"Yes, For The Most Part" would be the answer provided by the majority of adults and possibly even by some individuals who have not yet reached the age of adulthood when asked if they were “Self-Aware.” On the contrary, as I continue to interact with clients on a daily basis, I have come to the conclusion that the correct response is "maybe, I am not as self-aware as I thought."
Recently, I was working with a client who reported that they were having “increased symptoms of depression” one of the symptoms being loneliness and not finding joy in things they felt they should find delight in. I inquired more about the client's "loneliness" by asking them to elaborate. Despite the fact that the client stated on multiple occasions that they believed that they would be better off by themselves, the other information provided by the client indicated something entirely different. For instance, this client shared, they frequently get the feeling that they want to hang out with friends, yet they are hesitant to reach out to them. They even disclosed when recently dating, and things were going well, they found themselves thinking ”I do not want this time to end." Yet, despite these feelings they continued to chant the entire "I prefer to be alone" phrase. When I realized that the client was not genuinely conscious of their feelings, I questioned them about many aspects of their life, including family background and the atmosphere of the home where they were raised. I even asked about previous patterns in relationships and their results.
Although, my client never mentioned or admitted to experiencing emotional neglect in any way. Upon my clients' disclosures of these experiences, I came to the conclusion that they in fact had been emotionally neglected. One may question how am I supposed to determine this from a few questions if they have no idea what I'm talking about based on their actual experience?
To begin, emotional neglect has a menacing and negative ring to it. It is obvious that if we want to avoid feeling ashamed, we may immediately respond "no, I did not grow up being neglected!" However, gaining a deeper level of self-awareness requires first and foremost a grasp of what it means to emotionally neglect someone. When your parents do not respond adequately to the child’s emotional needs, this is an example of emotional neglect.
Which in return, may cause you to think…
Your feelings (all feelings) don’t exist.
Your feelings (all feelings) don’t matter.
If you feel something, HIDE IT. (we don't want to burden anyone with our emotions.)
If any of these thoughts sound similar to yours, there is a good possibility that you were emotionally neglected at some point in your life as well. It is important to note that this does not necessarily imply that your caregivers acted maliciously toward you. After all, the vast majority of the time they were simply acting out what had been done to them. But in order to HEAL, we must avoid repeating old or perhaps destructive patterns of behavior, and to take care of our mental health. It is vital to become experts of your own emotions. This includes accepting your experiences, whether they are positive or unpleasant.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are unsure whether or not your self-awareness requires some work?
Do you ever find yourself unable to quite comprehend why you do or don’t engage in certain behaviors?
Are you "mystified" by your own behavior, in the sense that you question yourself, "Why do I do that? I am aware that it is not good for my health.”
Do you find it difficult to understand relationships of any kind, whether they be sexual, platonic, or professional?
Do you find it challenging to articulate your thoughts and feelings regarding certain topics?
Do you find that you frequently lack clarity regarding your beliefs?
Do you believe you need to gain validation for your thoughts and feelings before you can communicate them?
Do you ever have the impression that the things you require or desire are not as important as the requirements, desires, and emotions of other people, and as a result, you struggle with trying to please other people and placing their requirements ahead of your own?
Is it possible for you to have an abundance of grace, support, and compassion for other people but none for yourself?
Do you ever feel like you can't say no to other people?
Do you get the feeling that you are all alone since you are the person that others turn to for support and direction, but you find that no one offers you the same support in return?
If you replied yes to any one of these questions, or all of them, it's possible that the following will also be helpful to you:
Make it your mission to educate yourself about what makes you tick.
Figure out how to correctly identify and name your different feelings.
Put in the effort to pay attention to your genuine sentiments
Observe and acknowledge the emotions and feelings that other people are experiencing accurately, to put it another way, MAKE IT A HABIT TO BE AWARE!!
Try out some different ways of self-talk.
Emphasize the fact that YOU ARE IMPORTANT!!!
Lastly, keep in mind that it is not your fault that you do not have self-awareness. It is possible that the beginning of true healing, openness, authenticity, and self-awareness will occur if you are able to acknowledge that you have experienced emotional neglect and that it is not your fault for having done so. Never stop learning from and about yourself!
For More Help On How To Become More Self-Aware Contact Me Here.