Today my partner asked me THE big question. I was shocked at first since I did not expect it so early. He looked at me in the eyes and said: “What would you like for Christmas?”. My mind started to wonder in exotic places, spas, massages and yoga escapes. I eventually came back and answered: “happiness”. Such a hippie answer, right?
What is happiness? My personal understanding of happiness is being present while walking a path of self-discovery, love and connection. The more I know, love and accept the sharp corners of my personality the easier it gets to connect with other human beings. I like to view this as a complex, exciting and sometimes rewarding process, not a dead end goal. I view Yoga and some therapies as my map of my inner journey.
I guess some of you already meditate, eat healthy food, practice, practice (because your yoga mat, like your hips, does not lie), keep a journal, read self-books and volunteer for some charities. There are many ways of exploring ourselves; we can do it alone or with can share it with someone next to us. I believe that this journey is worth to be shared with others. Loved ones can support us to deep dive within as we can support them.
One of my favorite self-exploration techniques is called: the Johari window. Two psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham develop the Johari Window in 1955. This is divided into four regions, (areas, quadrants, or perspectives):
open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’ what is known by us and is also known by others (example: I know and my friends and family know that I am Yoga Junkie)
blind area, blind self, or ‘blind spot’ what is unknown by us about ourselves but which others know (example: I might be not aware that people perceive me as a strong person when I actually feel fragile and weak)
hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or ‘facade’ what we know about us that others do not know (example: my students don’t know I am a big Metal Head J )
Unknown area or unknown self what is unknown by us about ourselves and is also unknown by others (example: I found that some of my dreams hide deeper meaning and it is fun to explore them with a professional)
As you can see from the figure, this is a mapping personality of awareness. This model is based on two ideas – trust can be gained by revealing information about you to other people and learning about yourselves from their feedbacks.
My personal suggestion for the winter nights is to ask your family and friends to show you your strengths and positive qualities and share what you see in them. You might discover that other people perceive you more positively that you think about yourself.
If you are connected to your dreams, write them down in a journal. You might be able to unravel some of your unknown areas. If you feel, you need to deep dive into the unresolved issue, look for a therapist in your area that can help you to shine a light on them. Hopefully, the open area will enlarge, embracing a new unknown aspect of your beautiful self.
In my experience, I can honestly say that the more I explore my blind spots by working on the physical, mental and karmic challenges, the more I am able to invite people to know who I really am. Ramana Maharshi once said, “Your own Self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world”, I could not agree more. Connecting within, can lead to connect more genuinely to others. We live in a society where we are constantly reachable, our mobile devices are becoming the virtual extension of ourselves but does it mean that we are more connected to other people? Often the relationships due to a lack of self-knowledge, dwell in the surface. How many times have you seen friends or a couple talking to each other while checking their phones? Hands up, I am guilty too. I have personally noticed that this happens when I am not fully connected within, when I am not centred and this sometimes leads me not be able connect to others. I deeply believe that give full attention, being there for the person in front of you is the most precious gift you can donate to the world. This is for me the fundamental base of every love-based relationship (friendship, romantic love, parental love). The importance of connecting within cannot be underestimated. No wars, dramas, arguments start from a place of awareness.
So if you are doing your Christmas list, do not forget to add your beautiful, broken, happy, vulnerable, joyful self.