Do you ever just wonder, “Who am I?” That sounds so corny, and I’m thinking of that bit in Zoolander where Ben Stiller stares sadly into the puddle and asks that question. However, it is a totally valid thing to wonder from time to time.
We can get so caught up in family drama, friends, career aspirations, fears and anxieties, that we forget who we are. If you find yourself unable to … find yourself… here are a few things that can help you get back on the path to self-discovery and happiness:
No, I don’t mean that you have to start writing a novel, or create a hundred poems to find yourself. Although, If that does seem helpful, I’d say go for it. What I mean is more self awareness of how you feel through daily (or nightly) journaling. Write about what you felt that day, changes in your mood, interesting or noteworthy thoughts. Start sketching patterns throughout the weeks to hone in on what a typical week looks like inside your head. Pay attention to those little thoughts. All of them taken together makes you you. So don’t ignore!
Well, not fail all the time. But you should be trying things out plenty, and with trying very often comes failing. Sometimes not trying is pretty good because you don’t have to worry about failing. But failing is actually how we learn. You touch fire. It burns you. You don’t touch it again. Failure helps us grow, and so many of us (me included!) are all too frightened of it.
Sure inside of you as well. Obviously. But I don’t mean that. I mean literally. Go somewhere quiet! Everything is always so loud, so captivating, so distracting so this so that. Just find a nice tree and sit under it in silence. Fall asleep without your television in the background. Actual silence can be very fertile ground for self discovery. So why do modern humans seek it out so seldomly?!
Speak Your Mind
Don’t be a chameleon. Turns out, what you do becomes who you are. In other words, if you morph into whoever you are talking to you forget what your own opinions are. Sort of like the use it or lose it mentality. The good news is that if you haven’t been speaking your mind with people, you don’t TOTALLY ever lose it. It just becomes scary at first to try and bring your opinions to the surface. But the more you differentiate yourself from the huddled masses, the more you will be able to see yourself as an individual.
Try and think of something that you are good at but could be better at – or even just something you are interested in and want to get better at – and try to really learn the ins and outs of that one thing. Learn a skill. It will help build your self esteem.
Take a Step Back
Look at your life as if from an aerial shot, or like on those old maps of the United States where each state is clearly demarcated by bold black lines. Here, you have “friends”, here “work”, here “significant other”, etc. Are any of those spheres toxic to you? Are you not being true to yourself in any of them? If you aren’t your own best advocate, then who will be? Try to be cold and objective with your well being as the most important goal.
Find Your Soft Side
Have you ever felt really angry, but at the same time oddly satisfied? That’s because strong emotions makes life feel more vital. But anger isn’t healthy, or not sustainably so. However, you can access strong emotions by putting yourself in emotionally powerful circumstances. Consider volunteering at a homeless shelter, or working with at-risk youth. Even just watching more powerful films that bring up the tears will make you feel more alive.
I know a lot of people think that therapy is only for crazy people or those suffering from some awful trauma. But I once was told by my grandmother that there are two types of people. Those in therapy, and those that should be in therapy. I’m not sure about that, however the point is well taken. Therapy is just really helpful. It is a person, unbiased and (hopefully) intelligent, who you trust but who isn’t strictly speaking “in your life” so to speak”. And you just chat. A lot of people have the misconception that therapy is all about the insights that the therapist brings to your attention. But more of it is having a safe place to fiddle around with your thoughts. And usually you come to conclusions just through that sounding board, regardless of if the therapist says a damn word.
I know, I know. Full of corny sounding advice. But think of it this way. Imagine a child who is battered and abused by his father. His father yells at him, never shows any love, or just plain laughs at him. The kid would become timid withdrawn and quiet. But when a parent is kind, nurturing and loving children come into their own. So think of your inner voice as a parent. And try to be a good one!