How to Find Yourself
Why is it Important to Find Yourself?
If you’re feeling like life is endurance and there “just has to be more”, than chances are you’ve lost your way somewhere along the journey. The greatest and most rewarding adventure of our lives is discovering who we really are. When we find ourselves on the deepest level it profoundly changes how we experience life.
Why is it that so many go through life not knowing their true purpose and inner selves? Most people go from cradle to grave either listening to an awful inner critic or they buy into other people’s ideas of what they are supposed to be or should be doing. They begin to feel like they simply exist but are not truly living. Truth is, they’re not.
Overloaded by messages from family, friends, and the media of how we are supposed to live we often measure ourselves by someone else’s standards. We start living to meet outside expectations and lose ourselves in the process. It leaves us feeling like something is just missing but we aren’t sure what.
How life differs when you find yourself:
- You no longer do things that are against your values just because others expect you to; as a result, you will no longer feel remorse because the decisions you make are true to your soul. This doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes along the way, but you’ll be more accepting and forgiving of yourself when you do.
- You will gain confidence and have more self-respect, you’ll be living in line with how you are designed to; you’ll feel better; knowing your strengths and weaknesses in an honest and accurate measure will boost your esteem and happiness. You will finally feel optimistic and be ready to forward, no matter how stuck you felt.
- You’ll procrastinate less and have more drive because you are finally doing what you want; you won’t give up so readily. It’s not considered work when you love what you’re doing and when you live authentically, it will ignite your passion and give you the energy and enthusiasm you need to press on through the tough times.
- Your relationships will improve because you are not acting how others want; you are being you! To be the best version of ourselves, the best spouse, parent, sibling, co-worker, etc., we must first know who we are and what we stand for. Some may resist this new version of you but others will be more attracted to you. In the end, you will be happier because like attracts like and you will be with the right people.
Here’s how to start the process of finding yourself:
This is a process of shedding an old “skin” that no longer serves you and revealing your authentic self.
- Understand who you are and how you got here:
To find out who we are and why we act the way we do, we have to understand our story and make sense of our past. Look back on your life and think about what major life events stand out the most to you, both positive and negative. What are your accomplishments? Your mistakes? What are you most proud of? What do you regret? What important life lessons have you learned along the way?
Research has shown that it isn’t just the things that happened to us that define who we become, but it is the meaning that we have attached to those events. The more we form a “coherent narrative” of our lives, the better able we are to make mindful, conscious decisions in our present that represent our true selves. When we try to cover up or hide
from our past experiences, we can feel lost and like we don’t know ourselves. We may take actions automatically without asking why (Dr. Daniel Siegel).
Be honest with yourself that you got off track, accept it, forgive yourself, and then you can begin to move forward. Believe that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
- Distinguish who you want to be vs. who you believe you should be.
Whose life are you living? Your parents? Siblings? Spouse? You must begin to see yourself as an independent individual. Uncover what your values are and develop your unique sense of purpose. You can do this by exploring what is truly important to you and what principles you believe most in. Think about what you really want. Knowing what we want is fundamental to finding ourselves. Learn how to set goals for yourself are that are aligned with what you truly want to accomplish.
There’s a tendency in life to focus on the negative and make decisions based on self-limiting beliefs. These are thoughts that come from our inner critic and more often than not, ones that we are not even aware of. They are the destructive thoughts that tell us “we can’t”, “we’re not good enough” or “we don’t deserve”. To discover and achieve what we want in life, we must lose these negative thoughts and replace them with positive and empowering ones. Changing our outlook in this way makes puts us more in touch with who we are and empowers us to act. Finding yourself and defining what you want is great, but you are now challenged with acting. You are now the author of your narrative and responsible for your choices. Accept that you, not circumstance, have the most effect on creating your life.
- Figure out what you are great at (and not so great at).
Your strengths will show you who you are. If you don’t know what your talents are, ask others for feedback. Remember to weight their feedback as an opinion and you alone are the final judge, but the feedback you receive will help you focus on where you shine.
A big part of finding yourself is figuring out what your true purpose in life is. Based on your strengths, find what you are most passionate about. Your passions that do not utilize your strengths are not your purpose. Pursuing them will likely leave you feeling drained and defeated. For example: if you’re passionate about music but have zero skill, enjoy it as a hobby, not a career change. However, if your passionate about helping people and your strength is making them feel comfortable, you’re on to something. Follow it!
- Set a goal that is bigger than you.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Generosity can enhance one’s sense of purpose, giving our lives more value and meaning. Studies even show that people get more joy from giving than from getting. People are generally happier when they create goals that go beyond themselves. Dream big, but start small. Wanting to change the world is noble, but it starts by changing one person at a time, beginning with you.
- Evaluate your relationships.
In most cases, we have choices of whom we spend our time with. Seek out people who make you happy, support you in pursuing your dreams and inspire you to be the best version of you. Have a core group of people who you consider true allies and friends. Creating this network is a key component in finding ourselves, because who we choose to surround ourselves with often mirrors who we are and has a profound effect on how we relate in the world.
Think of people you admire and take note of the qualities you respect about them. Do the same for people who turn you off. Try and lean into those attributes that you appreciate, even if you have to “fake it until you make it”. You will grow and your true self will surface gradually as “shed” those old versions of you.
You will soon realize that you cannot truly know anyone else until you know yourself, and the people around you need to know the real you too!
How a Life Coach Can Help
A life coach is one of the best resources for those who feel lost. A coach is trained to help you to manifest what you want in your life, identify what is holding you back and help you develop useful strategies for self-improvement.
They will offer you an unbiased and fresh perspective by asking important questions aimed at helping you find your answers. They will collaborate with you to support you through transition, keep you motivated and hold you accountable while providing tools to help you grow and stay true to your self.