How to Find Yourself: 13 Steps To Self-Discovery (Tools & Examples)
Throughout one’s life, the inevitable question of “how do I find myself?” often arises. Identity doubts arise from questioning a variety of places, such as questioning your career path, noticing unfulfillment in your daily life, or particular traumatic events.
Regardless, not knowing your core values and who you are as a person can be a frightening feeling. Additionally, it can lead to stagnating in your career, decreased interpersonal skills, and fear about your future.
However, do not fret yet. While finding yourself takes time and commitment, the reward is immense: being better in tune with yourself, both your thoughts, goals, values, and feelings.
In this article, we will discuss the most commonly used strategies during the self-discovery process and the benefits of finding yourself.
Importance of Finding Yourself & List of 10 Benefits
Living life with confidence in your values and who you are as an individual brings a plethora of benefits. It gives you direction in growth through life, which helps you make successful careers and relationship decisions.
It can also give you a true sense of identity, making you more comfortable with who you are. However, there are so many other immense benefits that come with understanding yourself.
List of 10 Benefits by Finding Yourself
- Gaining a better insight into your feelings, this building your emotional intelligence.
- Understanding the root cause of your bad habits and which basic values the habits are not in line with.
- Clarify the type of person you are: understand both your strengths and weaknesses as well as ways to apply them.
- Access your current situation and understand which career/relationship growth strategies are working and which are not.
- Look at how you spend your time and potentially free up extra time from unproductive activities.
- Create clear, ambitious, but still realistic goals and evaluate how well you achieve them.
- Identify which relationship needs special attention and ways to fix strains in your relationships.
- Become more comfortable with long-term endeavors (self-discovery is a lifelong journey).
- Ensure that the decisions you make are in line with your goals and values.
- Feel more comfortable being the most authentic version of yourself.
How to Find Yourself in 13 Steps
Finding your true self is often challenging. The start of the journey is almost always the most daunting aspect. Nonetheless, having a general outline for how to tackle self-discovery is a useful tool. Below, you will find the 13 steps which are essential to your self-discovery.
1. Try to figure out what’s important to you
Your values are a major part of your personality and aspirations. In fact, most goals and decisions are in some way or form related to your values. Finding which values contribute most to your personality and which people or places matter most to you can help you realize who and what to focus on.
Ask yourself: is there anyone I cannot live without? Is there an activity I love so much I can’t imagine not ever doing it? Which values make me who I am?
2. Start going places by yourself
While there are certainly benefits to family travel, going places solo can help you be more in tune with yourself. You will be focused more on your desires and thoughts, as opposed to primarily placing values on others’ needs in group travel.
If you are a very extroverted person, traveling alone may feel odd at first. The more you travel solo, though, the easier it gets. Plus, it can help you uncover your true identity and boost your self-awareness.
3. Get out and try new things
You may already know lots, but there is no limit to your learning potential. With ample time to explore yourself, you may recognize new qualities and strengths you never knew you possessed. New experiences do not have to be complex or overly sophisticated.
In fact, they can be as simple as trying out a new sport or putting a conscious effort into exploring local boutiques. Through such experiences, you will become acquainted with the unexplored parts of your personality.
4. Evaluate times where you felt comfortable with yourself
Almost everyone can recall times where they felt self-confident, and also times where they felt self-conscious. Think about a time you felt internally strong, such as when you worked hard to achieve a certain position at work or powered through a difficult workout.
It can be a small or seemingly insignificant moment, but even then, explore why you felt so confident and happy. Consider who was around you, which values you fulfilled, and what decisions you made. Then, you can surround yourself with the same people or use similar strategies to feel self-confident more often.
5. Think about your family life
When someone first enters adulthood, there is often confusion with the place they have in their family. If your parents still treat you as a child, or you find yourself getting involved in childish affairs, your family interactions could be holding back your maturity.
To get out of this uncomfortable situation, try to avoid following your impulses. Rationalize with your parents and ensure you are not looked down upon by anyone. Once you act more maturely and independently, your adult identity becomes more prominent.
6. Overcome bad habits
Be honest with yourself by noticing which behaviors of yours are truly detrimental to your long-term success. After that, you can replace those bad behaviors with activities that are in line with your values.
Plus, the habit learning process can help you develop stamina and persistence. Once you overcome a bad habit, you will likely feel more proud and confident – two key emotions to feeling comfortable with yourself.
7. Practice mindfulness
You can overcome the hustle, bustle, and noise of everyday life by practicing mindfulness. The term itself has become somewhat vapid over the past few years, but rest assured, mindfulness still provides immense benefits.
