November 17, 2017

Experts Share Powerful + Foolproof Ways To Get To Know Yourself On a Deeper Level

How To Know Yourself

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” 

- Eleanor Roosevelt

In this column, you will learn simple but powerful tips on how to know yourself on a deeper level from a wide range of experts. 

Clicking on the expert names below will take you to their individual blurb on how to know yourself.

# Consider the below 7 questions
Sarah-Bauer-Hernandez

“The privilege of a lifetime is being you are.” -Joseph Campbell

Getting to know yourself is the most important quest you can ever embark on. True fulfillment and happiness only exist when you understand yourself on a fundamental level. The depth of how well you know yourself is directly proportional to the depth of the questions you are willing to ask. Daring to see yourself clearly and allowing your authentic self to unfold gives your life purpose, meaning, and vitality.

Here are some questions to get you started on this brave journey:

1. Passion and curiosity

What lights you up? What brings you joy? What are you curious about?

The things you are drawn to are not random. Every little thing you love is a puzzle piece to your true nature. Keep track of when you are in an abnormally energetic and cheerful mood and to the things you are naturally good at. Your hobbies, interests, and obsessions will point directly to what makes you unique and what you can contribute to the world.

2. Shadows and fears

What are your biggest fears? What is the scariest thing you could do right now? What don’t you want to face about yourself?

Exploring your dark parts is just as important as basking in your lightness. Our shadow selves contain unconscious feelings, dreams, and even gifts we haven’t accessed yet.

When we discard parts of ourselves, we reject the core of who we are. Facing your shadow means delving into your past traumas, current patterns, and future fears. Turning towards what scares you allows you to fully integrate all parts of yourself and feel more whole.

​3. Inner voices

What does your inner critic say? Who would you be if you didn’t judge yourself?

Our inner critics can stand in the way of our happiness by tricking us into thinking we’re not worthy. Identifying the cruel voices of your inner bully can help you separate it from the voice of your higher wisdom.

It is important to explore limiting negative self-beliefs, which often stem from painful life experiences. Our inner critics are misguidedly trying to protect us from getting hurt, and they will quiet down when offered curious, loving attention.

​4. Other people

What kind of people do you surround myself with? Who do you admire and why? What irritates you the most in other people?

Take a look at the people you choose to spend time with and notice their qualities, as they will mirror back different parts of yourself. Write down the characteristics in others that you are drawn to and wish to emulate. The beautiful things you see in others exist in you as well. Additionally, the things that irk you about others are likely to be parts of yourself you haven’t accepted yet.

​5. Patterns

What are repeating themes in your relationships? Is there a roadblock that pops up each time you get close to your dreams? How might you be sabotaging your own happiness?

Our lives are one giant lesson, coming in the form of repetitive situations, conflicts, and cycles you just can’t shake. If you notice a pattern of behavior or situation that exhaustingly keeps repeating, it is time to look inward. There is something to learn, and it will keep happening until you address it.

​6. Consult your death

Imagine you were told you have five years to live, what would you do? How about one year? One month? One week? What are the recurring themes and how can you incorporate them more into your life?

There is no quicker way to clarify what is important to you in life than facing how short and fragile it is. This existential inquiry can give you instant and sometimes surprising insight on what you love doing, who is important to you, and what you want to do more of. Living your life knowing that you could die at any moment will help you keep your priorities and happiness at the forefront.

7. Keep exploring

In addition to asking yourself deep questions, contemplative exercises can help you get still enough to really see yourself. Meditation, mindful walks in nature, creating art, or journaling can help you access parts of your consciousness that have been buried. Try writing your personal story, with all of its twists and turns, and how these events have shaped you. Knowing yourself and owning your story gives you the power to create whatever life you desire.

