It’s Time to Find Yourself: Self Discovery and The Path to Self-Awareness
Remember when we used to carry maps in our glove compartments or stop someone walking down the street to ask for directions? Perhaps we’re aging ourselves here and you’ve got no idea what we’re talking about, but what we do know is that it’s almost impossible to get “lost” anymore. Not when we can quickly look up Google Maps on our smartphones to pinpoint where we are and where we need to turn next.
When it comes to life, however, it’s not so simple. We can easily get lost in our work or in our intimate and personal relationships with lovers, parents, or our kids. Think about the last time you stopped and reflectively asked yourself what you wanted out of something, instead of moving in auto-pilot and instinctively doing what others ask of us. If your mind’s gone blank here, don’t worry. We know exactly how you feel.
Oftentimes when we “lose ourselves,” it may be more that we just never possessed a real self-awareness of ourselves. Instead, we’ve tuned into what others, like parents, dictated to us as our beliefs, which may then translate into how we act, think, and interact with others as adults. This often ends in our becoming consumed in either our children, partners, or work and we never really know - or we forget - what’s driving us. What do we like to do? What is fun for us? It’s time to get to know yourself.
This month, we’ve got a little homework for you. Trust us, though, you’re going to want to delve into this little exercise because it might just set you up to start listening to your own thoughts and possibly choose a life path that’s more geared to what you want out of it. It’s time to get to know yourself.
Note: If you’d like to discover the entire path to self-discovery, learn more about Amanda’s Authentically You virtual course here.
Here’s what to do. Open a blank document or grab a nearby notebook and pen.
We want you to approach this with this in mind: Imagine all was right in the world, everything as it should be, and there were no consequences to the things you wrote down. You are answering these questions as only you depend on the answers. Your kid doesn't care, your partner doesn't care, your parents don't care.
So essentially remove yourself from reality to answer these questions.
What makes me happy?
What makes me sad or unhappy?
What were my favourite things to do as a child?
What did I think adulthood would be like when I was a child?
What do I value most?
What are my priorities?
What do I believe in?
What are my needs for a happy and fulfilling life?
What do I want more of or less of?
Once you’ve written down the answers to these questions or given yourself some time to write whatever comes to mind, go back and reflect on your thoughts and answers. Did you say family is a value but you spend more time working than with them? Do you do any of the things that made you happy when you were younger - why not? Is your life anything like you thought it would be? How did you get where you are now? Was it based on your own decisions or did someone or some people guide you? We can get stuck in our core beliefs - and think they are our own (and therefore our own wants and desires) however, they are just passed down junk from others - like a pair of old hand-me-down jeans one size too small and with rips and holes. Sure, technically they are still functional, but they ain't serving anybody.
We know these questions can be difficult to answer, especially if you’ve had a difficult childhood or suffered trauma or abuse. It can also be a challenge for those who’ve never been self-aware, self-reflected, or tried to discover a life that they truly created themselves.
This is only a start, but it’s never too late to start down a different path to self discovery. Try going back to do the things you liked doing as a child. Seriously, try them now. Bring out those old Barbies you saved because they meant so much to you as a child and hold them in your hands again. How do you feel?
We hope you can use this blog post to help ignite the motivation you need to discover yourself and your own wants and needs, including what you want out of life and what you don’t. If you have any questions, don’t be shy to reach out for a few tips from our end. We’d love to hear how we can help.
Amanda & Darrell Hammond are Registered Psychotherapists serving the Kingston, Amherstview and Napanee areas. They help you work through issues like anxiety, addiction, self-esteem, mental health, codependency, relationships. All of which, require self-discovery and exploration.