Hi everyone! TGIF. The topic of this blog is so important and can be discussed for literal eternity, in my opinion. Finding out who you are is a never-ending quest, no matter how old you are and how many experiences you’ve had in life! I’ll be discussing it in a lot more detail in future content, but for today we’ll keep it short and sweet.
When we are young, we have zero issues being our authentic selves. We don’t know any better than that! We play, explore new activities, say what’s on our minds, and for the most part, live without boundaries because we don’t really know any.
Eventually, though, boundaries imposed by society, parents, and other external factors sets in. You’re told to behave more like this, pursue more of that, and before you know it, the waters can get a little muddy. I feel this can be especially true for girls and women. Many of us feel we have to agree to something someone else is imposing on us, especially when we’re young, for fear of seeming rude if we say no (ugh) instead of just listening to ourselves and doing our own thing.
This is magnified even more when it’s layered with other factors. Maybe your parents got divorced and you were always caught in between both of their desires and wants for you. Maybe you got divorced after several years of marriage and were so focused on being a spouse and/or a parent yourself, you lost sight of what really makes you tick. Or maybe none of those things apply to you, but over time, “just be yourself” began to sound much more complicated than it used to!
We toss phrases like “just be yourself” or “do you” around a lot, but what the heck does that really mean? How can you “just be yourself” when you’ve kind of lost touch with who that is, for whatever reason?
There’s real work involved here and this isn’t necessarily a quick fix, but I’ve found that these 7 tips can help you connect with yourself and re-align you with…YOU!
- Make 2 lists.
- Grab a pen and paper and make two lists, one of the things you have always liked or had an interest in (think way back to childhood) and one of the things you’re naturally good at. We’re all good at something. Don’t hold back, think as far back as you can, and identify the source (do I really like doing this or did someone push me to like it?)
- Hang out with yourself.
- Seriously, though. Go for walks. Read books. Cook. Meditate. Write. Do things solo when you can and just…be. A lot of insights come to light when it’s just you with you and you cut out the external noise.
- Make another list.
- Jot down some values! What’s innately important to you? What do you hold in high regard? Again think as far back to childhood if you need to. Values are a huge part of our foundation and true core selves.
- Take some time off social media.
- Social media is fun but can also be a real distraction. It can cause you to compare yourself to others and want things you don’t really want, you just think you want because you’re seeing it in some beautifully-filtered, perfectly captioned photo that someone else posted. Take some time off social media and hang out with yourself! (see tip #2).
- Dig up some old photo albums.
- Don’t just rely on your memory. Find some photos of you as a kid/teenager and remember what that felt like. Those years are hopefully a version of you in your purest form! Taking a trip down memory lane with actual visuals can be so helpful and better allow you to reconnect with that person.
- Pay attention to how you interact.
- Hopefully you’re hanging out with yourself a little more, but when you do interact with family and friends, pay attention to what you say and do. Are you saying things that you know others want to hear, even though you don’t really feel that way? Do you go along with what others suggest or plan more often than not? Those are all cues to how authentically you are really living and interacting in your day-to-day.
- Accept yourself and practice real self-care.
- There are countless blog articles, webinars and podcasts that discuss this point alone because it is so important. But seriously, look at your lists, really feel how it feels to hang out with yourself, and accept it. You might be an amazing writer, but not great at drawing. Cool. Accept it wholly. That is you and that’s more than enough. If there’s things you want to improve on, great, just make sure you’re doing it for yourself first.
Once you practice these exercises (do them as many times as you need to) and start to notice a shift, take a look at the bigger picture. Does your current career align with your true self? Are there new interests or pursuits you want to explore? Has there been something you have wanted to do for years that you’ve always avoided? Asking yourself these questions will get you closer to discovering your authentic self and actually living it.
There’s only one of you, and you only have one life, so why not live it as true to yourself as you possibly can, no matter how many times you reinvent yourself in the process?!