When Awareness is a Bitch

Lately, my Inner Guide and I have been hate-f*cking. An exciting feature of a love-hate relationship. We’ve all been there, usually with people and not unseen spiritual forces, but it’s the kind of relationship that simultaneously makes you angry and gives you butterflies. My Inner Guide loves me, but sometimes I hate her. Ok, “hate” might be a strong word. Maybe it’s more of an ardent dislike. Either way, let me explain:

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’m interested in self-awareness, personal responsibility, and crude humor (not necessarily in that order). But, as much as I love that stuff, I’m not always happy with it. Sometimes knowledge and awareness straight up suck.

Many spiritual teachers talk about how awareness is a wonderful, magical, "you drive a unicorn to work" type of feeling. And, since I’m not a spiritual teacher, I can tell you that sugar-coating things doesn’t make them go down any easier. This whole concept of “being awake” or “attuned to your Inner Guide” sometimes gets painful before it feels awesome.

It isn’t some epiphany where you suddenly achieve enlightenment and change your ways with ease. It’s more of a push & pull, a hit it & quit it, or a dine & dash. But, as we continue to grow, knowledge becomes something that we can’t outrun. Eventually, we realize that our negative patterns aren’t giving us the outcome we desire. In short: shit ain’t workin’.

Awareness starts with recognizing that in an effort to be right rather than be happy, we recreate old patterns. We’re more comfortable confirming that we’re right about the world, how things work, or those around us, even if it makes us miserable. That’s why unhappiness is comfortable- It’s easier than the unknown. Knowledge of this gives us a choice, albeit an uncomfortable choice. Let’s look at an example from my past:

As a child, I was taught that it wasn't okay to voice my opinion. So I attracted people who confirmed that truth. Even though it pissed me off, I focused on what I wanted to avoid (pedantic “you should say/think/do xyz” type people) rather than what I wanted (loving, supportive, “tell me about your day” type people) And, in doing this, I tried to prove that I was right about myself, others, and the world around me.

But, I’m aware of it. And so is my Inner Guide. And while she was once that “little voice” she’s now a screaming banshee. And like any tenuous relationship, when I screw up, she lets me know. To be entirely honest, while I strive to take my relationship with my Inner Guide to the next level, there are times when I miss the previous level. Where I can just ignore her and continue on my merry way, have a few drinks, kiss a few guys, or anything else to squash the discomfort of resistance. Because resistance is painful, and, like most people, I’m not a fan of pain.

But here’s what we often forget: what’s causing the pain isn’t repressing our Inner Guide, it’s resisting it. Luckily, resistance isn’t so much a feeling, it’s a choice. You have the power to choose. You might not be ready to make the healthiest choice, but it’s in your hands.

The point is that sometimes awareness feels like the shit end of the stick. It’s completely normal to want to drown out your inner voice (perhaps in tequila) and continue doing what you want because it’s easier. That’s growth, it’s opening yourself us to the possibility of choice and being honest with yourself. And just because growth doesn’t look the way you want or happen on your timeline, doesn’t make you a spiritual failure. It makes you a freakin’ human being. And there’s nothing wrong with that.