Sarah Bauer Hernandez, MA, LPC – www.sarahbauerhernandez.com

# Use the below 5 tools
Dr. Carole Stokes-Brewer

“Life isn’t something you can give an answer to today.  You should enjoy the process of waiting, the process of becoming what you are.  There is nothing more delightful than planting flower seeds and not knowing what kind of flowers are going to come up.”  - Milton Erickson, MD

We are either growing or withering

Not knowing yourself is like being blindfolded and asked to follow a trail to the path of somewhere.  And, you will end up somewhere.  Not knowing can create anxiety, sadness, and patterns of beating yourself up even more.  This does not help to enjoy a journey that achieves goals.  

 There are times when our insight for direction fails.

To ignite who you are and your purpose, use these tools for self-awareness and growth:

1.  Plant seeds.

Our seeds can come from affirmations and positive thoughts.  What we say to ourselves can make a difference.  It’s been said that we have 70,000 thoughts a day.  The messages we are give ourselves help us with our growth or help us wither.  Émile Coué, a French psychiatrist believed in practicing positive affirmations.  

As a psychiatrist and pharmacist, he noticed that his patients needed less medication when he had them recite the following affirmation many times a day:  “Everyday in everyway, I’m getting better and better.”  It worked!  They did get better.  Write out your affirmation and place it in several places to remind you of it’s value.  What thoughts will you replace today?

2.  Space to grow

What space do you need?  Do you need more closeness with family and friends or more distance from some?  Seeds begin to form their roots with space to grow in.  Do you feel trapped?  What do you need to do?  

Maybe the space can be in silence.  

Gangaji, a spiritual teacher says, “When you are willing to stop looking for something in thought, you find everything in silence.”  Silence is a way to be present…to live in the moment.  It is only in the moment that renewal takes place.  Take time to breathe in a quiet place and listen to what happens in your moment.  Do this often.

3.  Nurturing

Seeds need water, sun, fertilizing and love.  We need daily rituals of self-care and safety.  We receive this nurturing through friends, companions, family, and through the things we are interested in.  Spirituality can also be nurturing. Ways that enrich and inspire are to be sought.  What do you need?  Make a list with two columns.  On one side, list your interests.  

On the other side, list what is in your way.  Check the items you can strengthen.  On the other side of the list, eliminate what’s in the way.  Ask yourself, “Are you lost in the world or lost in your thoughts?  Get out of yourself.  Give to others and then you will find joy.

4.  Becoming

Enjoy becoming.  That is the art of knowing.  As you practice becoming it’s one of the greatest gifts to experience. This is the time to make a list of your assets. If this is difficult, ask someone close to you to describe how they see you. Then ask someone else to do the same.  Reflect upon your descriptions.  

Like a seed that takes root, receives nourishment from the earth, struggles to move above the soil, then gracefully branches out to form leaves, buds, and ever so slowly begins to bloom. Essential tools are needed.  Sunlight, water, fertilizer when necessary, and of course, love.  Getting out of yourself to give and share and be with others, with other activities, and self-reflection increase the strength of the bud that begins the journey of a flower.

5.  Being

Self-judgment is like a shadow blocking the sun that you need.  Being…just being allows the sun to come in, just enough to help the growth.  Being is where our messages of hope, faith and belief come from.  Being recharges us.  It keeps us in reality, instead of yesterday where we cannot change and tomorrow is an illusion, as we do not know what it brings.  

Being is a way of sitting with our thoughts and becoming aware of them.  It’s the thoughts we are unaware of that control us.  When we practice being, through breathing, meditation, prayer, or silence.  Any activity that you can get lost in can increase awareness and growth.

On this journey of self-growth, gather your seeds and dig room for them to grow

You can have other seeds join you to spring up together. Delight in who you are becoming.  Have you noticed that when you are smiling, pleasant, and open, that people respond the same?  When you smile, the world smiles back.

Allow yourself to see what you don’t allow yourself to see.”  - Milton Erikson, MD

Carole Stokes-Brewer, Ph.D. – www.changingwayz.com

# Through experience
Ashley-Davene

​In creative writing one of the things that is frowned upon most is copying someone’s style.

