Self Aware = Better Relationships

And my first Live Q&A!

Hello fellow romantics,

First things first, thank you to everyone that filled out the form I linked; you're the best. Since many people wanted a Live Q&A, I'm doing one!

The Q&A will be on October 10th at 10 am PST. If you can make it, reply, "I'm in!" to this email.

If you want to make it but can't because of the time, let me know what time would've worked for you so I can know for future Q&As.

Last thing, if you want to connect, shoot me a DM on Instagram!

Now onwards to this week's newsletter…


Has someone ever told you about a habit you have, but you were completely unaware of it? For me, people always comment on my facial expressions; apparently, I have a very animated array of facial responses.

Also, I often use the word "true" instead of OK. Where did I pick that up? In my middle school science class, when a friend told me it was the cool new word to use.

Apparently, I started using it and haven't stopped.

But in the times when someone points out something about yourself that you never noticed, that's a small moment of becoming more self-aware.

While realizing how expressive your face is won't help your relationship, becoming aware of your other habits will. Because when we're self-aware, we notice our actions that kinda suck, hurt people, or keep our relationship from growing.

Essentially: you can't fix a problem until you're aware of its source.

And the good news is, all of us can become more self-aware. It just takes a little practice.


Look, I'll be honest: becoming self-aware isn't easy. It means swallowing your pride sometimes; admitting you're wrong when you don't want to. And once you've started increasing your self-awareness, you'll feel like you've woken up.

And once you wake up, you can't go back to sleep.

But you'll begin to understand your emotions and arguments better, what triggers you and create a more loving relationship. A great trade-off, if you ask me.

So then how, exactly, does one increase their self-awareness? Let's dive into that:

Ask yourself these questions:

The Q's below were adopted from John Gottman's research.

  • What challenging periods have you gone through in life? Think as far back to your childhood.

  • What behaviors have you developed to try and protect yourself from that same pain?

  • How did your family express emotion when you were a child? How do you think that affected your thoughts around feelings and emotions?

  • How do you and your partner express feelings differently? Does that cause any issues?

Consider writing your answers down. Our past greatly affects who we are today. Whether it's a rough breakup or the fact one of your parents left you as a child, those experiences matter when trying to understand your present self better and how you show up as a partner.

Becoming aware of the ways you distract yourself.

A piece I read by Mark Manson (the guy who wrote The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck) talked about how everyone has distractions that they use to avoid dealing with emotions or difficult situations.

While this is fine, and sometimes we need a good distraction (like from this entire pandemic), other times, you're only pushing down emotions that need to be felt.

Becoming aware of how you distract yourself means you can choose not to.

Say you get high every day. You think it's merely your way of life. You don't need to do it every day, but you do because, why not? But what if that's your way of distracting yourself from the hard parts of life?

If you're not aware that's why you're getting high, how can you opt-out? Or, better yet, why would you?

My distraction is Tiktok or mindless TV. My boyfriend's is Reddit.

What's yours?

Don't avoid your emotions.

This is the hardest part of self-awareness. It's why people hate meditating and being alone. People don't want to feel their emotions because it's incredibly uncomfortable.

But when you're out of touch with your emotions, you're out of touch with who you are. Put differently, you can't be self-aware if you don't feel your emotions when they happen.

Sometimes, if I've had a crappy day, I easily snap at my boyfriend. I'll argue with him about unimportant stuff. And he's left, reasonably, thinking.. wtf?

While on the outside, I seem angry, inside I'm stressed and maybe even sad. And while I sometimes slip-up, I can usually pinpoint the underlying feeling I'm experiencing.

Give yourself the space to identify and express your emotions. Maybe you think you're stoic, but actually, you're sensitive. Perhaps you're sad because of a recent event you haven't dealt with.

Say your emotions out loud, to yourself. Don't judge them. Don't deny them. Don't avoid them.

Figure out your weaknesses and unhealthy patterns.

When you're sad, how do you usually react? With anger? By shutting off from everyone?

How about when you're mad, excited, jealous, annoyed, and hungry?

Our reactions to emotions we think of as negative provide a lot of insight into our unhealthy patterns. Because the fact is, none of us are perfect. We're all emotional human beings trying to get through life with minimal pain.

But when we don't recognize those unhealthy patterns, we not only stay stuck in ways that make us unhappy, we hurt others along the way, too.

When you become aware of your weak points (and I say that as merely a phrase, having faults is part of being human), they start to become less of a weak point.

Have honest conversations with your partner.

Throughout your self-awareness journey, share talk about what you feel comfortable sharing with your partner.

You can talk to them about specific, difficult experiences. Maybe you want to acknowledge a habit of yours that hurt them in the past. Or perhaps something about them triggers an unhealthy pattern in you.

Either way, I've found that honesty leads to healthy outcomes.

As long as you're in a relationship with someone who cares about your mental well-being, they'll enjoy being let into your self-awareness journey.


I talk about self-awareness in terms of relationships, but it's something that will end up affecting your whole life. Even I work on becoming more self-aware, for my own happiness, and to better my relationship.

It's not always easy, and I'm sure you'll stumble along the way (as sure as hell did). But it's like any journey; not always clear, but the end destination is well-worth the uncertainty.

Until next week my amazing readers.

All the love,

Kirstie


Book Update:

I just hit 45,000 words, and I'm pretty stoked. I was close for a while, but since I've been editing lately, I hadn't been adding to my word count.

The book will be over 50,000 words when all is said (typed) and done.


Writing Corner:

If you follow me from Medium and you're a fellow writer, shoot me a hello! I'd love to know what you write about and any questions you have about Medium.

I also run a mastermind to help writers level-up their freelance careers. Check it out here.


Articles I Wrote:

Ask iris: "How Do I Talk About STIs Without Killing The Mood?"

8 Habits That Can Damage Your Relationship

Five Reasons Why *Perfect* Relationships End

How To Talk To Your Boyfriend About Money

Content I Loved:

The Importance of Friends for Your Romantic Relationship

So You're Ready For In-Person Dating? Here's How To Do It Safely

Armchair Expert Podcast: Lori Gottlieb

A Great Reddit Post About Women

Kinda Dating Podcast: Having Healthy Breakups