Simply practicing deep breathing or doing a bit of yoga are two practical ways to be more mindful. There are also lots of mindfulness apps you can download if you are still struggling.
8. Silence your critical inner voice
Everyone has that voice in the back of their head which makes them doubt themselves and focus on their weaknesses. You must take control of your thoughts and try looking at both your strengths and weaknesses from a different, more positive perspective.
If you fail, for instance, tell yourself that failure is a part of the journey. Continuous effort is what will help you succeed long term. Do not let negative thoughts fill your mind, as this leads to self-sabotaging behavior. Then, you can chase the goals that matter most to you.
9. Devalue other’s opinions of you
Realize that you do not have to please everyone to be happy. In fact, putting too large of an emphasis on others’ opinions could be causing you to lose your sense of self.
To start a journey toward authenticity, you must primarily focus on your own goals and desires, not other’s. If you struggle with this notion, consider the way you view society: there are clearly people you like, others you dislike, and some who are neutral.
The same should be true with others viewing you, so do not fret about not being loved by everyone.
10. Volunteer (for charity or otherwise)
Try to seek out a new charity you are not familiar with, and work with them to try new things while bettering the community. Volunteering often gives individuals a feeling of gratitude, as they see others less fortunate than them and begin to pay closer attention to things they take for granted.
Plus, donating and volunteering are both ways to align your actions with your values. There is no better feeling than knowing you helped others, too.
11. Try unplugging
Oftentimes, phones and technology distract individuals from their inner feelings and true thoughts. Distancing yourself from technology can help you be more in tune with your emotions and thoughts. Avoid taking your phone out whenever confronted with discomfort.
Instead, refectory on the situation and why the feeling of discomfort arises. Using this strategy, you will learn more about your triggers and get a chance to grow.
12. Notice your uniqueness and what separates you from others
The modern fast-paced lifestyle can sometimes blur our ability to notice our uniqueness. Try dedicating time to recognizing your unique abilities, strengths, and quirks.
You could even try thinking about how you would react in certain situations, and how your decisions would differ from others. Asking your friends or coworkers for some honest input on your unique qualities can help you ensure that others notice your uniqueness.
13. Consider therapy
Self-discovery is not a simple process. Sometimes, the best way to proceed with the journey is through professional help. Therapists are skilled in finding the right questions to ask so you unlock your strength. Having the help of a life coach or therapist often speeds up your self-growth.
Their immense experience with real people similar to you can help you look at yourself from a new perspective. Different types of therapy serve specific purposes on your self-discovery journey.
For instance, interpersonal therapy helps you uncover the role your family played in your decisions and behaviors. Cognitive-behavior therapy teaches you to think and talk about yourself in a more positive light.
How to Find Yourself in Certain Situations
A number of problems can make self-discovery even more difficult than it already is. Your inner emotions and self-doubts can also contribute to the difficulty of this journey. Remember, though, that self-discovery is possible given enough time and effort.
Below are a few ways you can find yourself in specific challenging circumstances:
How to Find Yourself in a Relationship
Reflect back to more positive times in your relationship. What made you initially feel happy, and why are you attracted to your partner? Once you understand what makes you happy, try doing those activities more often with your spouse.
Also, ensure you stand your ground about your beliefs and desires. Even when you fight, ensure that your voice is heard. Try to be reasonable with your spouse, but do not bend your values. If you find your values are in direct conflict with your spouse’s, it may be time to reconsider the relationship.
How to Find Yourself When You are Lost
Feeling lost is common after certain traumatic or negative events, such as a breakup or getting fired from your job. Rekindle your strengths and positive feelings by dedicating time to do what you love more often. Also, consider spending time with those that make you feel the happiest.
While being surrounded by positivity is important, spending time reflecting alone is equally important to your self-discovery. Try to create a list of your unique traits, goals, values, and strengths.
Remind yourself that you are unique each day, and align your tasks with your greatest interests. This clearer sense of passion and individuality can help you find yourself after feeling lost.
How to Find Yourself Again
Some are able to find themselves, but quickly lose their common sense of self because they do not implement certain helpful strategies long-term. If you have already found yourself once, try to look back at the strategies you used to do so.
Are you still using them? If not, were they proven ineffective, or did you just lose dedication? If you found that you simply lost dedication, try reusing your old techniques again. However, if your prior strategies are ineffective, explore new ways to discover yourself through new activities.
