When you know yourself, you are empowered. When you accept yourself, you are invincible– Tina Lifford

Self-discovery is a life-long journey and starts with asking ourselves the right questions. We can relieve ourselves of so much anxiety and unhappiness when we focus on doing things in life that truly align with our personal value. However, to become aware of these values and in order to subsequently set compatible goals, we may first need to ask ourselves who we are at our core. What is it that drives and inspires us? On the other hand, it is also crucial to ask yourself about what drains your energy. True self-discovery encompasses all areas of life: material, psychological, social and for some, spiritual.

In contemporary times, self-discovery is often only equated with getting one’s dream job or working to one’s full potential; while that does hold true, to live a life that is fulfilling over time requires us to meet ourselves at a deeper level. Our journey of self-discovery however, requires real effort at the same time. Introspection must along the way turn into action; otherwise, we would not be able to grow as people; so hours of self-reflection can end up bearing no fruit. This is much more likely to be done when we have a good foundation to base our actions upon. These ideas here in this article aim to help you lay out the map of your growth, the rest lies in action! Let’s get started with your self-discovery journey:


1.     Recognise Your Blessings And Strengths

With social media and the elaborate ideas of success it often insinuates, a lot of young people make the mistake of dreaming without being in touch with reality. During this process, they refuse to acknowledge the goodness in their own lives and keep chasing a mirage of success.

This might be in the form of fame, recognition, or earning a particular amount of money, no self-discovery journey can begin without one wholeheartedly accepting oneself and practicing gratitude for all one has. These gifts and strengths should not be taken for granted and our future successes should be based on them.

2.     Set The Right Intentions

Why do you want to discover yourself? A lot of us often confuse self-care with impressing other people rather than understanding the importance of taking care of one’s own self and living the life we long for. Hence, it is crucial that before we set out on this journey, our intentions and reasons for changing our lives are clear.

Whether it be a weight loss journey, quitting a job to pursue something different, advance performance in another aspect of life, all should be done once they align with us at an authentic level and not for any external validation. If our intentions are not in the right place, we might not be able to honestly self-reflect which is a pre-requisite to self-discovery.

3.     Journal

Journaling is one great form of self-reflection, as often it is through writing that we discover what we want. Writing reveals inner hidden parts of us. Journaling about our dreams, desires, and what we want to work on in life can be a great way to make way for action. It clears the mind and relieves extra baggage as through writing we can express emotions and thoughts that we might not be able to communicate otherwise.

Research shows that there is a direct correlation between consistent journaling and self-discovery. Not only does journaling make you aware of your life, strengths, and weaknesses but also helps refresh your perspective in life as writing allows deep contemplation.   

4.     Read And Learn

As the famous saying goes that knowledge is never free, it requires attention. Hence, self-realization and actualisation which is the highest forms of knowledge does not come to you randomly. It requires effort and constant introspection. This is not where it ends, however. Self-discovery demands us to push ourselves to learn about the world and other peoples’ perspectives as we look inward.

Reading and learning about the world and people is essential for a person who is a journey of getting to know themselves better. We are all connected through the web of humanity and without reading about the stories of others and empathizing with them, we can not reach an understanding of ourselves.

5.     Focus On What You Do

What you focus on grows. Always being anxious and wanting to do the next big thing you see people around you are doing often drains us and robs us of the ability to do well at anything. Jack of all trades, master of none! Hence, being in the present moment and doing whatever task you have at hand with all your attention and being earnest will reveal your best potential and help you streamline what you want to do in life.

Discipline is an integral part of any creative pursuit in life, so even if you seek to become the best artist or writer, some sort of discipline and consistency in your life is essential; otherwise, even the brightest of talents go to waste. Concentration is key, do what you are doing with focus. Water your grass!

6.     Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

This a tricky one. Most of us who are used to being in our own shells and enjoy our solitude often wonder what it would mean to begin to step out of your comfort zone. Give a speech? Make a new friend? Join a theatre company? Getting out of your comfort zone does not have to mean doing something grand and outrageous each time. Rather, at its core, it means looking at life through the lens of curiosity instead of fear. Hence, in simple words when our curiosity for life and learning precedes our fears, we are able to live a fearless and more creative life overall.

