The Most Important Steps to Finding Yourself
In today's fast-paced world, many people are so caught up in the stresses and pressures of daily life that they forget to take time for themselves. This can make it difficult to know how to find yourself and figure out what truly matters to you. These are the keys to living a happy, fulfilled life, so it is important that you take time out of your busy day to check in with yourself once in a while. Here's what you need to know.
Knowing When the Time Is Right for Some Soul-Searching
Throughout the course of your life, you will undoubtedly have plenty of ups and downs that you'll have to weather, and some will impact you more than others. If you find that you haven't been feeling like yourself lately and no longer enjoy the things you used to, it could be time to take a much-needed break to get back in touch with yourself.
When you are truly ready to make some changes in your life, the idea of going outside your comfort zone will excite you rather than scare you. You'll feel tuned in to what is going on around you and will be prepared to be present in the current moment, not constantly thinking of other things than the task at hand.
Even when you feel as though you are ready for self-exploration, the process can be challenging and emotional. You'll need to be committed to the process to come out the other side in a better place than where you started. Once you make it through, though, you'll be rewarded with a greater understanding of yourself, who you are and what you want out of life.
There are many approaches you can take when asking how to find yourself, so read on for some of the most common tips to help you make it through the process with as much success as possible.
Step 1 - Start by Accepting Yourself for Who You Are
Before you can get to work on discovering who you are, you'll need to quiet that inner voice that tells you that you aren't good enough, smart enough, or strong enough. You won't be able to figure out who you are by trying to be someone you think you should be, so you need to let go of self-criticism and embrace all the traits and qualities that make you unique. This includes things that could be perceived as both positive and negative.
All of your innate qualities come together to make you the person you are today, and the sooner you accept those traits, the easier it will be to uncover your true self. As an added bonus, when you stop constantly judging yourself, you'll likely find that your overall mood improves as well, making it easier than ever to get in touch with your passions and dreams.
So many of us have this idea in our minds that we need to be as close to perfect as possible in order to be loved, to fit into society and to have a happy life. However, this line of thinking is actually counterintuitive. The more pressure you put on yourself to be perfect, the more likely you are to keep judging yourself when you don't measure up to those impossible standards. It is your flaws that make you a unique and relatable person, so don't be shy about embracing them.
Step 2 - Look to Your History
In order to find out who you are today, it is important to think about your past. After all, the what you have experienced in your life has helped to shape the person you have become. To make the most of looking at your history, you need to do more than just give it a cursory glance. You need to truly dig into those experiences so that you can make sense of them and what they mean for your life as a whole.
Starting with your childhood seems the most logical approach, but feel free to start at any point in your life you would like to. Think about the experiences that stand out most in your mind, as these are likely to be among the most important. Positive experiences that have left an impression on you can give you valuable insight into the things that matter most to you.
It is also a good idea to think about which experiences you try to avoid thinking about; experiences you have buried in the back of your mind. Although it may be difficult, or even traumatic, to process those negative emotions, doing so can finally free you from hostile or critical thoughts and negative behavioral patterns. If you understand how a negative experience changed you, you can prevent it from doing further damage to your mental health and overall well-being in the future.
This is especially true of negative experiences in early childhood. During your formative years, you may not yet have developed the emotional intelligence required to effectively deal with traumatic situations, like a parent suffering from addiction or an abusive neighbor. Because children don't necessarily know how to properly process the actions and behaviors of others, they often internalize those negative emotions, leading to critical self-talk throughout their lives. By confronting these past experiences head-on, you can break those ingrained patterns.
As you sift through your life experiences, make note of the ones that bring out the strongest emotions. When you think about why those particular experiences had such an effect on you, you'll be able to analyze your core values and what they mean for your future.
Step 3 - Separate Yourself from Your Past
While it is important to understand how your past has shaped you, you don't want to let it control you. The next step in the process of finding yourself is to separate from your past so that you can move forward freely. Acknowledge all of the influences that have come together to make you who you are today, then resolve to let those influences inform, but not control, your future actions.
