Life lesson #389: self awareness


Last week I was laying down on my Ob’s (or is she my gyno now?) bed in her office, spread eagled getting that lovely appointment done chatting away and talking about how my hormones seem to be SO out of whack since having Mags. Still breastfeeding, night waking, baby wrangling PLUS dealing with two other big kids, and life and work, on top of this god awful perfuckuss, well I’ve been a little, shall we say, erratic. Getting my period back just seems a cruel and unnecessary twist of fate at this state of play. We were talking about pills and how they can help regulate the hormones and moods, we talked about exercise and vitamins and that kind of thing before we started talking about truffles and food and her farm because that was really more interesting.

I must say that getting older has seen me certainly become more aware of myself and how I am more than it never did before. Something to do with growing up perhaps? This blog has also been a tool in me working stuff out. Cheap therapy perhaps? But definitely a way to work through the turkey about all kinds of things: Mum stuff, parenting stuff, kid stuff, relationship stuff, and of course food stuff. I seem to be able to see and recognise my poor or otherwise behaviour as it happens, look for triggers and try and work out ways to fix it, make it better. Surely a sign of getting wiser in my older years right?

While I still manage to lose my shit plenty of times a day for no apparent reason (I’m sure my family thinks this at least) I am aware of my behaviour and really don’t want to be doing the things that I do as they happen. That’s what I was talking to my Dr about…you know what you are doing, but you just can’t seem to stop it. Kind of like my 6 year old and some of the tantrums she has, we need to get them out to move on. Maybe that’s just the way that I’m/we’re hardwired?

Anyway, I digress. Last week I managed to get myself into a pickle with Rob about something. Every time we tried to work out a solution to this problem we were having we managed to get into a fight about it. Every time! We had to discuss it to try and work out what we were going to do, but every time we started we would fight, ignore each other, not talk properly about what we both wanted out of it and I decided in my grown up ways (not) to resort to no talkies. Never a solution! There were cross text messages to each other and round and round we would go with neither of us actually talking about what his or my issues were, stubbornly standing our grounds. And then I had some space and a night away helping Mum move and I got some distance on the situation. I realised how ridiculous I was being and really stopped and looked at the situation at hand. Why was I getting so angry about it? Why was I unable to see his point of view? What was the actual reasons behind my behaviour. A little digging and soul searching showed a pretty simple conclusion: I wasn’t telling the truth about MY feelings which inevitably reflected in my (poor) behaviour. I wasn’t being truthful to MYSELF firstly, so how could I even try and be truthful to him? A simple conversation when we got back about what he wanted, about how I was feeling and about what MY expectations were and we got it sorted. Like in 4 minutes. DER. Ha!

That time spent really looking at a situation and working out the WHY behind my behaviour was so beneficial. Looking at my own limits and being TRUTHFUL to myself and then in turn to Rob about what my triggers were and accepting those triggers and the truth for what it is rather than what would be the “right” thing to do, or the “best” thing for everyone made all the difference. Like I’ve said before: tell people what you want and then you won’t get disappointed when they can’t translate your weird cryptic behaviour! So simple and so easy. I’ve written about it before here.

As I get older I am getting more of an understanding about what makes me tick. The things that piss me off, the way I set too big an expectation of myself in everything that I do. It’s OK, it’s who I am and it’s what makes me the loving and mostly complex person that I am. This self evaluation and awareness is helping me grow up. Say yes to the things I want and no to the people and situations that I don’t have the time, inclination or energy to deal with. I hope I can continue to work on it, make the best bits even better and while not get rid of my annoying and irritating behaviour for others, but work out ways to work WITH it. Understand it.


My friend Kelly Exeter has just written her second book that it being released next week. I’ve had a quick read and dead set, I think she may have written it for me. She actually may have because we are birthday twins! Born on the very same day and year 38 years ago – who knows how far apart in the country – but the same day. The blurb, ahem, read a little true for me:

  • If you’ve ever been told “You’re too hard on yourself” …
  • If you’re especially prone to overwhelm and burnout …
  • If your perfectionist tendencies are holding you back from getting the most out of life …

Then Practical Perfection was written for you.

I know that I have certainly recognised lots of the things she talks about in the book: Perfectionism, overwhelm, burn out and she has some great tools to help you work through them – honestly worth a look if you are the kind of person like me who I can now see is a “Self-oriented perfectionists”. You can pre-order it online here with some bonus pack stuff available too.

