When I'm talking about Mindfulness, I'm talking about several things, so I'll try to describe here. First, Mindfulness to me means awareness. Awareness of everything, such as:
- How I'm feeling
- How my body feels when I feel this way
- Where the pain is
- Where the joy is
- What I'm thinking
- What I'm doing
- How others are responding to me
- Where my emotion at any given moment is residing in my physical body
- What I'm telling myself about certain situations
- My inner critic, internal judgments
- My needs, wants & desires
- My best interests overall
- Anxiety, Fear, Panic, Negative emotions
- Happiness, Joy, Bliss, Positive emotions
- Substitutes for feelings
- Addictive Behaviors, Habits, Patterns
- Relating with others
- Internal Warning Sensors
- Cognitive distortions
- Internal contradictions
Mindfulness to me is an internal guidance system that I need to stay tapped-into if I am to operate my life in my own best interest, which in effect, serves the best interest of others. It was only once I learned to be the "observer" of myself that I was able to comprehend who I am, how I feel about specific experiences, and how to guide myself toward my highest good. It's a learning process. I'm still growing...
The practice of Mindfulness helped me discover who I am. I did not know who I was until I started being mindful, paying attention and focusing on my feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. The more in tune I am with my internal workings, the better I am able to function effectively and keep myself intact in face of emotional harm.
If you are raised in an abusive environment, one that is invalidating to your soul, you may not be connected to the internal guide within your heart. This was me. I was detached from who I was because my feelings and sense of self respect were not validated and fostered in me as a child. It was only after I learned to TRUST my own internal sensations that I was able to operate effectively and to protect myself from boundary violations. Learning to trust myself also helped me to know what I needed and to get my needs met.