10 steps to figure out who you really are

Do you feel like something is off in your life?

Discovering yourself is an important and often difficult journey.

This can be especially true when you are struggling with stress, major change, uncertainty, mental illness, physical ailments, chronic pain, financial issues, or addiction.

A lot of people find that this journey is easier if they have support from others.

Here are 10 steps to help you on your journey to discover your true self.

Let’s jump right in:

1) Understand what you want

One of the first steps to finding yourself is understanding what you want in life. What is truly important to you? How do you define success?

For example, my father was perfectly happy having a teaching career, a long-term marriage, and raising six children. I, on the other hand, wanted to travel and explore the world. You need to know what is truly important to you and how you define success.

Some of us see financial independence or a specific lifestyle as our calling. It’s important to understand what you truly want, not just do what your friends or social norms are pushing upon you.

Ask yourself some basic questions like:

  • Do you want stability? Or do you prefer adventure
  • Do you want to focus on your career or learn new skills to build up your business?
  • Would you like a partner in your life every day?
  • Or do you want someone that you date for a few months and learn from each interaction?
  • Do you enjoy structure or a day of spontaneous surprises?
  • Do you prefer living alone or having supportive family and friends in your everyday life?
  • How do you like to feel helpful and of service to others?
  • Do you prefer to stay by yourself and live a rather quiet life?

You need to know your values and beliefs and have an understanding of what you want in life.

2) Define your values

The first step is to define your values.

“Values”, or what you believe in, are what drive you and make you do the things that you do. Values are the most important aspect of your life, so much so that they dictate how a person will live their life. Your values are the foundation of your life.

You may not realize this until someone asks, “Why?” Values can be about anything that has meaning for you: family, friends, money, or people’s health.

But when it comes down to it—values are shaped by one thing: What kind of person would I like to be?

Here is an exercise to help you figure out your values:

Take out a piece of paper and write down the three most important values that you have for yourself.

I will give you the three that I had: I value adventure and change. I need to be able to learn about myself when I’m in new situations. I need to challenge my fears and feel like I’m growing.

For example, how can I start to live and experience this value?

  • Moving around and exploring new places for work or projects
  • Learning about myself through meeting new people, learning skills, and mastering old ones.
  • Learning about what motivates me.
  • Understanding what drives me from the inside?
  • Knowing what keeps me going?
  • Learning how to communicate well with people that are different from me.
  • Thinking about what you think is important in life?
  • What do you care about the most?
  • What’s at the top of your list?
  • When do you feel most alive and vibrant?

3) Take charge of your future

It’s important to start accepting personal responsibility for your actions.

You have to take charge of your future and decide what you want it to look like.

You can sit around, waiting for things to change or you can make change happen by taking charge of your life.

Maybe you want a better job, a different house, or a family. Whatever it is that you want in your future, this is the time to start planning and make it happen.

Your future starts today. Every decision will bring you closer to fulfilling the life purpose that you are here for.

It can be difficult to understand your true life purpose.

But it’s a necessary ingredient for experiencing the peace of discovering your true inner self.

Otherwise, it’s easy to feel frustrated and dissatisfied.

I don’t know about you but I tend to spread myself too thin. So I was happy to come across a new way to think about my purpose after watching Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself.

Justin explains how visualizations and self-help techniques aren’t always the best way to find your purpose.

In fact, creating limiting mindsets can actually hold us back from living our own vibrant lives.

There’s a new way to do it which Justin Brown learned from spending time with a shaman in Brazil. After watching his talk, I was able to feel more inspired and grounded in a stronger sense of purpose.

Watch the free video here

4) Explore your past

Your past is an important part of discovering who you are. It shapes who you are today and also has a profound effect on your future.

Take the time to explore your past. Think about what happened to you as a child and how it impacted you.

  • How did you grow up?
  • What was your relationship with your parents like?
  • What type of kid were you?
  • What intrigued you the most?
  • What relationships did you have with your siblings?
  • What was your family dynamic?
  • Was there any abuse or difficult interactions involved?

