I recently shared quite a big part of my personal history on social media. I disclosed that I have suffered from premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, have been sexually assaulted and have been bullied for being falsely perceived as homosexual. I shared this not looking for sympathy but to embrace a side of me that I hadn’t been fully appreciative of; my vulnerability.
I’ve been ridiculed, ostracized and embarrassed by the above-mentioned issues and those experiences had left me insecure, anxious and isolated. However, these same experiences motivated and inspired me to pursue the work I offer today. This sharing was a way for me to express my vulnerability and show everyone who I teach or consider my students that I am not some infallible authority on the topics that I talk about.
I am a regular person, with the same concerns that so many other people are struggling to deal with. What I have done though is explore, study, read, experience and journey through a lot of different teachings to better understand myself. This brings me to the focus of this post, what I believe is the first step on the road to self-mastery; Awareness.
What I have gained from all these teachings is a sense of awareness of my whole self. I am more aware of my physical body, my subtle and energetic bodies, my attitudes and values, my thought processes, and most recently, my unexpressed vulnerability. This capacity to be aware of what you’re feeling, of why you’re feeling this way, and of how that feeling is affecting you physically and otherwise is the foundational practice for all personal development. By becoming aware of my vulnerability, the things that I’d hidden from my public persona, and eventually expressing them, I shone a light of self-awareness on my whole self.
This is the advice I have for anyone looking to venture down the path of personal growth; begin simply by becoming aware of yourself. This applies to every aspect of development, from the physical to the emotional to the spiritual to the sexual. Start by noticing things about yourself or in your body that you may have taken for granted, may have stifled for various reasons, may have forgotten about, may have pretended weren’t there, or may have never thought of.
For example, a very easy thing you can do to start this is become aware of your breathing. How are you breathing right now as you read this? How do you breathe throughout the day? How do you breathe when you self-pleasure? How do you breathe when you connect with your partner? Start to become aware of the way you breathe and watch how this changes the way you become aware of other things in your life, like your vulnerability and your hidden emotions.