Do you ever feel like you're lost? Like you have no clear direction in your life. Do you also crave more connection and meaning?
These are just a few concrete reasons why knowing yourself is important.
Getting to know yourself is a process, but it doesn't have to feel overwhelming. Soul searching and getting to know your truth may help lead you to your path to more happiness.
When you have a sense of who you are, you have greater trust in your inner guidance with your decisions. It shall light your way despite all the changes that may happen in your life and maybe even open doors for new opportunities.
THE 7 STEPS TO KNOW YOURSELF
Before you begin your journey of self-discovery
Grab a pen and paper. You can even use your handy dandy laptop if you choose. Find a quiet place if you can so you can take your time. Be brutally honest with yourself. Don't worry, no one is looking over your shoulder.
"Find out who you are and do it on purpose." -Dolly Parton
1. What do I LOVE?
Think about what gets you excited and what you are passionate about. Think of the things that bring you the most joy. Here are some suggestions for you to get you started.
What is my favorite food? Think of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or dessert.
What is my favorite drink? Is it hot or cold? Water, soft drink, coffee, tea, or wine? Is it a certain flavor?
What is my favorite color or color palette?
Where are my favorite places to shop? The grocery store, boutique, shopping mall, department store, online retail stores, etc.
What is my favorite perfume or scent?
What is my favorite book...when I was a child, in grade school, high school, right now.
What are my favorite activities? Do I love the outdoors, reading a book, painting, sewing, caring for others, etc?
What is my favorite quote?
Look over all your answers to allow your mind to digest and process them. Did any of them surprise you? Were they insightful? Is there something about yourself that you did not know about before?
"Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen carefully." -Littlefoot's Mother, The Land Before Time
2. What are my STRENGTHS?
Not a weakness but a strength.
Some people may perceive a strength as a weakness. You may even think this yourself. Let me give an example. Barbara is a very quiet woman, thus, those around her perceive her as secretive, mysterious, even a little suspicious.
In truth, she is a very thoughtful person who likes to listen to people and then speak when it is conducive to the situation. The perceived weakness (quiet and reserved) is actually one of her greatest strengths (good listener).
What do others say to you all the time?
Is there a comment that people say to you all the time? Here is an example of this. People who know Debbie tell her that she is very honest. She takes pride in her honesty and has even been described as blunt. It makes people laugh at times and hurts people sometimes.
However, when people want an honest answer, they turn to Debbie because they know that she will always speak her truth. Try to remember all the comments and compliments you've ever received. As long as you know them to be true, they may be one of your strengths.
What are you most proud of?
Did you just run a marathon? Perhaps you had children sooner than you planned, put off going to school and then graduated later with a Bachelor's degree despite your busy life. Did you just lose a lot of weight recently to get in shape and stay in good health?
What are my skills?
Everyone is adept at something. Maybe you possess an inner skill, like being able to work with any type of personality or handling stress in a positive way. Or perhaps you have an artistic talent such as playing a musical instrument or sketching cartoons. Or maybe you are you good at organizing and creating systems that make work life smoother and easier?
Next take a minute and look at the answers. Did you have an AHA moment? Was there something that inspired you to pursue even further?
"You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are." -Amy Poehler
3. What are my WEAKNESSES?
Not a strength but a weakness
Let's turn the table around and think about the things that are not your strongest areas. You might think that you have a strength but is actually a weakness. Let me give you an example.
Sheila prides herself in always speaking her mind. She is loud, opinionated and often interrupts the other person when she is having a conversation. Some people find her to be rude and avoid her as much as possible. What is perceived as a strength in Sheila's mind is also her weakness.
Mistaking self-deprecation for humility
Do you avoid the spotlight and attention towards yourself? Do you get shy and deflect compliments when people praise you? Modesty is healthy and helps to sort out where your skills are truly lacking. But constantly putting yourself down is not going to do you any favors and may be damaging to your psyche.
Examples of weak skills and personality traits
I am a perfectionist.
I only like to work alone.
My opinions are not important.
I am not motivated.
I don't like to speak up.
I give up when the going gets tough.
So let's review these answers. Did anything surprise you? Is there an area that you want to improve?
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are." -Mother Teresa
4. What are my FEARS?
Almost everyone has fears. You probably would rather not face them and just put them way in the back of your mind where they can't be reached. But you know that they will always come creeping back to scare you. So the best thing is to face your fears to overcome them. Here are some examples.