How do you engage in a little self-awareness?
Are you good at recognising your behaviours and working out what they REALLY mean?
Resort to no-talkies like me sometimes? It doesn’t work does it?


  1. Michelle Collins says

    It’s like you’ve been mind reading today! Seriously Kelly’s book couldn’t have been better timed, order placed. I’m older than you and my kids are teenagers now but that self awareness journey started in earnest for me in my early 30’s and is still going on now. I love being emotionally intelligent and responsible for my actions, and yes I still lose my shit on a regular basis.

  2. Thank you for this, sometimes I think I’m going mad then I read your blog and realise it is ok to not be happy all the time with life’s daily drudge, just clicked thru and purchased the book ?

  3. Sharon Cecil says

    Beth this is such a great post, I can connect with many of the things you’ve talked about here. When my marriage broke down 4 years ago I went through SO MUCH self evaluating, over thinking, trying to be perfect in EVERYTHING I did. It resulted in me needing some antidepressants to help me through the hard time adjusting to new life as a single parent. Four years down the road and I’m now off the meds, have a new lovely partner, studying for my teaching degree and life seems more settled. However I still struggle with the perfection thing everyday, but one of the things I’ve learnt from this ‘becoming a single mum’ thing is that sometimes I can’t do everything. I’ve learnt to not sweat the small stuff too much and even though there are dishes in the sink and washing to be folded, my kids need that time with me more than the housework does.
    I would love to have a read of this book….sounds great!

  4. Agreed. But I think she wrote it for me! Love Kelly’s blog – she speaks a lot of sense!

  5. Clearly, Beth, you are telepathic, or telekinetic (not sure which one applies here). This post, today of all days, spoke to me in such a powerful way. I feel as I have just begun this journey, in literally the last month. Your ability to share your thoughts and feelings so openly has inspired me to sort out issues in my own life, like right now! Never, ever stop being who you are Beth! xo Thanks

  6. I think the key is to have extremely low expectations and to only look to yourself for happiness.

    Works a treat.

    Book sounds good.


  7. Lisa Mckenzie says

    The book sounds awesome Beth Xx

  8. Totally agree… we just keep ploughing on, expecting everything to go to plan, bottling up our emotions, but keep doing that and one day (or most days) the proverbial is going to hit the fan. For me it’s often something insignificant that opens the floodgates… the straw that broke the camel’s back, dredging up a whole tirade of emotions. Kelly’s book sounds great. If you’re interested I also read a good book a while ago, called “The Happiness Code” by Domonique Bertolucci. A good read for self-critics with unrealistic expectations and control-freak tendencies (noooo, not me 😉 )

  9. Pre-ordered! Thanks for the heads up and looking forward to the read. 🙂

  10. Beth – you are the best birthday twin a girl could hope for. Thank you for this – and every word you spoke in your blog post resonated. I really feel a huge part of my development as a person is catching myself being reactive and behaving in a way I don’t aspire to.

    Self-compassion doesn’t come naturally to me but if there is one thing I’ve learned in recent years, it’s when I am behaving ‘badly’ to judge my behaviour harshly rather than myself. Just that in itself allows for much more useful conversations – both the ones I have with myself, and the ones I have with those around me xxx

    You is wise my friend

  11. this is a great post thanks beth!
    I love Kelly and her work! … she is an evolved soul!
    yes I have done heaps of work on myself for a long time!
    I think it’s important! … it works for me, as I wish to evolve not to remain the same!
    look at mags standing!!! omg she’ll be off and running! love her!
    love m:)X

  12. I think that’s why I’m enjoying 40 so much! Suddenly you know yourself well enough how to handle situations. Choose how you want to react and keep life happy and calm. Ha! Is this what being mature is all about?!! If only I had a dose of this in my crazy 20s!!! xx

  13. I like how you air your imperfections. I have an intensely complicated life raising two children with special needs, working, and meanwhile striving to be a perfectionist who tries to implement every therapy available to my kids, supplement them with every vitamin known to mankind while also looking after myself and striving to be a wonderful wife, sister, friend, aunty and daughter. Phew…yep, Im exhausted too by my perfectionism! So every now and then I come to your blog and read how you have had a melt down or a blue with Rob and it makes me feel more normal, so thanks for that!!!

  14. Evening Primrose Oil supplements work really well, if you remember to take them every day. They seem to take the intensity out of PMS. Worked for me and my sister, and her PMS (after 3 kids) was off the charts crazy. I can tell the months I’ve forgotten to take it. I’m a pretty calm, easy going person normally, but post baby PMS is like the Hulk has exploded out.

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