Not having your own unique and individual voice but showing up as a distant echo to someone else’s work. We can feel the inauthenticity and it’s a turn off. The same is true in our own lives, until we truly know ourselves… we copy others styles but they are never truly ours, we cant fully own them, something will always be off. You have a unique style and a unique persona and it’s important not just for yourself, but also for the world, that you show up and be who you uniquely are.

So how do you do that? Through experiences. Through time… through trying on different styles, we come to more fully understand and know ourselves. Every time we submerge ourselves in a new experience we see new parts of ourselves revealed if we can witness the way we react. Were you defensive and did you dispel the compliment or did you genuinely take it in and receive it because you know you’re worthy of such? Did you say what you meant to say in that important moment or did you choke up?

Every time we have an experience if we can reflect on it just long enough to witness how we showed up then we can learn from all of them. We can take what we learn and continue to use it to understand who we are; our strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, greatness, skills, love languages etc. and we can also begin the growth work necessary to refining ourselves so we have that stronger sense of self and can show up fully.

Ask questions

Ask important questions… ‘what does love mean to you’ ‘What is your heart desiring?’ ‘What’s your purpose, your passion… are you happy, fulfilled, hopeful, angry, holding grudges?’

Sit with a pen and paper even maybe and write the responses. It’s good to have that experience now to get some clarity but these are questions to ask yourself often and always… what makes me feel really good? What’s healthy and satisfying for me? 

These are the things to go to in life when your security is shaken, when you’re going through difficulties and struggles and so forth. These are the things that will bring you back to, that will remind you who you are. If we never ask the questions, then we don’t know how to show up for ourselves.

Through your experiences with others, lovers specifically.

Relationships in our lives can be giant mirrors, reflecting back to us deeper visions of who we are. If we can witness how we show up through the eyes and experiences that we have with others we can more deeply know, love, and grow ourselves.

Do you have some walls up still and push your lover away in moments of struggle in your life, are you used to dealing with things on your own and can you soften, can you trust? Can you let someone in to support and love you? Can you recognize that you’re never alone here… that all it takes for you to succeed is one person to love you and that can be yourself. Can you believe and witness through the eyes of your lover how worthy you are? Can you feel the beauty in you that they see?

The grace… the humor, the compassion that they have for you as they witness your vulnerable moments. Can you take that in and embody that compassion for yourself?

Knowing yourself is confidence, wisdom, grace, humility.

When you know yourself you attract the right things, people, opportunities, experiences. So take the time, start now, put the kettle on, take a deep breath, ask the questions. You’re worth it.

Ashley Davene, Relationship Counselor - www.ashleydavene.com

# Practice the below action items
Dr. Ilene S. Cohen

“The Privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

We’re all unique individuals.

We should be able to act authentically and connect with who we are and what we value. Knowing yourself and becoming confident in who you are, isn’t as easy as it may sound. The difficult part is figuring out who you are, what you value, and what is important to you.

It is especially hard to know yourself when living in a culture that sends us constant messages about who we should be and what we should like. It makes it challenging for us to separate what we want from what other people want. It is hard to know ourselves and find our own voice in the midst of so many other dominant ideas and opinions.

So, let’s get started with how you can know yourself, even when others live differently.

To truly know yourself and be known by others, you must distinguish yourself by figuring out what your values, beliefs, and truths are, apart from other people’s opinions about what they should be. You must begin to make choices for your life, instead of looking to others to make decisions for you.

If you’re tired of wishing you had the strength to say no, if you’re overwhelmed by living a life others expect you to, if you wish you didn't have to work so hard for approval, if you don’t have the courage to express your feelings or the ability to be happy with who you are, then you know you’re living a life that isn’t congruent with who you are. You know you aren’t living for yourself.

Below are some tips on how to know yourself:

Differentiate yourself.

Look within, distinguish yourself from your surroundings, allowing you to become more self-aware. Before you make any decisions—especially life altering decisions—you have to figure out what you want and how you want to spend your time.

