Have you ever noticed how easy it is to have an insight into someone else’s life and how hard; sometimes near impossible, it is to have insight into your own?
Having insight feels good. It feels like ‘I’ve got this’, ‘I understand things in life’. And often then we know exactly what that someone else can do to change. All they need to do is….
However, when it comes to yourself, nothing is so straightforward.
Remember that emotional bender?
Insight often comes after the fact. Like when you’ve been on an emotional bender for a week and look back and lament what happened; how you acted, what others might think of you, how you might have hurt those close to you. However, this is more just remembering than actual insight… And judgmental remembering at that.
‘OMG I did that’ or ‘OMG I acted like that’ is just remembering and going over what happened without any learning or shifting. It is more like a blunt instrument used to emphasise your ‘not ok-ness’ over and over.
Insight is to go beyond the usual immediate lamentation to… how it was able to happen; to make yourself aware.
Awareness with curiosity
Making yourself aware is an important step towards insight and is best matched with non-judgment and a light sense of curiosity. So, awareness leading to insight is thinking about: a) what happened, b) what triggered the behaviour, c) where you had opportunities to stop but didn’t, d) what you recognise as having happened before that was the trigger.
The trigger might be just in the moment before, or it might be in events weeks or months leading up to it. And even more importantly, at the core is always a feeling.
And as the feeling is most likely a difficult one to feel, it is likely hard to uncover without some genuine interest, curiosity, kindness and non-judgment.
The feeeeeeling underneath it all
Often, when we reach that feeling, we can recognise, understand and also own our reaction to it. Often when we reach and feel the feeling, insight can come all by itself. This feeling and all we have learned about it, will tell us what steps we can take to prevent lamentable behaviour in future. This might be as simple as feeling the feeling. Or it might be raising awareness around the triggers for that feeling; triggers that still sit in our body from things that happened in the past. Or it might be as simple as saying within yourself, to yourself, ‘You’re ok; your feelings are ok.’ Or it might make you aware that a certain situation is not good for you and you need to make changes.
Having insight and acting on your insight is using your own homemade emotional intelligence to live your life and then to also love and accept those close to you.
Margot Broug 2019