I bet you can recall a time someone told you to “just be yourself.” At first, that may of been an easy thing to understand and put into use. However, as we get older, our mentalities, our passions, and our visions change.
And with these changes, our “self” has a hard time keeping up. We fall back into old habits easily when deterred, we resent change because of comfortability, and we shy away from opportunity out of fear of, and let’s face it, change.
Experiences are what fuel our identities.We learn constantly, whether passively or actively — our brains are always adapting and downloading information. The impact of learning is manifested by behavior through actions, which lead to results.
And like I mentioned earlier, if the results don’t add up to expectation, delay in your growth development happens. We so heavily rely on immediate results that we forget to focus on the progress at hand.
In this article, I am going to provide a step by step guide to understanding yourself.
What about you is you and how you can transform your identity and mindset.
Honesty is essential for this process to work for you.
Whether this be understanding faulty behavior or becoming more observant of your presence — acknowledgment is the first step. Establishing self-acknowledgment opens the doors to fully understanding yourself.
We must begin to see what our impact has on others and, more importantly, how we impact ourselves. The concept of impacting ourselves is mildly foreign, however, we do this everyday in some way.
Waking up a little later in the morning before work and not having enough time to look your best and pack a lunch. Or letting external emotions overcrowd your focus and control your actions.
Self-acknowledgement is a muscle and the more you work this muscle the better you are at using it. For the gym-goers, the more you work on self-acknowledgment — the larger your gains become.
The Falsehoods of Comfort Zones
Everyone on here talks about getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing new things. They aren’t wrong, however, there is a certain method in comfort zones that helps project you into understanding yourself.
Comfort zones are a safe space for experimentation. As you go through the rest of the steps, having a place to rely on to try new self-development techniques are key for solidified growth.
Arguably, getting out of comfort zones is incredibly better than staying in one. You get to experience new outlooks on life, take risks, advance in your understanding and knowledge of topics. However, your comfort zone can allow for this too, but because it is not “fear conquering,” it happens more gradually.
Your comfort zone is not concrete. It is not planted and constructed in one specific spot. It can morph, migrate, and transform just as quickly as you want. To advocate for leaving your comfort zone would delay your personal growth far too much for the purpose of this guide.
Whatever you have to do during the day, do it with intention. Do it with purpose and with sincerity. Find your true intentions before you decide to do something. By doing this, you can understand why you really want to do it.
To break it down, being intentional means to be purposeful with your words and actions. Earlier, I discussed how our experiences morph and change our perspectives on our lives. So does our intentions. By being able to understand your intentions, you begin to understand yourself.
Intentionality means to be actively engaged in your life and those you interact with freely and sincerely. We use intentionality as a basis for understanding ourselves to conduct an audit on our mindset and mentality.
When you embrace being intentional you are wanting to do more than just be. You strive to engage, involve, and lift up those around you which, in turn, rebuilds your own self-image passively.
We have all heard of this one. You hear this from your mentors, parents, church leaders, and sometimes (if you’re lucky) friends. Self-accountability is simply not lying to yourself.
We lie to ourselves way too much. We lie about our interests, our hopes and dreams, the impact a situation has had on us, and probably a million other things.
When we internally lie, we are false motivating ourselves. Keeping ourselves accountable on a daily basis keeps us affirmed on our missions and our pursuits. Accountability can be one of the hardest steps in self discovery and understanding, however, the tips below can help you learn to implement them.
Creating a Mission Statement
A personal mission statement doesn’t need to be poetic or profound, rather, it just needs to be honest and convey your core values.
Some helpful questions to use when brainstorming:
Why are you here?
What is it that you want to accomplish?
What do you want?
What do you value?
Right now, my mission statement is, “To live happy and optimistic, and to work diligently towards conquering my goals and passions earnestly.”
Creating a mission statement that speaks honestly to yourself is paramount in discovering true self-accountability.
There is a tremendous amount of information out there regarding conquering goals. Most of the time these are big, life changing goals that take years of work to accomplish. Micro-goals, on the other hand, allow for mini celebrations and progress to be visible in a much shorter time. These sort of goals are like stepping stones that serve to build a bigger dream.
When we accomplish something, it would be nice if someone rewarded us with a trophy. We like getting affirmations. Why not cut out the middle man and supply ourselves with rewards for accomplishments. I mean, we are our worst critic and hardest judge.
If you conquer a micro-goal and stay diligent with its progress, reward yourself. Not only is it fun to do, but it creates an incentive to continue growing.
Overcoming Past Impressions
This may be the hardest one. Some of these impressions are deeply ingrained in our DNA. We hold them tight in our grasp and refuse to let up. However, to fully dive into understanding yourself, you must overcome these past experiences healthily.
According to Newton’s third law, every action has an equal opposite reaction. So, for every negative past experience you’ve had, there is a positive to replace and supply your growth with. Talking openly about your emotions to trusted friends and family will give you the confidence you need to move forward.
Breaking It Down
Understanding yourself is paramount to living a healthy and happy life. We all go through periods of discovery while still holding onto past resentment, fears, and identities that no longer hold true. However, it is essential to self-growth that we stride past these lingering clouds and push forth into the sunlight.
It is a new day. A new discovery. And a new outlook on the rest of your life. Take hold of yourself and begin to understand your true identity.