The people I work with in my career as a writer and editor are so cool. Many of them are business owners and entrepreneurs and half the time they act as my own legion of life coaches! As a result, I am privy to innovative thought processes and unique ways of surmounting obstacles.

I also stumble upon content that pushes my own continual healing. Personally, I do a ton of writing on learning to eliminate self-limiting beliefs and examining how our pasts can fuel our emotional rehab.

After a certain amount of internal work has been accomplished; I’m talking decades of counseling, tapping into the gift of changing your mindset and figuring out how to handle compulsions and urges in the form of eating disorders and anxiety tendencies, you can start to chip away at your own self-awareness.

Questions like…

How do other people see my responses? (Not from a standpoint of needing their validation), but to gather intel on how you can be more compassionate, for example).

  1. Do I understand my triggers?
  2. Do I know how to rationally react to these triggers?
  3. What do you believe you are capable of accomplishing?
  4. How do you define your limitations?

I don’t want to give anything else away, but I did take a test, which took me deeper into evaluating particular habits and beliefs about myself than I would have dissected on my own. I had never taken a test like this, asking these sorts of questions and it spurred my self-examination. I’ve always wanted to ask myself these questions so I could think about how far I’ve come in my healing journey. But I never knew what the questions would be. It’s always valuable to gauge our progress and so I seized the opportunity.

But why is understanding our self-awareness important to our emotional health?

Let me give you an example. My childhood was rough; it didn’t offer a lot of security and when we are plunged into and restrained in survival mode, this is how we think long-term. It is how we plan. We use this method like we flex a muscle. Our every decision has a desperate root. We can’t move out of simply reacting quickly to situations and triggers. I was not self-aware during this time. I was furious and devastated and terrified because there was no motionless core to which I could anchor. I didn’t care how I affected people when I spoke, or through my actions. Half of my responses were couched in the subconscious need to receive some kind of frickin’ validation that I was worth anything. Truly, I could have given a crap less about the feelings I influenced in others.

After many years of counseling and answering the need in me to heal on a consistent circuit of self-revelation as I build confidence and internal work, I can now say, I care about people’s feelings.

I care about my own self-awareness, too, and I use questions like these to push my healing even further.

Understanding our limitations is critical because it frames our confidence. Knowing your triggers allows you to plan for your deliberate reaction, and it gives you invaluable information about yourself.

I believe that triggers, when confronted are actually our biggest avenues to emotional prosperity. When we define and accept our fears, we can develop plans to move past them, to practice making them smaller and less damaging to our lives. We can have internal conversations with ourselves about being afraid and identifying where fear comes from, that we are humans and instead of seeking to avoid, we can use our histories to teach us, and when we get stronger…we can teach others what has worked for us as well.

I am not denying there are triggers that are paralyzing and traumatizing, but I am a believer in finding the solution to not overcome what we have been exposed to, (because we will never be the same) but to compartmentalize our experiences to our benefit. We can use visualization to shrink terror. We can reason through fright. Because education is the antidote to fear, right?

It is possible to get better. To feel less pain.

We can help other survivors. But before we do, we need to hone our own insight into our self-awareness and realize the vital role it plays in our positive emotional health. I am not a counselor or therapist. My full-time job has been progressive healing. These perspectives have worked for me and that is why I share them. To help people recover from the wounds of their past.

Original article appeared at Huffington PostReprinted with permission.