You need to know who you are. Not because I say so, not because it's the trend-of-the-day to be self-aware (though it should be), but because you need to know who you are beyond how other people see you. If you don't, you'll live your life blowing paychecks on trends, toiling hours away in fitness classes and early Friday evening social gatherings you never wanted to be at in the first place, all while feeling this lingering sense of dissatisfaction.
Knowing who you are is step one to anything and everything else. It's what you must first be conscious of before you can determine what traits in a partner would be complementary, what kind of job you really want to have, and what you're willing to do to get it, how many of your friends you don't actually like and maybe what you could get involved in to meet some that you actually do.
Until you understand who you are at a very base level, you'll be living a life you've unconsciously designed for someone else, all while asking yourself why nothing you seem to try makes you feel better. So here, 10 ways to begin the process, for people who have never quite been sure what 'finding yourself' really means.
Make Lists Of Everything You Like/Dislike, You Value/Don't Value, And How You Want To Spend Your Time/How You Don't Want To Spend Your Time
When I was in high school, I had a really great friend whom I consulted at a difficult time, and this was the first thing she told me to do. She said that if there were any ways in which my life did not align with that list, I needed to come up with a plan to shift them. It was in a way a genesis of my understanding of how important introspective, intentional action is, and how drastically it can change your life for the better.
Evaluate The Physical Things Around You
What things do you keep in your space? Are there any patterns in terms of being: creative, a certain color scheme, a certain type of product. Do you own a lot of books? Make up? Art supplies? The things we unconsciously surround ourselves with define who we are in some way, even, and maybe especially, when those things are clutter and disorganization (that makes a statement too).
Evaluate The People And Relationships Around You
Is there a common issue you continually run into in your relationships? Do you feel as though everyone you've known has treated you, mysteriously, the same way? All those friends who bailed and relationships that fizzled out, that you've chalked up to a run of bad luck and ill fate? The common denominator is you. But before you'll be able to shift and step into the relationships you really want, you have to be able to evaluate why you don't have them yet.
Ask Yourself What Bothers You Most About Other People
It's what bothers you most about yourself, even (and especially) when you can't come to terms with that thing yourself.
Ask Yourself What You Love About Them, Too
What you admire in others is what you're capable of, or what you desire of yourself, if not what you've already positively actualized in your life. This is why to love another, you must love yourself first: you'll seek the best in them, as it will align with the best in you. A great way to come up with goals for yourself is to observe what you genuinely admire other people having done. Not what you feel jealous of, not what you also want to be seen as, but what you genuinely admire people doing.
If Money Were No Longer Necessary For You To Survive, What Would You Do With Your Days?
This says so much about a person, and I think that everyone should get to a point where they are, at least, saying they'd still do one or two things (if not everything!) they do for money. It shows you where your heart is, and the desires you should consider adjusting your life to. It may not be realistic to any one of those things full-time, but it's important because you a) need to know what they are, and b) how to at least incorporate them in small ways into your life.
Think About Who You Are Behind Closed Doors
How you speak about others, what you think and feel; what your genuine opinions are, when nobody else is around to filter or shift how you speak. Think about what you enjoy doing when nobody else is around, how you dress and what you're comfortable in. Maybe most importantly: how the person other people know you as differs from the one you really are.
Make A List Of Things You Think You Could Be Interested In, Then Actually Try Them
You'll never know if you don't try, and you'll never try if you don't know. Think about the things that have always seemed interesting to you. Give a free trial class a whirl, buy a book or watch tutorials on YouTube. Start doing yoga in your living room and vegan cooking for dinner. Whatever it is you find to be awesome, try and see where your hidden talents lie. As the saying goes, life is not about creating yourself, it's about unveiling yourself again. (OK, that's not how the saying goes, but that's how it should go.)
Think About What The People You've Had The Strongest, Most Genuine Feelings For Have In Common
Are they kind or passive or strong or driven? Do they all treat you the same way? Try to piece together the patterns in what you seek from others, it will tell you a lot about what you feel you lack.
Plan What You'd Do If You Knew You Only Had A Fixed Amount Of Time To Live
If your life were to end in three days: what would you do? Three months? Three years? Not to take a turn for the very morbid, but nobody really knows how long they have to chill here. That's not a call to freak out and further ignore your impermanence, but to do what you'd want to do if you knew you didn't have forever – you already don't. But more importantly: the things you'd want to rush to do if you didn't have much longer to live tend to be reflective (if not completely) what you're here to get done. Your "purpose" if you will. Be it self-imposed or not (not here to judge your belief system) let it carry you and show you who you are, but have the courage to know of it first.