How to Find Your Real Self Again
On the surface it seems like an odd idea that you could actually be anything other than your real self. But from since the time we were born, we have been programmed to learn to “fit in” in society or do/like what our parents want us to do/like. We find ourselves conforming to what others feel is right/appropriate for us in order to make them happy.
However, this sometimes may mean that you have to suppress the real you - what you really feel, your true aspirations, likes and dislikes.
Yet, the relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have. Without a healthy relationship with yourself, it is not practically impossible to be happy and find fulfilment in life.
If you are finally ready to get re-acquainted with someone you may not have touched base with for a while (yourself), you can start with these 5 ideas to help you rediscover the real self today.
1. Silence The Noise In Your Head
You should be familiar with those voices, the ones that are constantly nagging you to do your chores, finish your work, what needs to be done next, your worries e.g. With all the noise that goes on, it is almost impossible for you to find some quiet time and focus on understanding your personal needs deep down, the ones that make you feel alive, happy and energized. This is an essential first step.
Therefore, find some quiet time, away from modern technology, your responsibilities and stresses in life. You can practice meditation or simply find a nice place to chill and give yourself time to think about yourself and assess what went on that day, how you felt and what is significant/important to you.
2. Pay Attention To Your Thoughts And Habits
Consciously pay attention to your thoughts and feelings so you can understand how you perceive the world around you and how you respond to different scenarios in life. Write down any observations you have e.g. patterns and habits that you start to identify.
It is especially important to identity bad or unhealthy habits that you may have, such as the tendency to be negative in your thoughts and/or actions. Once you are able to pinpoint a bad or unhealthy habit, don't just sit there and do nothing. Challenge them and make a positive change in your life.
For example, you could be easily critical of yourself, saying things like “You never do anything right.” This can create anxiety and lower your self esteem. Instead, reprogram your thinking habits with thoughts like “I did alot of things right. I did (example) right. I did (example) right. However, I am prone to making mistakes like everyone else. So this time, I’ll learn from it and have better success the next time.”
Besides identifying bad habits to improve yourself, paying attention to your thoughts can also help you to explore your interests and consciously identify things that give you a sense of joy and excitement.
3. Listen To Your Heart
This sounds easy enough, but by the time we are adults, most of us have stopped listening to our hearts and follow what we perceive in our minds as logical things to do in life. We are expected to 'grow up' and make sensible choices as we get older.
As time goes by, we may begin to forget what excites us, what makes us happy. We just give up (because it seems easier that way) and go about our days on ‘autopilot’ and forgot what living is really all about.
For example, many of us give up our dreams thinking that we are "stuck" in our current situation forever. If you ask anyone around you, most will tell you that if they had a choice, they will rather being doing something else other than what they are doing now e.g. Lawyers talking about dreams of being an architect, a research fellow dreaming about being a designer.
Therefore, we must remember to listen to the heart and reconnect with our true self. Of course, in reality, not everyone can fully live their dreams because of some limitations in life (e.g. money to support family). However, we cannot stop dreaming and continue to do whatever we love whenever and wherever we can and get closer to our dreams. For example, if you have a love for football, even if you cannot be a football player in your dream football team, you can still join a local football club and find some fulfillment there.
4. Disconnect Yourself From Other People’s Opinions
Sometimes, we are so overwhelmed by other’s opinions of the world that we forgot what our actual beliefs and wants are. We can also be self conscious and fear what others will think of us if we have a different opinion or approach to things.
For example, we rely on our parents to shape our thinking and perception of the world when we are young. However, as we grow older, we may start to develop a different set of values and thoughts from them based on our personal experiences in life. We might however, still continue to follow what is perceived by our parents as the right thing to do in life and sometimes it can lead to personal unhappiness and discontentment.
Therefore, we should learn to disconnect ourselves from others opinions and expectations of how we should live, who we should be. We should learn to let go of the idea that we want to be liked or admired by all the people around us. Others may get upset with our choices but we need to learn to stand firm in our beliefs and hopefully one day they will be supportive of the decisions we make. Having said that, we should still be open to listen to others and be ready to accept new/alternative perspectives without being overly critical, upsetting or offensive to other people.
Do you sometimes feel like you are not being your real self?
5. Be Careful Not To Get Hung-Up On Being Successful
Remember that in life, what you are really after are feelings - feelings of being respected, being loved, appreciated, happy, a sense of fulfillment, as opposed to owning the biggest house, fastest car, dating the handsomest guy or prettiest girl.
Although material things and power in society do give you some of these feelings, be creative and keep an open mind that these feelings may not always need to come from being successful and powerful. Be willing to adjust the methods you use to achieve these feelings.
For example, giving up some of your personal time to help out at a soup kitchen, making a conscious effort to spend more time to care for your elderly parents, getting a pet, learning a new skills/ hobby out of pure personal interest rather than for career advancement - all these can also give you fulfillment. Don't get caught up in the rat race, spending all your time pursuing material things and social status, while forgetting who you really are and what matters in life.
Remember that a person that you can know and love (you!) is waiting for you to take the time to listen and understand and accept. When you begin to better understand the real you, you can make better life choices as they are choices that cater to who you really are and will keep you happy, satisfied and motivated in life.