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Sometimes people talk about how they 'found themselves', perhaps while enduring a difficult situation, or when travelling around the world, experiencing lots of new things.  But what do they mean when they speak about their self-discovery?  Surely we must know ourselves - after all, we are all by definition living in our own skin!

Self-awareness, or the knowledge of what makes us 'tick' - can be grasped by anyone who has a desire to look, but often we have many blind spots as to parts of our character which others may recognise immediately.  Getting to know those hidden areas can be very fruitful, in terms of learning how we interact with others, recognising when we may need to apply our foot to the brake, and generally getting a better idea of how to manage ourselves to get the best out of our lives.

This may all sound very promising, and indeed can be, although there are seemingly risks associated with a deeper understanding of self.  What about the parts of our character that we don't like?  How would it feel to realise that in one particular area of our lives we are lacking in a way we only subtly perceived before?  In my experience as a counselling therapist, it seems that when a previously unknown negative aspect of a client comes into his or her awareness, it can be quite a shock.  The client may feel uncomfortable and he or she may resist the realisation.

The story, however, often doesn't end there.  By staying with these difficult feelings, things can be worked through in an atmosphere free of judgement or criticism, and with acceptance shown by the therapist, the client can come to learn to accept themselves - both the good and the not so good.  The end result (of that part of the process), is often for the client to gain in humility, self-respect and compassion for others.  With a better understanding of how they themselves 'tick', they can often extend a hand to others in difficulty with the knowledge that we all have faults and all simply want to know that we are 'good enough', despite our fears that we don't quite make the grade.

Although we can travel to the other side of the globe to see if we are there - waiting for ourselves - I wonder whether the inner journey of self-discovery can just as well begin right where we are, with no aeroplanes or trains required?  It has been my privilege to walk alongside many clients as they learn more of themselves, and I have come to realise that though we may have different backgrounds, skin colours or opinions, in the end the need to love and to feel loved for who we are seems pretty universal.

Do you know what makes you tick?  Would you like to?

Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy

Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com

What Makes You Tick?

What Makes You Tick? | Ashwood Therapy Wellbeing Blog