People who know themselves make decisions for themselves automatically. But it takes time to get there. The process of defining a self, especially later in life, can be slow. Take your time and remember that knowing yourself happens through the decisions you make.

Create a strong sense of self.

When developing a sense of self, it helps to stay in conversation with yourself, always exploring new ways to be who you want to be. You can do this by becoming the observer of your own life, which will help you be more attuned with your inner self. When a situation occurs, take a step back and watch your process, thoughts, and feelings, without trying to react immediately.

For example, if someone asks you to do something for them, you don’t have to answer right away. Instead, you can say, “Let me get back to you.” This will give you some time to really consider your options, without having to make an instant decision. Your automatic responses can lead you in a direction that isn’t in line with yourself, and you may end up regretting it later if you don’t take your time to answer.

See challenges as a way to know yourself.

When you’re faced with difficult situations in life, try to see them as opportunities for you to decide who you are and see what you’re capable of.

As Neale Donald Walsch says in his book Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, “each circumstance is a gift, and in each experience is hidden treasure.”

When you continue to act in ways that don’t align with your values, you rob yourself of the opportunity to experience who you want to be in different situations and circumstances. How you choose to behave, think, and feel are all expressions of who you want to be.

When you observe your self without judgment or impulsivity, you’re making a decision about who you are; you’re getting to know You. Situations in life, even negative ones, can always serve as opportunities.

Apply these actions to your life.

There are a few ways that you can practice knowing yourself in your daily life, allowing You to move through life as a more distinguished self:

a. Make a real effort to have your feelings line up with your logical brain by looking at the facts every situation,

b. Practice sitting with the discomfort that comes from your wants not being immediately satisfied, 

c. Think about your personal values instead of imposing them on other people,

d. When people in your life upset you or you don’t agree with them, try to stay connected to them rather than pulling away, 

e. Have your own ideas, values, and thoughts even if others disagree with them,

f. Look beyond your initial impulsive reactions so you can see your real intentions, and act in ways that better fit with who you want to be versus what your impulses dictate.

Take obstacles, situations and interactions with people as an opportunity to express who you are, who you want to become, and how you want to express your true self.

The only way to really know who you are is to try on certain actions for size and see how they make you feel. Over time, you may notice that acting in ways that fit with who you are simply feels better than acting in ways that don’t naturally align with your true nature.

Dr. Ilene S. Cohen, Ph.D. – www.doctorilene.com

# Follow the 6 tips below
Polly Green

Curled up in a tight ball, staring out the airplane window into the wide open expanse of infinite surreal clouds, tears streamed down my face the entire two hour journey to Kuala Lumpur.

Feeling lost, overwhelmed, and sad my internal reset button needed pushing.

Time alone in nature, under the deep blue sea finds me back home within myself, always, and the plane could not fly me there fast enough.

Tuning in to my heart, my inner little girl was hiding and scared. “Why did you abandon me?” Little PG asked dejected, vulnerable, and shaking. “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”

I repeated the ancient, Hawaiian, HO'OponoPono, forgiveness mantra, to my little, innocent self over and over until she came out of her dark closet reclusion. “I feel you, and I know we are not travelling well at the moment. It is time to do something about it. I know what makes you happy. I am honouring you, making space and time for you to play, and reconnect.”

Letting go of the drama, trauma, and overwhelm, through solitude in mother nature and the sea, provided the solution.

Life happens for us not to us.

External triggers act as signposts that a lesson needs learning.

My lesson this month was learning the importance of saying NO.

Knowing when I need time alone, before overwhelm hits, takes daily practice.

Life gets busy, and people want our attention. Meeting a friend for a coffee when what I really needed was time alone provided the trigger catapulting me into self reflection.

My friend talked about herself the entire coffee date, and my inner little girl threw a temper tantrum, “ME, ME what about ME!? Polly you don’t make enough time and space for me.” Little PG was right. She needed my attention, and it was going everywhere else but to her.

