Is self-awareness a step toward self-love?

Sofia Garcia, Editor-in-Chief

As an icebreaker in classes, we’re often asked to describe ourselves in some fashion, and every time this happens, the thought of withering away into oblivion becomes more beguiling to me. I understand that this is a direct result of my fluctuating ability to be comfortable in my own company. The simple act of spending time alone is incredibly daunting to me as I have fought a lifelong internal battle: finding a solid sense of self. Admittedly, this constantly eats me up inside. It completely baffles me when I hear people speak highly of themselves because that means they have spent enough quality time with their inner being to know—and more importantly— love who they are. 

When I think about what constitutes spending “quality time” with one’s self, a few questions come to mind: Do I need to be consciously aware of the fact that I am spending time alone? Am I doing it the right way? Why isn’t there a universal guide to this whole “self-discovery” thing? I know that it looks different to everyone, which is why I am perturbed. After I have spent hours or even days alone, I feel a peculiar sense of confusion. It’s as if no time has passed and I am stuck dancing this immaculately choreographed routine with my ability to ruminate on that which I have not accomplished: self-love. 

Navigating the beautifully messy process that is finding a sense of self has been frustrating for me. To be clear, I’m not implying that I hate myself or that I find it impossible to explore the depths of self-perception, but it feels overwhelming to think that I am an adult in my twenties who has no idea how to identify herself. Being trapped inside this box of labels and forced to choose an identity that fills a void in me is deeply unsettling.

In my attempts to address my “dilemma,” I have found that vulnerability has always come easy to me. I probably owe that trait to the problem itself. If I am unsure of what I love about who I am, there is no question about what I am willing to share with others because it all seems to be at the same level. It’s information that is either so important that I absolutely need to share it or it is my blatant disregard for my own personal boundaries. 

Contrary to my previous opinions, I have no plans to give up on my emotional development. Finding my sense of self in the midst of circumstances that inspire evolution is frightening and that is okay. There are things I have learned along the way. Oddly enough, being in a constant state of judgment toward every facet of myself has generated an impenetrable bubble of self-awareness, which allows me to better recognize my “progress” when it is made. There are some things about myself that I will always believe to be true, and I will chase the perpetual feeling of liberation that stems from those truths.