Do you sometimes feel like you’re in the wrong life? Do you have a job that doesn’t really fit your strengths? Your circle of friends praises you for skills and achievements that mean nothing to you?
You wonder if your partner would fall in love with you again if he/she suffered a movie-like amnesia tomorrow? Not being at peace with yourself is a pretty lousy feeling.
Self-discovery, on the other hand, feels really good. You have a job where you play to your strengths and do something that is personally meaningful to you. You surround yourself with people who allow you to be yourself and who love you for it. When you can live your authentic self, it feels like you are finally putting two pieces of the puzzle together: Your inner self and your outer reality.
In this article, the team at The ChainlessLIFE explains to us what self-discovery is and why it’s so important to find your Purpose.
What does self-discovery even mean & why is it so important?
Humans are social animals and therefore we are influenced by our fellow human beings in everything we do. In childhood, our parents in particular shape us. By praising us for certain actions, they influence which strengths we develop or which behavior we display.
In adolecence and adulthood, our peers become an important point of orientation. We constantly compare ourselves with others to find out which clothes are the right ones or how much we have to earn to have a “good” life
How society suppresses our inner voice
These external influences are important to a certain extent, because they allow us to live together in a society where everyone lives more or less by the same rules and values. However, this pressure to conform can sometimes become too great for fear of rejection. This leads you to suppress the inner voice inside you that wants something completely different for your life. Something that would make you much happier.
By asking yourself the big questions “Who am I?” and “What do I want?” you take a first step in your journey to self-discovery.
The 7 tips & exercises to find out who you are & what you really want.
#1: Get out of your comfort zone
Where you are right now in your life, the real you probably doesn’t feel quite right. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this article. Maybe your true self is longing for other places, people or activities. Maybe you don’t dare to leave your safe haven because you don’t know what else you want.
But how will you find out what you want if you don’t try it out? That’s why it’s important to leave your comfort zone. If you always choose muted colors for your clothes, then go for a bold color for once. If you don’t like the color itself later, that’s totally okay. But maybe you like the many compliments that you have received for your new charisma?
#2: Visualize your own funeral
This may sound a bit macabre, but it is actually a common method in coaching or psychotherapy. Imagine your funeral. More precisely, imagine what your survivors would say about you. What are your best qualities that they will miss? What goals did you achieve in life that your loved ones are most proud of? What kind of person were you and what are you missing now that you are gone?
In this mind game, also pay attention to the difference between your desires and reality. Perhaps you dread fantasizing your obituary because you would find it very disappointing at this time? This is a sign that you are not at peace with yourself right now and are not living the life you really want.
Then you can instead imagine how you have to shape your life so that your survivors say exactly what would make you happy. For example, if you believe that you are actually a very creative person, but your peers never get to see this strength, then think about how you can live out this quality more in the future.
#3: Free yourself from the fear of what others think about you
Do you often worry about what other people think about you? Then I have a little story for you; freely retold from the book “Let me tell you a story” by Jorge Bucay.
The story of the man, the boy & the donkey
Once upon a time there was a man riding his donkey along a dusty road. At his side walks his young son. As they approach another group of travelers, a woman calls out to them, “Look at this raven father. He lets his poor boy walk in the dust while he himself is comfortably carried up the mountain!” The father gets a guilty conscience, dismounts and lets the son mount the donkey. Another passerby passes by and exclaims, “Look at this spoiled child. Lazy as a king, he lets himself be carried around while the old man has to walk.” Now the son is uncomfortable and asks his father to ride with him.
But a third passerby has a third opinion and says, “Why, that’s animal cruelty! The poor donkey is too weak to carry you both.” Struck by the harsh criticism, father and son dismount and now walk beside the donkey. Already another voice speaks up: “These fools. Leading a donkey for a walk instead of letting it carry them.” Father and son look at each other questioningly. How are they ever going to please these people? Then an idea occurs to the father. He grabs the donkey’s front hooves, the son the hind legs. With bent backs, they drag him away.
Personally, we love this short story because it illustrates so well how afraid we are of what other people might think or say about us.
And just this deep-seated fear often ensures that we begin to betray ourselves in important life questions & decisions to some extent and not act according to what we think is right in our innermost, but according to what will most likely please other people / fit into the collar.
But now let’s be honest: What is more important to you? Do you want to step on eggshells all your life and try to please everyone out there, or do you decide today and once and for all that you owe it to yourself & your happiness to do, say & live what YOU feel is right for you?
#4: Meet new people
Our environment has a lot of expectations of us. If you are normally a very down-to-earth and security-loving person, then your fellow men would probably be blindsided if you were suddenly gripped by a sense of adventure and set off on a backpacking trip to the depths of the Amazon.
They don’t even mean any harm when they doubt your wild idea. On the contrary, they want to protect you from danger or prevent you from spending a lot of money on a trip that you don’t like afterwards.
This well-intentioned advice can sometimes be insanely overwhelming and stifle any germ of self-discovery. Strangers don’t have an idea about you yet. If you tell them that you feel the desire for adventure, they believe you and may even speak well of you. You can completely reinvent yourself in an unknown environment.
#5: Go traveling alone
Traveling alone is unimaginable for many people. They are too afraid of loneliness and boredom. The best thing about traveling alone is that you don’t have to make any compromises. You can do what you want in every minute of your trip. You don’t have to consider any food restrictions or other sensitivities. If a whole trip takes too much time or intimidates you too much, you can also plan a day trip with yourself.
#6: Ask yourself the 100 million dollar question
Money is often the most difficult obstacle that stands between us and our dreams. We are afraid of failing and our worries and doubts act as a protective mechanism. After all, we might actually end up with a huge pile of debt if we test out our wildest business idea or pack our bags and start a new life on the other side of the world. But in our fantasy, for once we can confidently drop all these restrictions and risks.
Therefore, ask yourself the question:
“What would I do if money no longer played a role in your life?”
#7: Spend more time with yourself
Of course, we all like to be around people – especially those who make us feel good and whom we trust. But that also means that we always adapt a little to other people. Being alone is also often connoted with loneliness or boredom.
But hat’s often only the case because we think we can’t do some activities alone. Just dare to go to the movies alone or experiment with a new hobby. After all, you can do the pottery class wonderfully alone! Or maybe just go to a salsa dance alone. So dare to get out of your comfort zone alone!
Conclusion: Learn to love yourself & your life
The headwinds from our surroundings can sometimes be quite discouraging. So we prefer to copy what others tell us to do instead of doing our own thing. It’s a shame though, because no artist ever became successful by just imitating others. Remember that you are the designer of your life.
You decide which colors to apply to the canvas and you decide your painting style. There are no wrong ideas. Everything that you wish, what you like and dream, has absolutely its justification. The question is, however, whether you accept yourself completely.
Because only when you accept your personality, your individual hopes and dreams, they can become reality. That is why self-love is the first and essential step towards self-discovery.