studies have shown that slouching results in more negative thoughts, and standing or sitting up straight results in more positive thinking.
8. The food you consume. It’s common to have a mild reaction to certain foods and not even be aware of it. Try eliminating certain foods from your diet for a couple of days and see if it changes how you feel. Eliminate one at a time or you won’t be sure which food causes issues. The most common culprits are:
Peanuts, which aren’t actually a nut.
Anything with a high sugar content.
9. Financial issues. You might not consider financial issues to be a “small thing,” but even small financial issues can harm your mood. For example, one unexpected bill can create a lot of emotional turmoil.
10. Spending a lot of time with negative people. Whether it’s a coworker, family member, or friend, spending time with a very negative person can sour your mood.
11. Exercise. Interestingly, when you least feel like exercising, doing so seems to have the biggest positive influence on your mood. A brisk walk is all you need to boost your mood. It doesn’t take much to make a difference. You don’t need to purchase a sports car or vacation if you’re looking to boost your mood. There are plenty of smaller things that can change your mood significantly. These small things can occur on a daily basis and are well worth the effort to either seek or avoid. Focus on the small things that enhance or detract from your mood and you’ll enjoy pleasant moods more often.