Feeling the anger, pain, and sadness triggered by my narcissistic friend, forced me to go deeper and ask what my little inner girl needed to get us both back on track. Without numbing, running or denying the pain, allowing it to flow revealed the deeper truth.

My little inner girl needed my attention.

She needed time out and for me to give her that in a place that she loves. We went scuba diving on a remote island in Indonesia. She is now happy, refreshed, and recharged and trusts me again to take care of her.

Getting to know ourselves takes practice, time, attention, and awareness.

Here are my top tips on how to know yourself better:

1. Spend time everyday with your inner little girl/boy you. She/he lives in your heart. Drop down from your head space into your heart space. Visualize yourself as a small child safely living in a room designed by them in your heart. Go in and knock on their door. Begin a gentle dialogue with them. What are they doing? How do they feel? What do they need to feel safe, cared for and loved?

2. What makes the little child you happy? Get out a pen and paper, and make a list of what these things are.

3. Commit to doing things that the little you needs and wants to do. Spend twenty minutes a day with the child you. Perhaps she likes coloring with magic markers, going for a walk, playing with the dog, going for ice cream, swinging on a swing, swimming in the ocean, or dancing. Tune in and make your list.

4. Find of photo of you as a cute, innocent child and put it on your desktop or altar or somewhere you will see it everyday as a reminder.

5. Now it is your responsibility to take care of your little one. No one else can do this for you.

6. Make the little you top priority. Listen to them, and they will bring you home within yourself.

Getting to know yourself starts with getting to know the little version of you. This is who you truly are, before the layers of life covered you over. Unravelling the layers and turning inwards, opens the door, allowing you to reconnect.

Knowing and taking care of ourselves is the most important, valuable action we can take today.

When our little ones within feel seen, heard, loved, and appreciated, our inner cups overflow. Only then can we truly give to others. Making ourselves top priority is the most giving thing we can do and how to truly create a change in the world.

We are all we ever have. Become your own best friend, and marry yourself. Begin this vital relationship now, and embark on the best love affair you will ever have. No one else can give you this, and it is not for sale.

Knowing yourself and what you need to feel balanced, clear, centered, and aligned makes life worth living.

When the little one within feels nurtured and cared for, joyful ease oozes out of us. This energy touches everyone in our radius. We are friendlier and more appreciative of others, when we give this attention to ourselves first.

Commit to taking the first step to getting to know yourself  by turning off FaceBook for twenty minutes and spending that time with your inner little you. It will be time well spent and you are worth it. 

Polly Green, Yoga and Meditation Teacher - www.pollyhgreen.com

# Follow the 7 simple practices
Dr Perpetua Neo

1. What am I truly passionate about— what do I learn/do/breathe out of my own will, on a Sunday when I’m supposed to be doing other things? What do you not have to coerce/pay me to do, and I’ll still do it? This passion can be harnessed especially when we feel like we’re stuck/apathetic/procrastinating. 

2. What about my passions am I slightly embarrassed about— this question guides us about the things we may feel ashamed about, which leads us to hide our passions, so we cannot be our fullest authentic selves.

3. Am I introverted/extroverted/ambivert— this teaches us how we recharge best, whether it is with/without people, or a mix of both.

4. Where in my body do I hold niggling chronic pain— trauma is stored in our cells, so understanding where can help us to release pains and woes that we believe are supposed to haunt us for the rest of our lives. 

5. What am I most ashamed and/or guilty about— releasing these helps liberates us from needless unconscious mental/physical anguish

6. What stops me from voicing my truth— losing our voices is extremely disempowering. Owning this helps us own our story, rather than be owned by it.

7. What am I here in this world to make a difference to— this gives us a purpose in our lives. 

8. What are my top three superpowers that make me who I am, that give me an edge over everyone else. 

Some of the simplest practices would be via:—

1. Journalling— even in a Gratitude Journal, you’ll be surprised at how much of the above themes may come out. Also it makes us better people as giving/operating from a place of gratitude gives us more peace. Intention Journalling can also reveal these themes.