These are all things that can be explored and discussed with a therapist or other mental health professional or a kind friend.

Exploring your past will help you gain insights into who you are, which will help to shape who you want to become in the future.

5) Know your triggers

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It is important to know what emotional triggers you have before you begin your journey into self-discovery.

Think of your triggers as the emotions that make you want to engage in unhealthy habits and reactions.

For example, if you are more likely to binge when feeling lonely or stressed, you need to know this and take necessary precautions before engaging in such activities.

  • What are the things that make you angry or feel upset and enraged?
  • What are the things that people do or say to you in such a way that makes you feel small?
  • When do you feel powerless or enraged?
  • What are the things that bring you joy?

These are things you should know as you start exploring your inner world. Get to know what makes you feel your best and how to keep that feeling as strong as possible.

6) Figure out who’s in charge now

The first step is to figure out who’s in charge of your life now.

This might seem like a simple answer, but it can be difficult to identify if you’ve been traumatized or have suffered a head injury.

If you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress or anxiety, you may find it helpful to join a support group of people who know what you’re going through.

It’s important to remember that the goal is not to make this person go away; the goal is to bring them into your life in a healthy way and help them become a part of your story.

When you start to understand the people in your life and how you relate and interact with them, the better your daily interactions and life will be. You can also start to understand how you want and enjoy spending yours with yourself and with others.

You will be able to take care of yourself better if you know who these parts are and how they behave.

7) Make friends with your fear

It is said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

This is because fear can prevent us from reaching our full potential. Fear causes stress, anxiety, and loss of motivation which may lead to depression or feelings of helplessness.

However, it is possible that just by understanding the factors behind your fears you will be able to overcome them with courage and determination.

When you are struggling, make friends with your fears.

Fear is a natural, human emotion that you need to feel and experience to live your life fully.

You never conquer your fears unless you admit they exist. Then it can only get easier because by getting to know them, you get to know yourself and how to push yourself beyond the limits of what you thought you are capable of.

8) Start simple and take small steps

The first step to discovering your true self is to start simple. Get to know how you like to spend your day.

What makes you feel at ease and inspired and vibrant. Who you like to be around.

Start to get to the core of your values. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are my values?
  • What are my strengths?
  • Where do I see myself in the next five years?
  • What makes me feel fulfilled?
  • What makes me feel miserable and small?

Learn to do one thing at a time and focus on that task until it is completed, before moving on to the next thing.

9) Trust your instincts and follow your gut feeling

You know yourself better than anyone else in this world.

Even when you feel confused and disconnected, your inner judgment and gut feeling are your only gift for how you can navigate your life. IT’s all you have really.

Be careful who you consult and seek advice from because you know yourself better than anyone else.

Trust your instincts and follow your gut feeling, because you know yourself better than anyone else.

This is a very important step in the journey of self-discovery.

When you are listening to your gut feeling, it means that you have already taken time to think about what might be best for you and have thought about it deeply enough for it to become instinctive and intuitive.

You need to trust your gut when making decisions.

10) Learn how to be present

The next step is learning how to be present. This may seem like it goes without saying, but many people find themselves going through life in a daze, while they are lost in their thoughts.

This is not just something that happens when we’re thinking about something sad or worrying about the future; we can get lost in our heads when we’re having fun or enjoying ourselves immensely.

When you are more curious about yourself and confident with your life and decisions, you won’t worry so much about the future and what may come.

Life becomes easier as you start to discover your true self.

Now be gentle with yourself and take steps towards who you really are

Now that we’ve covered the basics of taking the time to discover your true self, it’s time to put this all into practice.

Remember to be gentle with yourself. Move slowly through the journey of self-discovery.

True inner change is a gradual process of learning over a long period of time.

Once you begin to understand yourself more and act from an authentic place, it will become more natural for you to keep putting your true self forward.

Always remember that there is no such thing as luck or magic in this world; everything is earned through hard work and self-improvement.

And one of the best strategists for living vibrantly is to have a firm understanding of yourself and your true life’s purpose.

Trust yourself. Know yourself. And keep exploring!

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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