Twelve years ago i embarked on a quest to understand myself and why i was put on this earth. This quest revealed amazing things. Those things i discovered helped guide me through that phase of my life and prepare me for the life i live today. This isn’t a very easy process but it is one you must embark on if you really want to fully optimize your life. It begins with what is in your hand. What is that one thing you don’t need to go to school to learn? What is that one talent everyone tells you about? That one thing you do easily when others struggle with it. To discover this;
Here are some points to consider if you really want to live optimally.
1. Let Your Past Teach You
What is your life’s story? If you really want to know who you are, the first place to begin is understanding yourself. What happened to us and how much we understand these things are the make or mar focal point of your life. Most of what you do today is as a result of “unresolved trauma’s” in your life. If you know your life’s story, you will maintain your psychological well-being.
The environment and attitudes around where we grew up form a major role in how we act as adults. When we are children, our parents love, criticisms and hostilities all make up who we grow up to be. Children’s personalities develop based on these and opposes the ongoing manifestation of the true personality of the individual.” Victims of rape or painful life experiences usually define themselves based on these thereby making them defective or triggering behavior that they are not aware of. For instance,an overtly critical parent may trigger overt defensiveness in a child. To break this pattern of behavior, it’s valuable to acknowledge what’s driving it. We should always be willing to look at the source of our most self-limiting or self-destructive tendencies.
Trying to pretend your past does not affect your present will make you loose your ability to discover your real self. On the other hand, reflecting on your past with a technique called “Mind-sight” (This is a focused attention that lets you see how your own mind works).This technique will allow you turn the most challenging moments of your lives into opportunities to deepen your self-understanding and your connections with others.”
2. Embrace Your Differentiation Process
This is a moment where work towards developing a sense of independence. You must be willing to differentiate between destructive interpersonal, familial and societal influences that don’t add any value to us.Separating your life from negative programming, remaining open-minded and staying vulnerable will lead you to a free life. To be able to differentiate yourself, here are steps to guide you with this.
Step 1: Stop dangerous and pain-inflicting internalized thought processes. Stop being critical, hostile towards yourself and others.
Step 2: Recognize the negative things you picked up from your parents. This might sound harsh but if you will be honest with yourself, you will always discover some negative qualities about your parents the older and more matured you get.
Step 3: Let go of every defensive attitude you have taught yourself to protect you from the pains of events from your childhood.
Step 4: Develop your own values, ideals, and beliefs rather than automatically accepting all those you grew up with. This is not a call for all-out rebellion against parents but an opportunity to honestly develope your value system using the positive values learnt.
3. Start Searching for Meaning
If your life lacks purpose and meaning, that is the real tragedy. Most of the individual counseling sessions i’ve had in my career were solved at the point the individual gained new purpose and meaning. Our survival as human beings depends on maintaining our sense of purpose. Understand who you are and not what other people expect of you.
When human beings strive for goals that extend beyond themselves, they tend to be generally happier. When you discover yourself, you will become happier.
4. Focus on What You Want
We always focus on what we do not have and this makes us fall into a victim mentality. So instead of reprogramming our minds, we complain and moan about what we do not have . Whatever it takes to properly focus you on the right things, DO IT. Change your environment, change your friends and you will see yourself focusing more on the things that do matter.
If you start looking at what you do want, your desires, wants etc. You start discovering what is important to you. This sounds simple right? No it’s not. It’s not easy because many people do not want to hope for something and then be disappointed or be vulnerable so they abandon this altogether. However, getting what we want makes us feel uncomfortable by sparking a wave of self-critical thoughts. To fully discover who we are, we must learn to silence the inner critic and let go of our defenses. Changing the way you look at life will make you feel more in touch with your real self. This helps you concentrate more on your core values and your truest self.
5. You Have Power
The moment you discover the power you have over your life, you start engaging in positive thinking, accepting yourself as a key player in our destiny. Learning to harness our personal power is important because as you develop, you will discover new strength, confidence and competence. Reject to be a victim of basic thought processes. “The government has limited us”, Taxation is crippling my business”, “The politicians are only taking care of their own” and so on.
6. Silence Your Inner Critic
A major part of being an adult is that you need to stop listening to your “critical inner voice”. This destructive thought process tells us we do not deserve to succeed. When we recognize and stand up to this thought pattern, we discover our real strength, ability and self. Creating a “state of upliftedness makes everything else possible in our lives—this then creates the “go for it!” spirit.
7. Live a Life of Compassion and Generosity
A saying by Mahatma Gandhi said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” When you live to serve other people with your newly discovered gifts, talents, skills etc. You suddenly embrace a sense of purpose that gives your life more value and meaning. Studies even show that people get more joy from giving than from getting. It benefits us to live a life of generosity as a mental health principle.
8. Understand the Role Family & Friends Play in The Process
You did not choose the family you were born into but the family unit defines who you are. As a child you had no input on where you spend your time, who you emulate etc. As an adult, you can now create a family system , look for people who make you happy, seek out people who support us positively and inspire us. This family isn’t always about people we are related to but also about a core group of people who become our allies or friends.
Building your family and friendship system is a key component in discovering yourself. This is because who you decide to surround yourself with has profound impact on how progressive or limited your life will become. Having a support system that believes in us helps us in realizing our goals and developing on a personal level.
As always, i hope this piece helped someone somewhere.When you choose to discover your true self and still remain authentic, you become an elevated human being operating on a level most people would not function in. Knowledge they say is power but i say in it’s right application lies real mastery.