Do you want to speak up but fear no one wants to hear your opinions?
Are you afraid of starting something new?
Are you afraid of failure?
Do you feel like your ideas are not as good as anyone else's?
Are you indecisive because you're afraid to make the wrong choice?
I'm scared I may get fired from my job.
I am afraid of getting sick.
I am scared of dying.
I'm afraid of being alone.
I'm afraid that I will run out of money.
Was this exercise thought provoking? Did it make you feel less afraid?
Helpful article: Trust in the process and face your fears.
"The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others." -Albert Schweitzer
5. What would I like to CHANGE?
Change can be a scary thing. It can also be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. It is normal and even a necessary part of life. Ask yourself what changes you want in your life right now and them write them down. Here are just a few examples.
What is working in my life right now?
What is not working in my life right now?
What do I need to add?
What do I need to subtract?
I want to eat healthier and exercise more.
I want to feel more rested and less stressed.
I want to work less and travel more.
I want a new job that is more meaningful and makes me feel satisfied.
I want to stop criticizing myself so much.
I want to be happier.
Did this exercise motivate you in any way? Did this make you want to act on something?
“When you start doing things that are truly in alignment with what your true self wants, what your soul wants, you flourish and life becomes a lot easier.” -Joel Annesley
6. What are my GOALS?
A clear path
Now that you know what you love, what you don't want and what you would like to change, you have a better idea of where your life is going. Use the answers from the previous exercises to help you create your goals.
If money were no object
Ask yourself this question: If money were no object, what would I do or want right now? Most people would say a big house, a brand new sports car, or to travel all over the world. These are great and valid answers. But let's think outside the box and consider the following for a moment.
What did I always want to learn but did not have the time for?
What do I want to do a week from now?
Where do I see myself in 3 months?
Where do I see myself in 6 months?
What will I be doing in 1 year?
What will I have in 5 years?
What will I accomplish in 10 years?
With whom would I like to make connections with?
I want to publish a book.
I want financial independence.
I want to become my own boss.
I want a very comfortable nest egg for when I retire.
I want to have more peace of mind.
I want to have less stress and more abundance.
Remember, the sky's the limit. Be creative.
MAKE A VISION BOARD
This is a board to place images or words of what you desire or dream of. Or create a vision binder or file of pictures and quotes for inspiration.
Did this section help you become more focused? Will this help to bring your ideas and desires into fruition?
Helpful article: How to create good habits and goals.
"The real power behind whatever success I have now was something I found within myself -- something that's in all of us, I think -- a little piece of God just waiting to be discovered." -Tina Turner
7. What do I STAND for?
Now that you know yourself more, you may have a small idea of what you stand for. If you're having trouble, use the following statement to help you.
What is the most important thing to me right now?
Is it love, peace, equality, justice? Perhaps it's a little less broad.
Having a family may be the most important thing to you right now. You want to raise confident children and have a peaceful, happy home. So you stand for having security, community and love, which will be passed down to your kids and future generations.
What is your passion?
Read the following as an example. You are passionate about bird watching and would go anywhere in the world to observe them in their natural habitat. So you take a stand for birds' rights and their protection.
You may even broaden that a little and become an advocate for the environment to protect not only birds and their natural habitats, but all animals. The best part is that your passion has allowed you to take a stand for something you love and it has a positive trickle down effect.
Do you have a calling?
Let's read the following example. As a child Ella was a voracious reader. As she grew older, she loved to hear inspiring and interesting stories from those around her and then tell them to anyone who would listen. This love of stories lead her to want to find truth and bring justice to those who have been wronged.
Her curiosity made her realize that her calling is investigative journalism. If you do investigating on yourself, you may hear your own calling as well.
Did this help you find more purpose and meaning in your life? Did this help to spark a passion in you? Does this inspire you to make a difference in the life of others?
Helpful article: Your purpose in life. Why you need to know it.
“Learn about yourself then teach others to learn about their true self. Let them see the wonders of the world in there true colors”. -The Inner Light
Know yourself at last
"You've got to know yourself so you can at last be yourself." -D.H. Lawrence
Knowing yourself is important for your growth and personal development. With the 7 simple steps, you will know what you love, your strengths, weaknesses, fears, and goals. You also know what you stand for and what needs to change in your life.
With the last phrase in mind, you can continue to grow and develop and you enter different phases in your life. You can come back to these exercises and get to know yourself again and again.
"Observe all men; thy self most." -Benjamin Franklin