How to Find Your Inner Self

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:11
Figuring out who you are and your place in the world is a life-long task. But it doesn't have to be scary or intimidating. Once you realize that finding yourself is an ongoing process, not some sort of goal you must attain, you'll realize...
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Figuring out who you are and your place in the world is a life-long task. But it doesn't have to be scary or intimidating. Once you realize that finding yourself is an ongoing process, not some sort of goal you must attain, you'll realize that you know much more about your inner self than you ever imagined.

Method 1
Method 1 of 2:

Asking the Right Questions

  1. Step 1 Think about the moments you are most proud of in your life.
    Finding meaning in your life is not easy, nor should it be, but you can get wonderful clues from your own past. Think about the things that brought your great pride in yourself, as these are often the moments where you found the most meaning and purpose while working, traveling, or learning.
    • What makes these moments so special?
    • What challenged or excited you about the work? What motivated you to succeed?[1]
  2. Step 2 Identify your values...
    Identify your values. Identifying your values is an important part of finding your inner self. As you reflect on things that made you proud, think about what these experiences reveal about your values. Try asking yourself, what values are connected with the things that make me feel proud?[2]
    • For example, if you felt proud at your high school graduation, then you might value education. If you felt proud when you received a promotion at work, then you might value professional achievement. If you felt proud when you planned a surprise party for your mother, then you might value family and doing nice things for other people.
    • Start creating a list of all of your values. You might even rank them in order of their importance to you.
    • Once you know your values, you can figure out how to incorporate them into your life. For example, if one of your values is integrity, you'll want to be honest and authentic in everything you do.[3]
  3. Step 3 Determine the things you want in life.
    Finding your inner self is as much about looking forward as looking back. Whether it is a job, a house in your favorite town, a loving partner, or lazy Sundays with a book, your desires reveal a lot about you. Simply jot down the things you want in life. Don't be shy, and don't filter this list of things in any way. Which ones are you pursuing? Which ones have your forgotten about? Which ones matter most?
    • What kind of person do you imagine when looking at your own list of wants and priorities?
  4. Step 4 Think about how you'd spend your time if you had total freedom.
    Would you write the novel you always talk about, or would you get to work constructing a patio? Would you travel the world or sit inside with a good movie? If money wasn't an option, would you grab the non-profit job you've always eyed or pursue an old hobby? These ideas are not just fantasies, they are a version of you unburdened by stress and logistics. Finding that version of yourself is the first step in making it a reality.
    • Be specific in your thoughts, imagining a full day in the life of your dreams.
    • These dreams aren't always easy to attain, but that is okay. The point is to become conscious of your hopes and goals, as they reveal a lot about your priorities.[4]
  5. Step 5 Reconsider the facts, ideas, and outlooks you grew up with or take for granted.
    A simple example is with food: you may have detested pickles growing up, only to find years later that they aren't so bad. You often convince yourself things like, "I hate pickles," "I am a morning person," "I am good at math but bad at English," when it is the thought alone, not any real fact, that makes this true. Whenever you're absolutely sure about some part of yourself, flip the thought on its head before believing it. Do you believe it out of habit, or because it is true?
    • People change, and by firmly saying "I am _______," you risk missing those changes within yourself.
    • More often than not, these ideas are self-fulfilling. If you always tell yourself you are awkward on dates, then any date you go on makes you nervous and self-conscience. This of course, makes you more awkward.[5]
  6. Step 6 Dig beyond the simplistic labels given to you by others.
    At any one time, you may be considered a daughter, a girlfriend, an employee, and a tennis player. These labels are important to help define your roles and responsibilities in the world, but they are not you. They are just labels, and you are far more complex and nuanced than a few words. Instead, look beyond these labels at the concepts behind them.
    • If you see yourself as a daughter, ask why that role is important to you. Is family an essential anchor in your life? When stressed, do you turn often to parents and relatives?
    • If you see yourself as a girlfriend, ask yourself what your partner highlights or brings out in you. Remember that are not defined by romance, but you can learn about yourself by growing intimate with someone.
    • If you see yourself as an employee, ask where your personal goals or ideas meet with your company's. They won't perfectly align, and that's okay -- you are not just an employee.
    • If you see yourself as a tennis player, ask yourself what goals or aspirations you have on the court. What draws you to the sport?[6]
  7. Step 7 Consider taking an in-depth personality test as a jumping off point.
    Personality tests, like the psychologically-based Meyers-Briggs test, are great places to ask good, insightful questions about yourself. They also provide broad but generally useful thoughts on how you handle stress, relationships, creativity, and emotions. They are not, however, perfect representations of your personality. The important thing to remember is that they are jumping off points to understanding, not the end of the road.[7]
    • When you get test results, ask yourself which parts ring true to you? What parts surprise you? Most importantly, what parts feel false or untrue, and why?
    • You can find many of these tests online for free. If you do, prioritize tests that ask lots of questions, at least thirty or more, and compare the results of 2-3 tests to minimize mistakes.
  8. Step 8 Meditate or spend...
    Meditate or spend 10 minutes each day in quiet reflection. You're not going to find your inner self if you don't go looking for it. Meditation is not as difficult or complex as people claim, as even sitting for a few minutes in a quiet room is a great way to tune into yourself. Remember that mediation is not an end but a mean, meant to help you think about the difficult questions that you otherwise don't make time for.
    • If you're struggling to relax, concentrate on your breathing. Where is it coming from? How does your body react to inhalations and exhalations? What is your natural rhythm?
    • If your thoughts are racing or you feel bored, that's okay! Instead of feeling like you somehow failed, ask yourself why you're feeling these things. What in your life is taking up so much headspace?[8]
  9. Step 9 Remember that this is a life-long process, not an quickly accomplished goal.
    Understanding your inner self is a never-ending process because you are always changing. Instead of viewing your inner self as something you find once and know forever, you should always be looking inward to learn more about yourself. As you life and surroundings change, you do too. Don't close yourself off to these new realizations because you believe you know everything there is to know about yourself.
    • Looking back on your life, note how often you were wrong about yourself. How often did your likes, desires, goals, etc. change as you grew older? Even if you're sure about yourself now, this change will always happen as you move through life.[9]
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Method 2
Method 2 of 2:

