Self-discovery is a lifelong journey of getting to know yourself more intimately and exploring all those parts with openness and candor.
It involves digging deep into your thoughts, secrets, desires, and wishes.
The journey of self-discovery might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Just like embarking on something new, it will take time, diligence, patience, and courage.
It's worth the effort to get to know yourself on a deeper level because when you know who you truly are, you can live a life that feels more authentic, meaningful, and joyful.
You can start your self-discovery journey by answering 5 powerful questions in the following section.
5 POWERFUL QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ON YOUR SELF-DISCOVERY JOURNEY.
WHO AM I?
We all wear different hats. You could be a parent, brother, father, and breadwinner all at once. But those are just a small part of who you are. Who are you without those titles?
If you don’t know what the answer is, that is okay. Start with writing down what you love. Don’t worry about what to write, just write anything that comes to mind.
Perhaps you like hanging out and talking to people, working in a group of like-minded people, or simply sitting down in a quiet corner while reading a book.
Next, write down what your skills & talents are. A skill is something that you have honed, like a hobby, a craft, or a particular ability like communication or listening. Your talent is a natural ability or aptitude for something, like art, music or sports.
Now, you are going to write down your deepest desires. Is there something you always wanted to experience (e.g. traveling around the world or scuba diving), but couldn’t due to lack of resources such as time or money?
Finally, write down your strengths and weaknesses. Identify what you think is your strength or weakness.
You may have even heard others point them out to you. Keep in mind that a strength may be perceived as a weakness, like being quiet, but having great listening skills. A weakness might be mistaken for strength, like wanting everything to be perfect.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE?
Change is inevitable, but can be hard. It is a natural part of life and is essential to growing and evolving as a human being.
You might want to change a lot of things or just one thing in your life. Change can be subtle, dramatic, physical, or internal.
A physical change can be as small as switching your hair color or as drastic as moving from one place to another. For this part, you can use the answers from the previous question as a guide.
Some examples of internal change can be acquiring a new skill, wanting to quit something to be healthier, or learning a new way of thinking.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE?
There is usually a reason behind what it is you want to change. Before you answer this question, give it some thought.
Are you changing because you want to please another person? Will changing your behavior, thinking pattern, or physical appearance, serve your highest good?
Or do you want to change because you feel an internal incentive to do so? Why you want to change may carry a deeper longing to change a behavior or pattern of thought that no longer serves you. However, in the long run, this will give you more satisfaction than changing to appease someone else.
WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK?
Your journey of self-discovery is not an easy one. There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to face all parts of yourself, even the unpleasant ones.
Fear often holds people back from wanting to look within or change. This is especially true when you are comfortable in your life right now.
On the flip side, familiarity can become a trap. Even if the current situation is painful, one might choose to stay because it’s safer than the unknown.
Make a list of all your beliefs. Then see if they are limiting you in some way. Limiting beliefs about yourself can also hold you back from knowing who you truly are and living a life that you love.
Write down a list of your values. They may be derived from your family, religion, or where you grew up. Look within to check if they align with your intrinsic values (values that are not influenced by external sources).
If the values you absorbed externally clash with your internal values, they may be holding you back. They may be embedded in your pattern of thinking and influence your decision-making.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO MOVE FORWARD?
Now let’s pretend that anything you put your efforts into was 100% guaranteed to succeed. You have all the time in the world and money is no object. What would make you want to wake up with joy and gratitude in your heart?
Is there something that you always wanted to pursue? Use your answers from the previous questions to help you formulate a plan to move forward in your self-discovery journey.
This exercise will give you motivation and inspiration on how you want your ideal life to look. When you are through, your dreams will be transformed from abstract fantasies into palpable ideas. It opens a window into how you would feel if you accomplished all the things you set out to do.
Now take a look at all your answers to the 5 self-discovery questions. Did any of them surprise you? This is just a starting point in your self-discovery journey. What you do with these valuable pieces of knowledge is now up to you.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t know all the answers to the questions as you go through them. Knowing who you are takes time and effort. But the rewards you reap will be invaluable to your personal growth and fulfillment.