2. Reflections— I recommend that clients ‘integrate’ their lives, lessons and wisdoms twice a lunar month. Our calendars don’t really make sense, so the lunar calendar can be useful. During the new moon, we reflect on what we’d like to usher in. During the full moon, on our lessons and what we’d like to release.

3. Personality tests— The MBTI is great for helping us understand our personality type, so we can harness ourselves to our full potentials, rather than work against who we are.

4. Natal chart readings— People who have their time, date and city of birth often find that reading their natal chart is the best psychological test ever. Beyond simply checking your generic sun sign in Cosmopolitan, your natal chart is all about what is going on in the sky at the time of your birth, and relative to what’s going on right now. It reveals your gifts and strengths, as well as your challenges which you can mutate into your superpowers. 

5. Asking a friend/trusted person

6. Therapy/coaching sessions

Dr. Perpetua Neo - www.perpetuaneo.com

# Trust within
Melissa Pennel

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” –Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The process of finding yourself can be challenging, especially if you’ve spent much of your life people pleasing—as I did.

When I was twenty, a friend of mine pointed this out; she noticed that I never seemed to have any opinions or preferences.

Where to eat, who to date, even how I felt: I was a book constantly open for revision. “Ya know, Melissa,” she said one day over a smoothie. “If you don’t stand for anything, you’ll fall for everything.”

Her comment stung at the time, but she was right: over the years I fell for the wrong relationships, the wrong careers, even the wrong hobbies. I didn’t know myself, and therefore it was impossible to know what (or who) I wanted.

In the years since I’ve learned that my story is not uncommon: many of us spend a great deal of time trying to shape ourselves into who we think we should be, rather than discovering who it is we actually are. Embarking on my own process of self-discovery, I’ve found some important tools that have helped me cut through the thickets of the “who am I?” question; the practices and reflections listed below can aid in peeling the onion of self and pave the way for continuous discovery.

Look back and figure out who you’re not.

You’ve likely made mistakes. Moved to the wrong places, chosen the wrong career, or dated a less-than-ideal partner. Rather than beating yourself up for the past you can’t change, examine it. Put on a pair of non-judgmental glasses, turn the memories over, and ask yourself:  what felt wrong back then? Why did I dislike living in that place, dating that person, or doing that job? Recognize that the flip side of many mistakes is perspective for the future: we can often learn far more about who we are by realizing who we’re not.

Turn within.

We spend a lot of our lives listening to other people tell us what we want. Flip on the TV and watch a commercial tell you what car to drive, what food to eat, and how to feel while you do it. Our culture inundates us with expectations of “Just do this, and you’ll be happy!”-- But society doesn’t account for our individual differences.

Maybe driving a Lexus feels great for one person, but driving a VW van suits another far better. 

Maybe everybody on Instagram seems to love travel, but you spend your vacations missing your dog.

Ultimately, cultural messages of what should bring fulfillment and peace can cloud our vision of who we actually are on the inside. Taking some time to unplug and tune out can do wonders for teasing the inner self from the outside world.

Get quiet.

Sometimes trying to turn within ourselves can be difficult because our minds are flooded with thoughts-- even when the outside world is turned off. Our internal programming is likely filled with messages that we never meant to believe, but still do; these inner voices have been playing for so long that they feel like us.

This is where having a practice of meditation can be helpful: a few minutes each day of simply watching these thoughts fly by.

Meditation has been compared to taking a “shower” of the mind—while most of us shower our bodies daily, we don’t pay much attention to what’s building up in our inner world. Giving yourself a mindful “time out” at the beginning of each day can wipe the foggy mirror of self, and give you a clearer perspective on who it is you really are.

Remember that who you are will change.

