5 ways to Build Self-Awareness

How do you see your world?

How do you see your world?

The term ‘self awareness’ has really been on my mind lately. It is something that I have wanted to understand on a deeper level, because I believe authenticity is becoming increasingly important in a world where we have the ability to ‘portray’ an idealistic or curated life very easily. It makes me wonder about what is going to be important in the future. ‘Pretty images’ are becoming boring, and ‘real, honest, truthful content’ is becoming what everyone is seeking to relate and connect. The beauty of this, is that we are being challenged to actually be vulnerable, let walls down, and face our own shadows.

Where this leads me to is self awareness, and how we can deeper cultivate our own sense of character, emotion and identity, in a world that is hyper ‘image’ focused, and hasn’t allowed us to feel safe in these ‘real and honest’ places before. For our own emotional health, we need to be able to really understand ourselves on this level, so we have the resilience to deal with challenging situations. If we aren’t taught how to feel strong and safe within ourselves, over time we let challenges define who we are, rather than having the capacity to deal with challenges from a place of understanding and resilience.  Self awareness is important as it expands our capacity to deal with situations, without being a victim of circumstance. We are able to take a step back from situation and see it for what it is, take the lessons and leave the rest, without the overwhelm or discomfort controlling us.

Stay with me here. ‘Self awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognise oneself as an individual separate from the environment, situation and from other individuals.’ - Merriam Webster. It is the space between the situation we see in front of us ‘stimulus’ and our response (fear or love based reaction). The space between these two places, is the observer, where we dwell in a space of choice and perspective. In this in-between space, our subconscious mind wants to automatically respond from similar past events, in order to keep us feeling safe or protected. For example, if we are at a work meeting and our presentation doesn’t get the positive feedback we were hoping for, the subconscious immediately offers a fear-based reaction, we experience this situation as ‘rejection’ and the correlating emotions are released; pain, sadness, fight or flight response. The subconscious mind related this experience to the ‘rejection’ when your Father didn’t congratulate your prize in primary school, and the same emotions were released in order to keep you small and safe – a survival mechanism that we have hardwired into us.

Learning how to cultivate and expand self awareness, gives the power back to the observer, where we can choose our reaction from a place of confidence, truth and identity rather than past subconscious conditionings.  

1.    Breathwork (Pranayama), Wim Hof or Conscious Breathing

Breath as a tool is by far the most powerful way to bring self awareness and space to the conscious mind. It is also the fastest way to gain control over the ‘monkey chatter’ and gives the power back to the observer. From creating this space we can it, notice, and over time subtleties become more prominent. Subtleties in our emotional mind and our physical, external environment. Our minds can be our best friend, and also our worst enemy. From my experience, building a connection with our mind through breath can be life changing, especially with a long term commitment. Committing to a small, regular practice is key.

Check out this 5 minute Nadi Shodana practice to balance left and right hemispheres of the brain.

2.    Meditation (Silent retreat, Guided Practice, Yoga Nidra practice)

Choose the meditation that you are most drawn to. My favourite way to connect back in after a busy day is the following; Sit in a quiet space, set timer for 10 minutes, and just notice what comes up. Don’t force thoughts out or in, just observe and let go. When you simply notice what clutter wants to be released, it lets us know what is sitting under the surface of the mind. Let the mind rinse out pressing matters, and sit and indulge with the silence when it comes. The more silence there is, the most space you are creating for self awareness.

3.    Observation, notice yourself, catch yourself before responding and notice where your mind goes

In situations that you know are challenging, for example; Family dinner with in-laws, a challenging work dynamic or a tricky friend situation. Go into it with an open mind of challenging what your subconscious reactions are. Notice if your response is from love or fear, and notice if you are choosing your reaction. Are you letting past pains direct your current engagements? Are you letting your subconscious rule your mind? Just observe, and ask what your confident, safe and happy self would respond with.

4.    Switch off, have space

Turn off everything. TV, phone, music, activities. Stop doing and talking. If possible, have complete silence from people and stimulus. Just sit in the space, be with yourself, and honour that this time is sacred. It is a form of meditation, don’t let yourself overthink or ruminate, just observe what comes up. Journal, lie in the sun, watch the rain, connect with nature. This time is a beautiful way to connect with yourself, to build self-awareness.

5.    Self worth: Notice where do you self sabotage, and where does your confidence lie? Is your subconscious mind tricking you into thinking you need to play it small?

 Often we are confident in some areas, and over compensate in areas that we feel are lacking. We don’t like people seeing our weak spots, so we build facades around that parts that are vulnerable, and pretend things are great, but it only takes a little poke to that sore spot to trigger a fear based reaction. Take time to notice where you are vulnerable. What parts of yourself are tender or lacking in love? Where do you avoid confrontation, where do you pretend things are okay? And what childhood situations are triggered? On the flipside, where are you confident? Notice how you show up in these areas too.

This leads to the next questions; ‘Ok, so if I start becoming the observer, build self awareness, and create space between the stimulus and my reaction, how do I raise my confidence? How does this lead to a greater sense of self and empowerment?