Hence, reach out for what makes you curious, delve in, look deeper. Soon enough, with consistent practice, you will see fear taking a backseat and you beginning to priortise knowing and learning over always being fearful of making mistakes and making a fool out of yourself. It might stop occurring to you as often. This will push you to discover your interests in life and make you realise what you are willing to push your boundaries for.

7.     Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously

Humour is often considered a high form of wisdom as it accounts for our individual insignificance in life while we try to extract joy out of it. Do not associate your entire identity with your job or your accomplishments as person. You are not defined by anything, you as a person are always learning and always in-flux. You can always work on your weaknesses and become better. Hence, what is all the fuss about?

If you enter your self-discovery journey with tense shoulders and a sweat on your brow, you will tire out very soon as every little thing and every little criticism from another person will cling to the insides of our brain. We would not know how to distill people’s opinions from our reality; neither will we be able to know what to react to and what not to react to.

8.     Keep An Eye Out For What Makes You Jealous

There is a very thin plane between jealousy and being inspired. If we learn to take our jealousy and decipher what it is telling us about our desires in life, we become invincible. Jealousy and comparison make us feel small and loathe ourselves. We are often filled with shame. However, the qualities in other people that makes us jealous are in reality qualities that we want to imbibe.

Everyone’s life is unique, and everyone’s journey distinct and this is why any time you feel a painful tug at your heart when you see someone your age or someone at your workplace living your dreams, remind yourself that “jealousy” is a choice. It is your ego that tells you to be jealous and put yourself down and your higher self on the other hand would tell you to let go and instead be inspired. Let go. Holding on is only the whisper of the ego.

9.     Adopt An Abundance Mindset

Research shows that to lead a life that is fulfilling and makes you feel like you are the right place in life is when you stop looking at life through scarcity mindset and instead adopt the abundance mindset. These terms are self-explanatory. Abundance mindset is the mental understanding that there is enough happiness and source of sustenance in the world for everyone and you will find yours.

Anyone else’s happiness or success in life does not have to do anything with yours. In a more political context, scarcity can also allude to poverty and class struggle which cannot be alleviated simply by a mindset shift but rather requires systemic change. The two must not be confused.

10. Do Not Overshare

Often when we reach deep realisations or something inside of us kindles a fire, we have an uncontrollable urge to share that feeling with someone. We want to tell someone all our plans and goals in life. This is a rather immature approach to life. We must not talk about things more than actually doing them and putting in the effort. In addition to this, sometimes, people around us can be unconsciously discouraging.

We live in a society based on fear and scarcity mindset. Most people do not believe in taking risks and are petrified of failure or appearing as a failure in front of people. Hence, they might project the same feelings on to you making it difficult for you to ever take a leap of faith. Your inner gut should always mean more to you than other peoples’ half-baked opinions.

11.Start Small

A famous phrase goes, that anyone who does not do anything in the wish to do something big has made the biggest mistake in life. If you live life trying to chase greatness, success, recognition, it is very likely that you would never find them as these attributes are by-products of hard work in life. The goal in life should be working and finding solace in that, the moment we start associating and measuring our input with the outcomes, we are in a deep mess, and will very soon be discouraged as it is highly possible that we may fail at most things when we are starting out.

12. Accept And Learn How To Fail Graciously

Failure is a part of life. No one is failure, anyone who fails is someone who just quit before time. Life always brings fruition to people in some form or the other if one sticks to something and works for it till the end. Our failures do not define us but our choice to keep going on and exhibiting resilience does. Before, we get on to our journeys of self-discovery and self-development, we must first understand our relationship with failure and how seriously we take it.

Do we learn from it, or do we cling to it? Do we make it our entire personality and hold on to embarrassment and shame or we maturely treat it as just a part of life and continue to do our work with integrity and self-respect? These are some key questions we can ask ourselves if we want to practice how to fail graciously and how to let go. Ego is the enemy, when we let go of our ego, we let go of our need to possess and overpower, we are free to just live!

Final Word

In conclusion, self-discovery is not always a glamourous journey but requires us to face our demons, accept our flaws but at the same time making the effort to work on them with the right intention. Self-discovery comes with the responsibility of being happy for others and feeling inspired by their success rather than be undermined and feeling jealous.

The most common form of despair is not being yourself– Soren Kierkegaard


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