Discovering who we are is the greatest and most important adventure in our lives. Many of us don’t know or listen to our inner critics, and we end up walking around with all kinds of wrong ideas about ourselves.
Incorrectly, we mistakenly view self-understanding and self-indulgence as self-indulgence. We continue to live our lives without ever asking the most important question: Who am I? Mary Oliver said, “What is it that you want to do with your wild and precious life?”
Although it may seem like a self-centered goal, it is in fact a selfless process that underlies everything we do. To be the most useful person in the world, best parent, partner or friend, we must first understand who we are and what we value.
Every person can benefit from this personal journey. It involves shedding layers of unnecessary baggage and limiting beliefs that don’t serve us or reflect our true selves.
It also requires a lot of building up. Recognizing who we are and passionately pursuing our unique destiny, however it may look, is a huge act. It is about recognizing your personal power and being open to learning from our experiences.
This is not something to avoid or fear, nor should we be berating ourselves. Instead, it’s something to explore with the same curiosity and compassion that we would show to a new friend. The following guide will highlight seven steps that can be used to make this an adventure.
How To Discover Your True Self?
1. Be Brave And Explore Your Past
Knowing your own story is essential to understanding who you are and why you behave the way that we do. It is important to be brave and open to exploring our past in order to understand ourselves and become the person we desire to be.
Research shows that it’s not just what happened that defines who we are, but also how we make sense of what has happened. Our actions today are influenced by unresolved traumas in our past. Research has shown that our actions today are influenced by past traumas.
Many of our early experiences in life have a significant impact on how we define ourselves and defend ourselves. They can change our behavior and shape us in ways we don’t even realize.
One example is if we were raised by a strict parent, our tendency to be more cautious. You may feel more defensive or reticent to take on new challenges because you fear being ridiculed.
This uncertainty can lead to a loss of identity and can limit our ability to do other things. It is important to recognize the root cause of this behavior in order to break it. It is important to be open-minded and willing to examine the root cause of self-limiting and self-destructive tendencies.
2. Be Independent
Differentiation is the act of attempting to feel independent. To find our true purpose and fulfill our destiny, we need to be able to distinguish from negative interpersonal, familial, and societal influences.
Dr. Firestone said, “To live a free life, one must be free from any negative imprinting and remain open to vulnerability.” He has identified four key steps to differentiation after working with hundreds of people who struggle with this exact process.
- Step 1: Get rid of negative internalized thoughts, i.e. critical and hostile attitudes towards self and others.
- Step 2: Disconnect from any negative traits that were inherited from your parents.
- Step 3: As an adaptation to the painful events of childhood, you must relinquish defensive patterns.
- Step 4: Create your own values, ideals and beliefs, rather than accepting the ones you have grown up with.
3. Discover You Own Sense Of Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl once said that “Life is not made unbearable by circumstance, but only lack of meaning or purpose.” Frankl was forced to live in Nazi concentration camps and survived.
Frankl’s survival was dependent in many ways on his sense of meaning. To find our purpose, we all need to discover our own sense of meaning. This requires us to separate our point of view and other people’s expectations.
This means asking yourself what your values are and what is most important to you, and then sticking with the principles that matter to you.
Research shows that people who seek meaning and purpose are happier than those who pursue pleasure. Your happiness and self-worth are tied to your quest for meaning.
4. Understand What You Want
Life is full of negative thoughts. We are more likely to dwell on the negative and make excuses about our surroundings and circumstances than we are to focus on positive goals, strategies, and solutions. We focus too much on what we don’t have, rather than what we do.
Understanding what we want is key to our personal growth. Recognizing what we want and need helps us to understand who and what is important to us.
Although this may seem simple, most people are able to defend themselves against their feelings of wanting. Because we don’t want anyone to hurt us, we may feel cautious.
Desiring makes us feel alive, and therefore vulnerable to the world. To truly live is to be able to lose. Anxiety and deep sadness can accompany feelings of joy and fulfillment.
Because it is a departure from the past, getting what we want can make us feel uncomfortable. This can cause us to feel guilty, or even create a sea of self-critical thoughts. It is impossible to be successful, fall in love, or feel relaxed.
To truly discover what we desire in life, it is necessary to silence our inner critics and let go of all the defenses. You can use this exercise to help you shift your thinking from negative thoughts like “I don’t want that or that” to positive thoughts such as “I don’t want that or that.”
You don’t hear me say it if we are fighting with our partner. Instead of thinking about and communicating on a level that conveys our goal, or even communicating it to them, we can think about and communicate with each other.
This allows us to be more in touch with our true selves. This allows us to get down to our most basic needs without adding unnecessary defenses that distract us from our true values and core beliefs.
5. Take Control Of Your Life
We can take control of our lives when we know what we want. We no longer need to spiral into negative thinking and tell ourselves all the problems in the world or the reasons why we don’t get what we want.
Instead, we accept ourselves as an active player in our own destiny. It is crucial to harness our individual power in order to find and become ourselves.
Dr. Firestone stated that personal power is built on the strength, confidence and competence individuals acquire over time. It is self-assertion and a healthy, natural striving for love and satisfaction in one’s interpersonal life.
Knowing your personal power means that you are aware of the impact we have on your life. The world we live in is our creation. A better world requires us to change our outlook, feel empowered and refuse to be victimized.
6. Silence Your Inner Critic
To become an adult, one must change the way we parent ourselves. This can be done by criticizing and soothing ourselves. Dr. Firestone suggests that we stop listening and judging our inner critics.
This can lead to a self-destructive thought process that includes a judgmental attitude telling us that we aren’t good enough or don’t deserve the things we want, or a soothing-seeming approach telling us that we don’t have to do anything or that we should be controlled or taken care of.
Recognizing and confronting this inner enemy allows us to not be childish or a parent in our lives, but to discover our true selves and our strengths and abilities.
Dr. Donna Rockwell, a mindfulness expert, points out that to create a “state o u p e t e s -that makes all else possible -that gives us the “go forit!” spirit we desire – it is necessary to disarm the doubting mind.
7. Practice Compassion
Mahatma Gandhi once stated that “The best way for you to find yourself” is to give to others. This can help us feel more fulfilled and have more meaning in our lives. Research shows that giving is more joyful than getting.
It’s important to be generous as a mental health principle, and to have a compassionate attitude towards others if we want to find our path in life. People tend to be happier when they set goals beyond their own.
They show compassion and generosity and show concern for others. Try to have a “COAL” attitude as you go about your day. This means that you are open-minded, curious, accepting, loving and open to others and to your own personal journey.
8. Learn The Value Of Friendship
Although we don’t choose the family we were born into, many people assume this family is what defines us. Although we are not able to choose where our time is spent as children, we have the ability to make choices throughout our lives about who and what we follow.
We have the option to choose our family as adults. You can find people who make you happy, support your passions and give you the energy to live your life.
While this family may include our relatives, it is a group we have chosen to be with, and a core group who we consider friends and true allies. This is an important component of finding yourself.
The people we surround ourselves with can have a profound impact on how we relate to others. A support network that believes in you can help us achieve our goals and develop on a personal basis.