First of all, we want to be able to be conscious when we are in our Aware Selves & when we are not. If we are clear about the difference between the two, we can make the choice to step into our Aware Selves when we are not in that place. What are the signs of our Aware Selves? Here are just some adjectives to describe this place – and this list is not complete: centered, peaceful, empowered, secure, wise, breathes deeply, feels safe, knows one’s value, has access to all of one’s faculties, connected to the body, emotionally mature, heart-centered, open & compassionate. Take a moment to close your eyes & step into what it feels like to experience the majority of these attributes. Feel into this completely. What does that feel like in your body? Can you feel the expansiveness of your body, heart and mind?
And conversely, what are the signs that we are not in our Aware Selves? This could be a very involved discussion, but I want to keep this really simple by stating that most of the time – when we are not in our conscious aware self, we are in either our “critic” (sometimes called “our critical parent”) or our “wounded child.” Sometimes, we go back & forth between these two ego states so much that it feels as though they are one state. In the critical parent, we have a judgement for everything. And, in this state, we like to be in control at all times – sometimes to the point of telling people what to do. And, in this state, we often speak to our own selves in a mean way – and fall into frequent self-criticism.
In the wounded child ego state, we become identified with our feelings & feel victimized by them. For example, “I am hurt” – instead of “I feel hurt & can recognize the wound that got triggered.” In this state, we often feel less than and victimized by others and circumstances. One of the hallmarks that you or someone else will give when in this state is to often use the words “always” or “never” – because a child has a very limited perspective of time & tends to generalize what they perceive as happening now to be always happening.
Most of the time, there is a pivotal moment that we can stop ourselves from getting completely derailed & choose to stay centered and tapped into our aware selves. If something has thrown us off in some way, we want to become very conscious of the moment of choice between going down that rabbit hole of reactiveness or choosing to “take a step back” from reacting to our emotions & negative mind chatter – and remind ourselves to go to our hearts and the expansiveness of our greatest selves where we can give ourselves and others unconditional positive regard.
Now, sometimes there is not some pivotal moment that we can recognize that throws us back into a less conscious place. Perhaps we are just not feeling good & are living in some kind of negative loop that prevents us from accessing our place of love, self-esteem and power to create what we want in our lives. If this is the case, it is usually an indication that we are operating from a false story that was created around some kind of wounding (or woundings) in our past. Usually this story has us believing that we are not good enough or are unlovable or doomed to be abandoned or many other destructive and self-deprecating beliefs. And unfortunately, with such beliefs, we are often attracting in many more circumstances to reinforce these beliefs.
Once we can release the false story and step into a joyful love-filled expansive story of our own choosing, it will then become possible to operate from our true aware selves on a regular basis – and be able to recognize whenever we get “thrown off” & easily make the choice to get back to our conscious place of empowerment. If you get triggered in your close relationships, the tools of deep listening and skillful I-Messages can help you develop your ability to access your adult whole & aware self even in those challenging interactions.