Where we dwell in consciousness, is where truly dwell. When we create mental capacity, we give ourself (the creator) the power to choose from a place of authenticity and self-worth. It allows our truth and identity to be in control, rather than our subconscious. When we combine this practice of self awareness and space, with boundaries, self care and leaning into what makes us happy, we create new neural patterns of natural confidence and expand what we are worthy of. We attract experiences from where feel truly worthy, and raise our vibration.

Would love to hear how you experience self awareness and what works for you, comment below.

Love, Olivia

Stay tuned for my next blog post: 5 Ways to Raise Self Worth.


5 ways to Reprogram Subconscious Beliefs


Our external experiences are a direct reflection of our internal (subconscious and conscious) beliefs. These beliefs shape our perceptions, decisions and actions - and essentially, form our reality. Notice the relationships, situations and experiences you are attracting. What do they reveal about your inner world?

We have control over our conscious decisions i.e. actions and reactions - but this can only take us so far. For example, if we are unhappy in our job, we can look for a new job, resign from existing job, with the outcome being a new, fresh start with a new opportunity. However, if you have an underlying subconscious belief that ‘I will never be taken seriously by my boss,’ or ‘I am never paid enough to cover all of my expenses,’ then this pattern will continue to show up in each job you enter into, regardless of what job it is. The only way to change these continual patterns, is by reprogramming your subconscious belief system.

Our subconscious beliefs are often picked up during childhood or inherited from our parents. It is easy to inherit our parent’s beliefs around money, family and worth in relationships, however it can be much more than this. Subconscious limiting beliefs often show up when you feel resistance, self sabotage, or doubt your potential to achieve success.

Reprogramming our subconscious mind is a powerful way to change the unwanted patterns showing up in your life. With repetition, commitment and positive reinforcement, you really can change your life. Anything is possible.

  1. Journalling prompts Be really honest with yourself. Ask yourself:
    ‘Where am I experiencing limitations in my life currently?’
    ’Where else has this shown up in my life, and when did it start?’
    ’What are the beliefs I have learned/inherited that are not serving me?’
    ’What do I need to do to change these limiting beliefs?’
    ’What are new beliefs I can create now to overcome these blocks’
    ’How will I ensure commitment to using these in my life moving forward’
    Repeat your new commitments daily, visualise and use meditation, yoga nidra, and binaural sounds to reinforce.

  2. Environment
    Surround yourself with people who align with your highest self. When you do this work, the people around you will change as your energy does. When you surround yourself with people or situations that match your unwanted subconscious beliefs, you are reinforcing this as your reality. Make sure that when you commit to changing your programming, you take steps to align your internal environment with a nourishing and supportive external environment.

  3. Yoga Nidra
    Yoga Nidra is one of my most favourite ways of reprogramming, manifesting, and removing blocks. It is a form of guided meditation and can last between 20-60 minutes. You choose a ‘Sankalpa’ which can be an intention or affirmation. For example you could have a specific goal in mind, ‘I can run 20 kilometres in 1 hour,’ or something more general, ‘I am a successful entrepreneur.’ You repeat this Sankalpa at the beginning, and then at the end where your subconscious mind is open and receptive to new neural pathways.
    I recommend downloading the app Insight Timer for hundreds of Yoga Nidra recordings.

  4. NLP
    Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a form of reprogramming neural pathways in order to change behaviour, or help to reframe past trauma that is affecting one from moving forward. NLP uses a variety of specific techniques and there are many NLP practitioners all over the world. I would highly recommend this for anyone needing extra assistance in reprogramming past events or moving forward.

  5. Binaural Beats
    Sound is a powerful way to help take your mind to a space of creativity and stop repetitive neural loops. Binaural beats are specific sound waves that can entrain the brain to different states. The Delta and Theta frequencies are powerful when you listen to them during meditation, affirmations or visualisations them in to embed into the subconscious mind.
    The sound frequencies are;
    Delta: Deep sleep, pain relief, anti-aging, cortisol reduction, access to unconscious mind
    Theta: REM sleep, deep relaxation, inner peace, meditation, creativity
    Alpha: Relaxed focus, stress reduction, positive thinking, accelerated learning, flow state
    Beta: Focussed attention, high level cognition, analytical thinking and problems solving, stimulates energy and action
    Gama: High level information processing, cognitive enhancement, memory recall, peak awareness, transcedental states

Further ways to support, nourish and commit to your new subconscious beliefs;

  1. Yoga

  2. Meditation

  3. Visualisaton

  4. Affirmations

The trick to rewiring your subconscious beliefs is actually really believing in your gut that your new reprogrammed states are true i.e. ‘I really do deserve to be paid X amount for the work I do’ and let your coinciding actions reflect that. Trust in the process, it isn’t easy to start with but it does work.

Quick note: The most important thing to remember is that you don’t need to do this work to fix yourself, as you are not broken. You are perfect exactly in this moment and are loved for who you are. This work is done to only enhance, grow and challenge ourselves to become a better version of ourselves. I have found this work highly rewarding in growing a deeper relationship to myself and creating space to move past thought patterns holding me back.

Would love to hear any feedback from your experiences with the above.

Love, Olivia