This is the final week in a three week series surrounding the topic of how to find yourself. My hope is that it’s been an interesting journey for you and that you found something out about yourself you never knew. More importantly, I’m hoping I’ve introduced you to the world of introspection well enough that you would want to continue on your path of knowing yourself even deeper. That’s what this final week is all about - how do you get to know yourself even deeper?
There are three main components to knowing yourself deeper, some of which you have control over and some you don’t:
Time & Experience
Actively Exploring Yourself & Lifelong Learning
Discovering & Following Your Intuition
Let’s take these in order.
1.Time & Experience
When you want to know more about a particular subject in school there is always a clear, concise path of academia that leads you to the pinnacle of knowledge. Though school takes some time, there is evolution to literally everything on earth and in order to study something wholly you must learn with the evolution of the subject - in other words, school is not the be all that ends all. You must do continued education throughout your career. For instance, if you want to learn about microbiology, there are always new theories, new tools to use, and new findings. Regardless, you can finish a 4 year degree and call yourself a microbiologist. Consider time and experience your "continued education" when it comes to knowing yourself. Yes, it would be easier to take a course on yourself when you’re 20 years old so you can plan your life and live it perfectly, but none of us do not have this luxury.
There are things you must go through to know how you’ll react. And, over time, you learn. You’ll learn how you deal with death, job loss, money struggles, parenthood, etc.
Life is our greatest teacher and if you pay attention, it is always teaching us something.
My advice? Get really good at listening and learning, then you won’t need to repeat mistakes.
2. Actively Exploring Yourself & Lifelong Learning
When I say explore yourself I mean what you did last week - introspection. You, just like everything else, are constantly evolving - as you should. All of us have thoughts, emotions, personality traits, likes, dislikes, etc. that evolve over time; meaning everything we valued at 20 years old will change with time and you may find yourself having completely different preferences at 30. For instance, I have quite a few friends who, in their 20’s, preferred bbqs and beer whereas now they prefer international trips and fine whiskey.
Activity: If you want to see how much you’ve evolved, make a list of everything you valued 10 years ago and then make a list of everything you value now. If you’ve spent any time growing at all (which I’m sure you have) you’ll notice the lists vary quite a bit. If not, then look at the list now - is there anything you’d like to see change?
Next, within this point is being a lifelong learner of yourself. Naturally, as in point one, you want to listen to life and what it’s trying to teach you. Do you find yourself making the same choices with the same pitiful results? If so, maybe you haven’t listened to what life is teaching you and instead you have been rewarded with chance after chance after chance to get it right. Once you get it right, life will give you something new to learn. You will always evolve if you pay attention.
In this way you must be a lifelong learner of yourself and your life. Take notice of the changes, even if they’re small. Take stock of where you’ve been, how far you’ve come, and what it took to get to where you are today. Furthermore, if there are any areas of improvement create a task list for yourself of things that will help you improve.
Do this self-evaluation at least once a quarter.
3. Discovering & Following Your Intuition
Finally, this step will guide the first two steps. If you know how to hone into your intuition already, fantastic! You probably already knew the first two steps as well, then. For those who aren't familiar with their intuition, continue reading.
The quickest way to find your intuition is to be still.
You could meditate but really, just being still is good enough. Try it by first quieting your mind, then asking yourself a question. Now, wait. Eventually your intuition will give you an answer.
If you need to still your mind and you don't know how - find something that clears your head, for some that's exercise, others it's crafts, for me it's writing. Remove distractions. Close your eyes if you need to. When your mind is clear, wait about 15 seconds for all of that energy to calm down. Then ask your question and wait. If an irrelevant thought pops up, repeat the question.
This, too, can take time to develop and there are plenty of other ways to grow your intuition. After awhile, though, it will become second nature where you just have a "gut feeling" that you should or shouldn't do something. That's your intuition. Bonus: we all have it, it's just a matter of finding/hearing it.
When you discover it and, like life, listen to it, your life will take it's best path. The reason I know this is because I've tested it. Any and every time I listen to my intuition's judgement, my life goes swimmingly! Any and every time I have ignored my intuition, there are always consequences. I had to learn, just like you have to!
I hope you have found this three week series about finding yourself helpful and I'm always open to hearing your suggestions or experiences.
To continue going deeper:
Know that some self knowledge will come with time.
Keep journaling and go as deep as possible.
Lastly, try being still and listening to your inner guide.