“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
It’s rare to meet someone who feels as if they’ve known themselves through every stage of their life. We all, at some point, lose a sense of who we are and what our purpose is. Knowing yourself in a profound way is crucial to living a fulfilled life – but what does it mean to find yourself? Or to love yourself?
Before we try to tackle those questions, let’s look at what might be causing you to feel lost in the first place.
Why Do You Feel Lost?
Losing the sense of who you are can happen over several years, or it can come quickly and without warning. The reason, or the combination of reasons for this loss will be unique to each person, but may include:
You’ve been drifting. If you don’t have an idea of the direction you want your life to take, you end up drifting through your years – never knowing precisely what you want to achieve. It may feel as if you’ve suddenly found yourself in a place you never planned to be, or that you “just happened” to end up where you are.
Changing social circles. Whether it’s a break-up or a divorce, separation from a long-established connection will cause anyone to feel lost and out of place. There’s no denying that we are social beings – even the most introverted among us need genuine connection and company! We often build our sense of self around others and their opinions and will need to reestablish it completely after a separation.
Unknown purpose. Finding meaning in what you do is really important for establishing and maintaining your sense of self. Without a bigger picture to think about, it’s very difficult to feel as if you’re in the right place.
Ignoring your passions. When you shape your life to fit what you think it should be, instead of what you want it to be, you lose momentum and drive. Failing to prioritize your passions is one of the quickest ways to lose your sense of self.
Mental overload. Hand-in-hand with ignoring your passions, overworking your mental state and attempting to manage too much on a day-to-day basis can leave you feeling drained and lost.
Finding yourself means unlocking confidence in your natural abilities, your potential, your self-worth, and your independence.
It means knowing what makes you deeply happy and not just “happy enough”. By developing reflective habits, and taking the time to get to know yourself, you can find yourself in the truest sense of the phrase.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to finding yourself, but the overall process can be put into three general steps which will give you direction in your journey.
The best way you can begin to find yourself is to take the time to sit with your thoughts for a while. Long-time seminar leader and personal coach Chalmers Brothers says that “Observing yourself is the necessary starting point for any real change.”
Here are some questions you can ponder:
- What makes you excited or gives you drive?
- What areas of your life need healing?
- What have you done that you are proud of?
- What have you done that disappointed you?
- What do you like about yourself?
- When do you feel most confident?
You can write down your answers in a journal, or even record yourself saying them out loud. Don’t feel any pressure to keep your answers short. The point is to re-learn as much about yourself as possible. This enables you to know where you’re coming when you start building up your sense of self again.
2. Get Specific
Simply setting an intention to find yourself is a little vague. When you say this, what do you actually mean?
Are you looking for your purpose?
Do you want to reestablish independence after a separation?
Have you lost creative inspiration?
It’s important to know the root of your desire to find yourself so that you can know when you’re making progress. After some reflection, you will have a good idea of where you currently are. Now you can get practical and figure out how the person you want to be differs from who you are right now.
3. Value Valuable Relationships
It is good to have people in your life that you can trust to hold you accountable and to give you constructive criticism when you ask for it. Assess the relationships in your life and see who you feel most safe around. Ask them what strengths they think you should develop further. If you are in the mental space for it, ask them what weaknesses they think you could work on.
Remember, asking for guidance is not the same thing as basing your sense of self on others’ opinions. Only ask for feedback from people whose opinions matter to you, and those who have your best interests at heart. You can’t find yourself through others, but you can use an outsider’s perspective to gain a sense of direction.
If you don’t have anyone trustworthy in your life and are looking for some guidance, I would love to help you on your journey of self-discovery, without judgment or interruptions. Contact me, Priya, and together we can find you.