Only you have the power to define who you are and bring real changes into your life.
WHAT IS A SELF-DISCOVERY JOURNEY?
Your self-discovery journey is a continuous process as you enter different stages of life. Think back to when someone first asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. You were probably a small child.
Without giving it a second thought, you may have responded with, an astronaut, or an actress, or a clown. These answers may seem completely far-fetched or silly now, but at the time, they were sincere.
There were no influences other than the fact that it seemed interesting and fun to you at that point in your life. Somewhere down the line, you may have told yourself that you were not good enough or those careers were not financially viable, or someone criticized your dream.
But if you were honest with yourself, you may be secretly wondering, what if. What if I had given it a shot? What if I just ignored my parents, teachers, girlfriend, boyfriend, or society? Where would I be right now? Would I be happier? Or filled with regret?
If you want to stop fantasizing, you have to embark on a journey of self-discovery. I’m not telling you to quit your job tomorrow and join the circus. You don’t have to go to that extreme, but it is worthwhile to take that first step and start asking yourself what you really want in life.
WHY IS SELF-DISCOVERY IMPORTANT?
Self-discovery is important so you know who you truly are. It acts as your internal GPS while you navigate your way through life. What do I mean by this?
At one point in my life, I felt lost. I thought working and consuming more would help steer me back in the right path. Instead, I just felt like a dog chasing its own tail.
What I did not know then, was my lack of self-awareness. It took a very long time before I had the courage to start my own journey of self-discovery. It wasn’t easy, but I learned so much along the way.
When you start your own journey of self-discovery, you’ll learn what really matters most to you in life. The decisions you make will come from within rather than fear or popular opinion.
The life that you experience will be one you truly love, not what society dictates for you. You will also be loved for who you are instead of what you do, how much money you make or what you can give to others.
THE BENEFITS OF A SELF-DISCOVERY JOURNEY.
Knowing yourself will feel like liberation. Self-discovery is the key to unlock all the buried resources and treasures you’ve been hiding from yourself.
You’ll discover what you love, what your strengths are, your weaknesses, your core beliefs, your skills, your talents, and your values.
As you learn more about yourself, suppressed emotions may also surface. If you find them difficult to deal with, take a break, meditate, write them down, talk to someone or seek professional help. It is not weak to get support from others when you’re feeling vulnerable.
When you become more self-aware, you take responsibility for all the choices you made in life and anything else that comes your way. This means lifting the weight of blame off your shoulders and empowering yourself so you no longer feel like a victim of your past.
Self-empowerment begets greater resilience, especially in the face of adversity and uncertainty of change. When you know what you stand for, your feathers won’t be ruffled too much during challenging times.
This also means that you’ll learn to create healthy boundaries and say no with greater conviction. You won’t make commitments that you’re not passionate about, so you’ll be left with more time to focus on what you love.
You will feel less compelled to seek validation from others, but rather, from your own principles and views. This doesn’t mean that you will become self-centered. Instead, you’ll start to live a life that is more heart-centered.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR YOUR SELF-DISCOVERY JOURNEY.
If you haven't answered all the questions, here are some tips to help your while you're on your journey of self-discovery.
Set aside some time and go slowly. Go somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. You can answer one question per day to really give you time to think about your answers.
Or take a few days between each exercise, whichever is a more comfortable pace for you.
Make a note of thoughts, sensations, and feelings that come up when you answer your questions.
Finally, remember to be honest with yourself, but don't push yourself to answer the questions if you are finding them too difficult.
The next step of your self-discovery journey.
If you were able to answer all of the questions, congratulations! Be sure to read these helpful articles if you want to know yourself on a deeper level:
100 Self-discovery prompts to connect more deeply with yourself.
Self-discovery questions + printable pdf to know yourself on a deeper level.
9 ways to find your true identity and discover who you are.
How to know yourself better in 10 different ways.
Wishing you all the best on your self-discovery journey!