Staying True to Your Inner Self

  1. Step 1 Check in with yourself regularly.
    Checking in with yourself to see how you are feeling is a great way to stay tuned in to your thoughts and feelings. Try to check in with yourself once per day. You can do this by following a simple pattern of questioning yourself and answering your questions.[10]
    • What's wrong? To this, you might answer something like, “I am worried about my finances for this month because I had an expensive car repair to make.”
    • What can I do to feel better about the situation? To this you might respond, “I can use the emergency credit card if necessary. However, I will probably be able to get by without it if I can reduce sending in a few other areas. This was a necessary repair, so it is okay that I spent money on it.”
    • What is going well in my life? You might respond to this question by saying something like, “I have a nice home, good friends, and a fun job.”
  2. Step 2 Note goal progress and re-evaluate your goals regularly.
    Successful and happy people do not just set out a path and blindly follow it. Just like your inner self matures and evolves, your goals need care and attention as you grow, too. Once a month or so, ask yourself the following questions.
    • Are my goals and priorities still the same? Are there any new ones?
    • What have I done to get closer to my goals? How can I repeat that success?
    • What can I do in the next two weeks to actively pursue my goals?
  3. Step 3 Stop trusting your internal critic so much.
    Many people are plagued daily by self-doubts, criticisms, and worries. This is natural, but that doesn't mean you always need to listen to them. When your brain tells you something is too hard, that you might fail, that you're unpopular-- whatever your stress is -- remember that this is not who you are. Your inner self is not a critic, these are just anxieties and worries that you need to address.
    • Ask yourself what emotion, usually anger or fear, is at the center of your unpleasant thoughts. You can then confront these emotions instead of letting the thoughts circle your brain.
    • If you're struggling to get past this voice, set a timer and indulge it for 5 minutes. Let yourself be worried, scared, or confused and, when the timer is up, move on.[11]
  4. Step 4 Surround yourself with other self-aware people.
    Good friends make everything easier, and finding people who are equally interested in being their best self will help you be yours. Try to avoid constantly negative people, or those that refuse to think critically about themselves. Instead, look for people who:
    • Are pursuing personal goals.
    • Talk honestly about themselves and their feelings.
    • Look for the best in situations, finding solutions instead of excuses.[12]
  5. Step 5 Learn to say no.
    Saying no, especially to friends, family, and coworkers, is difficult but necessary if you want to find your inner self. This doesn't mean you should be selfish, it just means to be confident in your ideas and decisions. If something doesn't mesh with your idea of yourself, trust yourself and turn the offer down.
    • Pursuing a goal, whether it is personal or professional, requires some sacrifice. But you can only choose what is important and what is less crucial once you start to find your inner self.
    • Peer pressure isn't always obvious or cruel. It might be fun, for example, to go out with your roommates instead of finishing work or relaxing. But if you want or need to stay in it's okay to temporarily disappoint them -- they'll understand.
  6. Step 6 Accept and embrace occasional contradictions.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." What he means is that truly self-aware people accept that their opinions and ideas can change, and that is okay. Don't worry about appearing hypocritical -- the goal is to be honest and truthful to yourself in the present moment, not to who you were yesterday or last year.[13]
  7. Step 7 Challenge yourself daily.
    Staying true to your inner self is not supposed to be easy. Through challenging yourself to reach difficult goals, complete projects, or just try something new, you can break the rut you're in and further develop your skills. Even better, the moments when you challenge yourself are often the most rewarding because they require you to learn or expose new parts of yourself.
    • This doesn't mean you must live a difficult life to know yourself. It simply means you don't shy away from things you love or want because they are challenging.
  8. Step 8 Do your research, but trust your gut.
    Some people love to think about every possible outcome before they do something. Others will take a risk at the drop of a hat without any prior knowledge. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, however, is a healthy and productive philosophy. Once you've reached a point where further research is just delaying a decision, it's time to look inward and make a choice.
  9. Step 9 Expose yourself to new ideas, people, and activities regularly.
    When you're placed in unfamiliar circumstances, whether it is a new country or a party full of strangers, you remove the context and labels that once defined you. You're free to be yourself, and these new experiences will expose parts of yourself that never needed to come out in the past.[14]
    • Learn something every day, even if it is small. By broadening your understanding of the world around you, you gain a greater context to examine yourself.
  10. Step 10 Ask for guidance and advice from trusted mentors or role models.
    Finding your inner self is, paradoxically, not a solitary effort. Other people can illuminate parts of yourself that are difficult to see yourself, helping shape your self-understanding. A good mentor will not tell you what to do or who to be, but will instead help you find the answers yourself.
    • A mentor or role model is just someone whose opinion you trust, and who you can talk openly and honestly to.
    • A mentor isn't someone who is right every time. When asking advice, remember that it is ultimately up to you whether or not to follow it.
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How Can You Get To Know Yourself Better?


  • Don't try too hard.
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  • Don't get too caught up; you might be vain if you only think of yourself.
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