I still remember the first time I saw myself through somebody else's eyes.
I was sick and had the flu. I was so incredibly lonely and feeling so sorry for myself and all I wanted was somebody to come and give me a cuddle and take care of me.
So I messaged my friend and doing what any emotionally immature and totally un self-aware person would do I started dropping hints that I wanted him to come and take care of me... When he didn't offer to drop everything and come over I started to get really shitty and then started sending him messages dropping hints that I was mad.
Eventually he asked me:
"Charlotte... Why are you so pissed off with me right now?"
So, I told him; "I feel so sick and all I wanted was for you to look after me the way I look after you when you're sick."
"How can I do that when it's 1am, I live 40 minutes away and don't drive?" He said.
"Well," I explained, getting more and more worked up "if it was me I'd find a way to show I care. I'd Uber Eats you chicken soup or something".
And then he said the sentence that GENUINELY changed my life...
"Charlotte, if you'd ASKED me to send you chicken soup I would have done that without question, I LOVE taking care of you... but I'm not a mind reader and I'm not you. Stop getting angry with people for not thinking the same way that you do."
HOLY SHIT. LIFE ALTERING PARADIGM SHIFT.
I had never had someone highlight my behaviour so accurately whilst also doing so with so much love.
I was suddenly flooded with memories of every single time I'd done this in a relationship... Every time I'd gotten angry because someone didn't do what I wanted them to do (even though I'd never even asked them).
In a single moment I became AWARE of one of the ways I had been sabotaging my relationships for my ENTIRE LIFE.
When I realised, I started laughing. It was actually quite hilarious that I'd always acted like this and wondered why people never knew what I wanted from them. And from that moment on I always caught myself every time I tried to do this and eventually... I stopped doing it.
Self-awareness is a superpower.
Once you start to become aware of the patterns and behaviours that have shaped your entire life you can begin to change them. But you can't do this if you're not aware... It all starts with self-awareness.
This experience happened when I was a year and a half into a four year crystal meth addiction, but it made me hungry for me. I wanted to understand myself more I wanted feedback from people I loved and trusted so I could begin to change my life.
He probably didn't realise it at the time, but my friend gave me an incredible gift. With that one sentence he had shifted my perspective and marked the beginning of my road to recovery. This moment was the first time that I had started to take some accountability for my behaviour but it was also the moment that I realised I could choose to change my behaviour at any given moment.
The journey of self-awareness may be a never-ending one, but it certainly is a life-changing one.