How to Find Yourself Online
The web can be a helpful tool in the self-discovery process. You can even find a high-quality therapist from the comfort of your home. Unlike traditional therapy, online therapy is often less invasive, more comfortable, and less time-consuming, as you never leave your home.
Looking back at your past social media posts can also bring back memories of times where you truly knew yourself. Recall what made you fulfilled during those moments (the people? The place? Or something else?).
How to Find Yourself Spiritually
To improve your spiritual self, you must first try a few methods of self-discovery. Begin by looking for the deeper meaning in everyday tasks and analyzing patterns of the world around you. See if the universe (or God) is guiding you in a certain direction based on these patterns.
Try to think positively, and replace negative thoughts/criticism with positive affirmations. In addition, being mindful can also boost your spiritual well-being while also helping you find yourself. Meditating, reflecting, journaling, or simply stopping to smell the flowers are all forms of mindfulness.
How to Find Yourself After Break Up
Finding yourself after a breakup usually involves the goal of returning to your prior more happy self. Before you can become more confident and authentic, acknowledge that you are not any of the negative ideas your spouse projected on you.
All of the names he or she called you are simply reflections of their own insecurities and immaturity. Be compassionate and forgiving to yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes, but simply learn from them without putting yourself down.
Go out and experience the world around you. Try the things your spouse never let you do, and be free! This freedom will lead to self-discovery of your interests, passions, values, and strengths.
How to Find Myself – Best Inspiring Quotes
The best form of inspiration comes from hearing the experiences of those who achieved what we wish to achieve. Some celebrities have successfully embarked on a self-discovery journey. Today, they share their experiences with people interested in doing the same.
Below, you will find a list of quotes from individuals who found themselves after a period of feeling lost.
1. “As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is authenticity.” – Charlie Chaplin
2. ”‘Finding yourself’ is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten-dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. ‘Finding yourself’ is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.” – Emily McDowell
3. ”Finding yourself is a time of harmony because you develop that philosophy or belief system that will carry you throughout the rest of your life. When you love yourself, and who you are, you will savor and enjoy both life’s pain and pleasures.” – James Seaton
4. “There is no greater suffering than constantly measuring yourself coming up short, except perhaps the realization that your suffering is hurting others. But where do we learn these things? We don’t come crying out of the womb because of our birth weight or because we have no money in this brand new world. We learn to measure, and we learn to attach our self-worth to those measurements.” – Vironika Tugaleua
5. “You can reinvent yourself, darling. You are that kind of powerful. But you know where the magic really is? In reinventing your relationship with yourself. You’re that kind of powerful too.” – S.C. Lourie
6. “Love yourself enough to create an environment in your life that is conducive to the nourishment of your personal growth. Allow yourself to let go of the people, thoughts, and situations that poison your well-being. Cultivate a vibrant surrounding and commit yourself to making choices that will help you release the greatest expression of your unique beauty and purpose.” – Steve Maraboli
7. “One was a book I read by Mahatma Gandhi. In it was a passage where he said that religion, the pursuing of the inner journey, should not be separated from the pursuing of the outer and social journey, because we are not isolated beings.” – Satish Kumar
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Find Yourself
How do I begin to find myself?
There are a number of ways you can kickstart your self-discovery process. For instance, begin by imaging the ideal self. Consider what you want to achieve, who you want to be around, what you want to be doing, and so on. Then, try to formulate a plan to achieve your future goals.
Do not be afraid to try new things, as new experiences are key to learning more about yourself. Stop worrying about what others may think of you, too. There is no true benefit to such worrying, but it will make you more self-conscious.
Finally, you can also start by acknowledging your current skills/strengths by creating a unique strength list. Each day, read the list so you can remind yourself you are unique and strong.
How do you get yourself back?
Gaining full control over your desires and emotions can be tough after letting yourself go. However, you can get yourself back by giving up bad habits. Identify the activities that hold you back from achieving your dreams.
Usually, these activities are unproductive and/or do not align with your values. Then, replace these activities with positive behaviors. You must also maintain a positive mindset. Replace any negative thoughts or criticisms with positive affirmations.
What does it mean to find yourself?
Finding yourself involves becoming more in tune with your emotions, thoughts, values, and desires. It is recognizing who you are as a creative person and accepting yourself. However, that does not mean ignoring your weaknesses or stagnating.
In fact, self-discovery often leads to positive changes in behavior. Once you find yourself, you are more likely to seek ways to use your strengths more often.
Plus, you will likely find activities that are more in line with your goals and values than what you do know. In short, find yourself acknowledging your unique qualities while working to be the best authentic version of yourself.
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