Trying to find yourself has gotten a mixed reputation. It can be a convenient excuse when you want to break up with someone without mentioning the real reasons. It can also be a diversion from accepting responsibilities, like doing your share of household chores or getting a job.
On the other hand, figuring out who you are and what you need to do in order to have a fulfilling life could be the most important and satisfying questions you’ll ever answer.
If you’re sincere about self-discovery, try these suggestions to guide you in your search.
What to Look For:
1. Clarify your values. Knowing your values helps you to make sound decisions and prioritize your activities. Consider how your values relate to your daily life. Look for opportunities to live in agreement with them. Summarize your philosophy into a personal values statement you can refer to when needed.
2. Understand your strengths. Do you know where your talents lie and what you feel passionate about? You’ll accomplish greater things with less stress when you choose a path that lets you leverage your main assets.
3. Build support. Finding yourself is tough work. You’ll need a sturdy network of family, friends, and colleagues you can rely on for advice and support. Being generous about sharing your resources with others increases the likelihood that they’ll want to do the same for you.
4. Create flow states. What activities boost your energy levels and make you lose track of time? Whether you love playing the piano or solving physics equations, chances are these flow states will suggest the fields in which you can excel.
5. Set goals. Having a destination in mind guides your steps and keeps you on track. Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years?
Where to Look:
1. Listen to yourself. Finding yourself is about living authentically. Pay attention to what your mind and body are telling you. Notice when you feel engaged and when you feel lost. Is there a pattern behind these situations?
2. Accept your feelings. Acknowledge your emotions, even when they cause you discomfort. Trying to suppress the truth will backfire and produce more stress. When you accept your anger or sorrow, you can start thinking about positive options for dealing with it.
3. Ask your friends. While you’re cultivating self-knowledge, you may benefit from listening to how others view you. Their feedback may point out qualities and habits that you overlook.
4. Keep a journal. Writing about your journey encourages you to learn and grow. Recording your activities and insights regularly can help you to find solutions to personal challenges and build your self-esteem.
5. Read literature. Observing how characters in movies and novels behave may teach you how to handle similar events in your own life. You may find yourself viewing a long-standing conflict in a new light or experimenting with a different way of responding.
6. Welcome new experiences. Breaking out of your comfort zone is bound to reveal surprising facets of your personality. Taking an exotic vacation or leading a pilot project at work may inspire you to plan a bigger transformation.
7. Practice your faith. For many adults, spiritual beliefs play an essential role in defining themselves and their goals. If your faith is central to your life, study the scriptures in your tradition, talk with other members of your community, and put your beliefs into action.
Finding yourself is an ongoing process that lasts a lifetime. Being willing to discover the truth about yourself.
Aligning your activities with your values and goals will help you to lead a more rewarding and successful life.