When you are able to separate your past from your present and future, you'll be better able to open yourself up to new experiences that may not previously have fit in with your worldview. Obsessing over your past can leave you stuck in a stagnant state, not progressing or growing as a person. By freeing yourself from your past, you can look to the future with an open mind to try new things so that you can discover the activities and experiences that are most fulfilling for you.
Just because you were raised with certain values doesn't mean that they are permanently established in your personality. As you grow up, you may find that your current views don't align with your past values. Trying to force yourself to fit into an outdated worldview can leave you feeling frustrated and depressed. It is perfectly fine if your values change over the course of your life, so feel free to adjust your perspective as needed.
Step 4 - Find Meaning in Your Life
Now that you are ready to move forward with your life with a clean slate, it is time to start thinking about the things that matter most to you. Without a purpose in your life, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling aimless and depressed. Finding your purpose, and discovering who you are as a person, is something that only you can do for yourself.
You'll need to distinguish your goals and dreams from the expectations that other people have for you. While it may seem like a good idea to try to please others, doing this may lead you away from your true purpose. Take the time to quiet other people's voices in your head so that you can more clearly hear your own.
When you first begin the process of finding yourself, it can be easy to focus on activities that merely provide pleasure, as this will give you the chance to enjoy your life a bit more. However, pleasure will only get you so far. You'll also need to find activities that hold a deeper meaning for you. When the things you do each day align with your values, goals and passions, you'll be able to approach each day with purpose and determination to make your dreams come true.
In working towards your goals, you may find that you feel a sense of anxiety at first. After all, when you are going after something that truly matters to you, it means that you have something to lose. Instead of letting that anxiety cripple you, try to look at it instead as extra motivation that keeps you pushing hard and let's you know you are on the right track.
Step 5 - Empower Yourself to Move Forward
Once you know what you want out of your life, you'll likely feel a surge of energy spurring you on to achieve your goals. It is important to harness that energy in a positive way to help you get the things that you want. When you are focused on your goals and desires, it is much more difficult for that negative voice in the back of your head to gain any traction.
Each time you make progress towards one of your goals, congratulate or reward yourself. This will reinforce what you are doing and make it even more likely that you will continue to progress. This can be incredibly empowering, and will help you as you build inner strength and reject negative self-talk.
While those negative thoughts may still creep in from time to time, you'll be much better equipped to stay rational and know that those negative thoughts don't define you and who you are. Then, you can acknowledge the thoughts and move on with your life without letting them have a major impact on your mood or on your determination to achieve your goals.
Step 6 - Share Your Journey with Your Friends
The path to finding yourself can be fraught with peaks and valleys, so it can help to have some trusted friends around to help you make it through. Try to surround yourself with people you can truly count on to be there for you. Those you are closest to are undoubtedly the ones who know you best. They can help you get through dark times and share your joy during happy times.
If you don't currently have any friends like this, it may be time to start rethinking your social circle. As you discover the things that matter to you in finding yourself, you may find yourself drawn to new activities. In participating in these new activities, you are sure to meet others who share the same passions and values. This way, you can start building a circle of like-minded people around you to help you stay on track towards your goals. Going forward, you'll be able to help them just as they have helped you.
As you discover more compassion and generosity towards yourself, it will be even easier to turn that positivity outward. Many people find greater happiness in helping others than in helping themselves, so being there for your friends can have immeasurable benefits for your own psychological well-being.
Find Yourself while Healing after Addiction
Many people these days struggle to find themselves due to overwhelming pressure from employers, family and society as a whole. Often, they turn to drugs or alcohol to make themselves feel better. If you have fallen into this negative pattern, and are struggling to get back to a happier, more fulfilled state, Clean & Sober Recovery can help.
We offer a variety of treatment programs to help you battle a wide range of addictions. Throughout the process, we'll teach you how to find yourself so that you can begin to transform your life into something more meaningful, as opposed to just finding your next fix. Finding your true self is the best thing you can do for your mental health and well-being, so reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help.
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