I was paging through one of my journals the other day, and in this particular journal I write quotes, words, and random thoughts that come into my head. As I paged through a lot of my twirly-whirly drawings and colorful words, I stopped on something that resonated with me that day…The page read, “Rude Awakening: Rude is temporary, Awakening is permanent.”
For some reason on this particular day, the quote really stuck out to me. I do not recall even scribbling it down in the first place, but I pondered the importance of it…
Rude awakenings do not have to be scary, bad, traumatizing, or negative. They probably feel that way in the moment, but it’s all about perspective; how we take that moment and apply it to our lives. Rude is where we learn, it’s where we get stunned, blindsided, or maybe some old karma surfacing. It’s what happens to us or catches up to us that may not feel so great in the moment, but ultimately leads to the awakening portion of the journey. It’s a quick and painful (or shocking) realization that leads us into the next phase of awakening, which can also feel scary or traumatizing, bad or negative. But the ultimate power in awakening is that it can be the beginning to a lifelong journey of discovery. It’s about temporary suffering, which can provide us with some understanding and realization if we allow it to.
Rude awakenings guide us towards a more mindful and purposeful way of living, and we can use our awakening period to recreate and redefine parts of ourselves. We become more aware…We move through the rude, which is the part that no longer serves us once we experience it, and we awaken into some hard and honest self-reflection and change. It is finally realizing something that may have been in front of us all along, but now we are being slapped in the face with it because we can no longer avoid or ignore it…We finally have an epiphany that this short-term (rude) piece helped us to arrive at.
The definition of Rude Awakening: The sudden and unexpected discovery of an unpleasant fact or truth.
It is to discover that maybe, we haven’t really grown or changed much at all in all our years on earth. Or we actually didn’t know it all, or we can’t continue to avoid looking ourselves in the mirror and dealing with our stuff. We can no longer avoid self-awareness and change because of the unpleasantry we discovered in ourselves that has overstayed its welcome. All of this is a positive thing because it’s where we turn our lives around and find motivation. It’s where we realize we do not want to do, be, act certain ways and finally buck up, put our egos aside and deal with it. It’s like hitting rock bottom, but adding one step further, because not only do we realize we are at the end of our rope (rock bottom), but we actually admit it and mindfully do something about it. We make amends with ourselves and others. We awaken and take on the challenges of change, growth, awareness, and self-discovery, because it’s worth it. You are worth it.
People get so caught up in avoiding these parts of themselves instead of allowing our vulnerabilities to be owned and accepted, because vulnerability can feel scary, overwhelming and intimidating. It sucks to come to terms with the ugly parts of us and where it comes from. We mask and avoid with addiction, pride and ego, distractions and excuses, staying busy, and frankly just being stubborn.
And sometimes, the rude awakening may be discovering something about someone else that practically gave you whiplash…It could be specific to a job, relationship, business deal, etc. and discovering someone else dropped the ball. The whiplash may be that we were awakened to the realness and unfortunate truth of that relationship and someone else’s true colors. And frankly, it sucks when that happens because we have no control over it. No one likes to be disappointed by someone they trusted or liked. But, remembering that the rude is temporary and the awakening is permanent, how can we own that situation and move forward? How can we come to realize, even when by surprise, what the relationship really was and how to use it to our advantage instead of wallowing in our disappointment? We have to open our eyes to the whole picture, grieve, be upset, and move forward. The awakening part provides more insight, awareness, and vigilance to use throughout our lives when interacting with others.
There have been a few very impactful rude awakenings with jobs and friendships in my life, as I am sure it has for many of you as well. I can recall being so stunned by how I was bullied in one particular instance in high school. I personalized this instance for a long time and was very confused at my young age, but the rude awakening was so impactful. The rude was how badly I was treated on this particular day, and the awakening how much I value relationships because of it…It was because of that instance that I told myself that I would always try my best to be a good friend to people. I would never purposefully hurt anyone or make anyone feel how I felt that day, and that I would always be there for others. That awakening has had impact throughout my life since then, as I still hold true to that. I still remember the awful and shocking feelings I had that day, and I recall very specifically telling myself that I would always be a warm and positive person for my friends, and I reflected on times when I was not so kind. The rude was realizing those people were not my friends at all, and it was okay to let go of those “friendships”. The awakening was moving past the fear of pushing back. It was owning times where I could have been a better friend. And it was letting go and promising myself I would never allow anyone to feel how I did that day if I could help it.
Rude awakenings are not easy by any means, but they are purposeful, and they make us human. They are unavoidable. They are necessary. Life has more impact and meaning when we are open to these moments…When we transition into the next step of who we are and allow ourselves to shed old relationships that are no longer meaningful.
True self-discovery begins where your comfort zone ends.