Our lives are deep and complex because human beings are complex, too. There are so many layers in us and not all of those layers reveal themselves right away and at once. As we walk through life, we keep on learning about ourselves along the way. It is an ever-continuing process that may never be fully completed. Still, it doesn’t mean we should give up and be satisfied with where we are right now. We are so much more than we think; we are just afraid to admit that to ourselves and others.
Our whole life is actually our path to self-discovery. The truth is – we don’t know who we really are while we are teenagers, and we surely don’t know that in our twenties. Some aspects of ourselves may get clearer when we get older and more mature but it doesn’t mean that a big part of us will still be living the way society expects us to and that we will behave the way other people are used to seeing us behave.
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How to really know yourself?
Getting to know your true self is not an easy process. It will take a lot of time and effort and may also cost you some close relationships. When we learn some truths about ourselves and accept who we really are, it can steer your life in a completely different direction. That new direction may distance you from some people that were important to you. In other words, the journey to self-discovery may first isolate you and create a great deal of discomfort before it finally sets you free.
The biggest and maybe the hardest thing to do is to realize how much we accommodate the needs of other people in order to fit in. We do what is expected of us during a large part of our lives. In return, it creates a certain sense of emptiness and alienates us from our inner self. Once you identify the things you do just for the sake of others, your true feelings will become clearer. Don’t ignore those feelings – accept them and try to act in accordance with them; let them lead you. Don’t betray your own feelings – you are betraying yourself then and you are not living the life you are supposed to.
The importance of retreat
Retreat from everyday life can really help you focus on getting to know yourself better. It doesn’t have to be a group thing; you can plan your time completely alone, away from any disturbances. To really step back from the ordinary and dwell deeper into yourself, here are a couple of things to do:
– go into nature – in nature, we are more honest with ourselves as we go back to where we originally come from. You will get a clearer perspective on where you should go next while you spend time in nature. Find a cabin or simply a nice spot in the woods or in a valley and become one with the surroundings.
– set time for the retreat – plant spends at least two days on your retreat. 5 days would be ideal, but anything less will work, too. Even 24 hours isolated from others can be of great significance to get in touch with your emotions, to harmonize your mental state and to relax your physical body.
– do a form of art – you don’t have to be an expert to express yourself through painting, collage or drawing. Express your emotions in physical form through colors, shapes, and materials. Let your hand be free – the more you free yourself, the better you’ll see how you actually feel. Let your hands create the life you really want to lead.
Try out different self-discovery activities
To really discover your true identity, you need to take care of all the three levels of your being: the physical, the emotional and mental state. Different activities will help you do that:
– your physical state – there are many ways to improve your physical health. Maybe you should lose a couple of pounds or do workouts to keep your body in good shape. Commit yourself to some form of exercise and stick to it. If you do a strenuous activity outside, like running or cycling, make sure you stay hydrated with a hydration pack. Never go beyond your current limits and respect your body.
– explore your spiritual side – our emotions are deeply connected to our spiritual self, so explore it through visiting a place of worship, whatever it may be for you ( a church, a synagogue or even a beautiful place in nature where you feel connected to something bigger than you). Turn to meditation or praying – when we do that, we descend deeper into our emotions, revealing our true wishes and desires.
Read self-discovery books
Self-discovery is a concept that is best explained in books dedicated to it. It can be a theoretical book that will best work for you or a workbook that leads you through your self-discovery step by step and asks you to write down your own thoughts. Reading self-discovery books will make this concept closer to you, and more understandable. Browse online or in your local library for books on this topic; in time, you’ll find those that best explain to you what self-discovery really is and how to get there. There are many more strategies, and it is up to you to decide which ones will work best for you. Be prepared to a try-and-fail period – maybe it will take you some time to identify that some strategies simply don’t help you. Be patient – you will discover what really helps you.
When on a journey of self-discovery, the most important thing is to be patient and gentle with yourself. Every great change in life takes time, and this will be one of the greatest changes you will ever experience.
Audrey Taylor was born in San Francisco and moved to Adelaide at the age of five. Marketer researcher and social media manager on hold, full – time mommy of a cheerful two-year-old. Graduated from Queensford college, worked in a couple of marketing agencies across Australia, eager to learn more about business and share her experiences. Traveled across Europe. Her hobbies include home decor, fashion, travel, music, old movies.
Find her on Twitter @theaudreyworld