The hustle and bustle of everyday life can feel overwhelming, and in some cases, you may even feel like you’ve lost sense of who you are. Whether you’re a young adult or in your golden years, it’s never too late to find yourself.
The trouble is that finding yourself can oftentimes be trickier than you may think. Read on for nine methods to help you find yourself, no matter what stage of life you’re in.
1. Take a Deep Look Within
Finding yourself can start with taking a deep look within and examining who you are as a person. In a lot of circumstances, it’s easy to lose track of who we are, especially when we constantly surround ourselves with charismatic individuals or those who we love and appreciate.
But only by looking within and examining what we want can we truly find ourselves, no matter our age. Therefore, to find yourself and better understand your unique needs and wants, you can try:
- Writing down your innermost thoughts and feelings in a journal. You don’t have to share this journal or its writings with anyone, even your loved ones.
- Examine your core values and what you want from your daily life. This is particularly important if you are having a hard time, for one reason or another. For instance, identifying your core values can help you decide about relationships, employment, and hobbies.
- Consider the traits, hobbies, and interests you may have or would like to cultivate to fulfill your authentic self better. Again, this can be harder than you think, depending on your culture and the people you surround yourself with. It may take some time to “rediscover” things you may have enjoyed when you were younger.
Taking a deep look within is the only way to start finding your true self once more. It’s the first step on a path to self-discovery and self-worth. It can even help improve your well-being at home, in the workplace, and elsewhere.
2. Take a Social Media Break
Social media is a useful tool, but it can take over our social lives and ruin our self-confidence. That’s because social media platforms can inspire comparison — we may look at other people’s photos and feel bad that we don’t lead similar lives.
Because of this, it’s good to know when to unplug and turn off social media from time to time. In fact, turning off social media can be an important step in rediscovering yourself and figuring out what you want out of life, rather than what others expect from you.
Without social media, you might compare yourself to your friends and peers less often. This can open up time and energy for you to determine what you really want to do, what projects you want to undertake, and how you want to develop yourself in the years to come. Plus, quitting social media may come with many other mental health benefits.
3. Reflect on Your Life Experiences
If you’re still struggling to find or understand yourself, reflect on your most critical life experiences.
Sit quietly for a while and take a proverbial walk down memory lane. Revisit your most powerful memories and consider how those experiences may have shaped your personality, interests, and behavior.
This is similar to what many therapists may have you do from time to time, but it is totally self-guided and can proceed at a pace that is comfortable for you. Regardless, reflecting on your life experiences can help you understand where you came from so you can more accurately project where you want to go.
4. Spend More Time Exploring Your Passions
Most of us are defined by two key things: our relationships and our passions. If you want to find and understand yourself, spend more time exploring your passions daily, as time allows.
For example, after work, put a little more time into your hobby or try to join hobby groups on the weekends so you can develop your interests. When you explore your passions, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to get out of life.
Listen to your inner voice and affirmations. Not only can this help you overcome your insecurities or negative thoughts, but as you explore your passions, you can gain greater control over your life, self-awareness, and inner peace.
5. Consider Your Relationships
As we touched on above, our relationships are also key elements of our identities. Therefore, you may need to consider your relationships and how they affect your life to understand yourself better.
For example, examine your friendships, acquaintanceships, and romantic relationships. Identify patterns in those relationships, especially if they have already come and gone. By doing this, you may be able to understand better things like your attachment style, your romantic interests, and any potentially toxic behaviors you could improve upon.
In many ways, we are defined by our relationships with other people and how we respond to them. Thus, you can find yourself in some part by looking at how you respond to relationships and the kinds of relationships you cultivate, consciously or otherwise, in your everyday life.
6. Make a List of Things You Want To Do and See
It may help to make a long, detailed list of all the things you want to do and see. Make sure to use definable goals in order to better understand when you’ve reached them. For example, “see the world” might be more concretely defined as “visit Europe.”
In any case, when you make a list of the things you want to do and see, you’ll have immediate proof of your interests and ambitions, which can give you a major boost of self-confidence.
7. Understand the Difference Between Support and Opinions
People may offer their opinions from time to time, particularly if you ask for advice regarding your life’s directions or your future choices. Opinions are fine, but you need to know how to differentiate between opinions and true support.
True support from your friends, family members, other loved ones, and significant other can support and lift you up, regardless of what you want to do or how you want to do it. In contrast, opinions might be offered with the goal of changing your own mind or inspiring you to follow the right path for someone else.
For example, a parent might recommend that their child go to college and follow in their footsteps by choosing the same work industry or major. That’s an opinion, not support. By differentiating between opinions and support, you’ll be able to explore your own interests and journey through life without feeling pressured to make choices for other people.
8. Take More Time for Solo Activities
Another great method to find yourself is to do more solo activities. Get comfortable with spending time by yourself. Take a solo hike, go to the movies by yourself, and spend some time exploring cities so that you can go where your heart desires without having to think about the needs and opinions of other people.
At first, this might seem a little strange. Many of us are socialized always to do things with others and treat alone time as undesirable. But for many of us, including introverts, solo activities are chances to reconnect with our deepest desires and innermost selves.
9. Think of Life as a Journey
Lastly, try to think of life as a journey rather than a destination. You’ll change your opinions, outlook, desires, and goals as you get older, and that’s fine! But if you get hung up on who you were in the past, you may not be equipped to realize who you are now or who you may become.
Instead, treat life as an ever-evolving, never-ending journey, and you’ll be ready to take your personal developments in stride.
The Bottom Line on How To Find Yourself
Ultimately, developing a sense of self is a lifelong pursuit that you’ll never really be done with — and it may take you outside of your comfort zone. Instead, you’ll enjoy, explore, and discover new aspects of your personality as you age and accumulate new experiences. Look forward to this; it’s part of the magic of being human.
1AND1’s guides, resources, and blogs can all help you pursue holistic wellness, particularly if you want to better understand yourself and bolster your mental health. Check them out today.