Ultimately, we humans are constantly shifting and forming. Who I am today is a million miles from who I was ten years ago, and the same will likely be true in another decade. But while some parts of myself have most definitely changed, many other aspects simply had to be unearthed: dusted off, examined, and invited back to the surface of my everyday life. The excavation of self is a long and winding road, but in treading it, we pave the way to our most meaningful and fulfilling life—which is worth all of the stumbles we might encounter along the way.

 Melissa Pennel, Empowerment Coach & Writer – FollowYourFireCoaching.com

# Follow the 4 steps below
Leslie Ralph

Just be yourself. Easy, right?

It's the perfect advice for every situation.

First date? Be yourself.

Job interview? Be yourself.

First-time parent? Be yourself.

It's not bad advice. Imagine how painful that first date is when you're trying to be the person you think your date's looking for. Picture the sweat dripping down your face in that job interview as the search committee looks at you expectantly. (What do they want from me?!) And can't you just feel the weight of the comparisons and guilt you feel as a first-time parent sifting through advice from people who seem to know better than you.

Just be yourself. It's the key to authentic living, unlocking your passions, and attracting the right kind of people into your life.

But...what no one ever tells you is how.

Just who is this person you're supposed to be when you're being yourself?

For many of us, who we really are is buried so deep beneath years of fitting in and meeting expectations that we don't even know that person inside anymore. And sometimes, we're even afraid of what we'll find if we just open our eyes (and hearts) and look.

The truth is, it can be scary to get to know yourself. What if that person's not who you think you should be? What if you see all your flaws? What if other people don't like this new, authentic you?

Does this resonate with you? Breathe. You're in good company.

While it's true that truly knowing yourself is a lifelong, sometimes uncomfortable journey, it's one that's worth it. 100%.

If you want to begin that journey toward self-awareness, here are a few tips that can help you take your first steps.

But first, a few ground rules:

1. Because it can be scary, give yourself a lot of space, respect, and patience. You're doing hard work.

2. Expect that there will be surprises. The twists and turns along the way mean that you're making progress.

 3. Be a person you can trust. No exceptions.  

4. Show up with an open heart, open eyes, and open hands. Be ready to see, hold, hear, and offer comfort to whatever you find.

 These ground rules will put you in the heart and headspace that allow you to really know yourself from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Inside and out.

And then when you're ready, you can follow these steps to begin the journey toward knowing yourself:

Step 1: Make the Introduction

Think of how you first met your best friend or your partner. You slowed down, showed up, extended your hand, and said, "Hi."

As you got to know this new person, you probably got to know all of them. You saw their quirks. Their strengths. Their inspiring qualities. (And their flaws.)

For those select few who were really worth it, you cleared a little space for the whole package in your life.

Guess what. You're worth it, too. So, slow down, show up, place your hand over your heart and say, "Hi, self." Close your eyes, breathe, and notice whatever feelings arise.

Step 2: Pay Attention

As you go about your day, pay attention to what you do, think, and say. I recommend carrying around a notebook for this, even if you're not a big journaler.

Practice jotting things down as they come up. Just a few quick words will do.

See something that makes you smile?

Have an idea that excites you?

Something bringing you down?

Perfect. Get it on paper.

You might begin with a clear objective like learning about the things that bring you joy, the things you're hopeful about, the things you're afraid of, your strengths, or your passions. Or you can go in with no agenda at all.

Once you have a few pages of notes, make a date with yourself to go through your notes. Think of this as an all-night gab fest with your best friend.

Put on your favorite music, grab your favorite treat, and set aside 15-30 minutes to go through your notes. Highlight the things that stand out. Put stars next to the phrases that come up over and over. Write your epiphanies in the margins.

Step 3: Settle down and tune in

Just like getting to know someone you care about, sometimes you need to get out of the way and listen. Give yourself a few minutes as close to every day as you can to get out of the way, get quiet, and listen. 10-15 minutes would be great, but work with what you have.

During those minutes, you're only job is to be quiet and notice. There's nothing you need to think about. Nothing you need to feel. You don't need to have any big realizations or learn anything new.

Just notice what's going on in there.

It will take a few minutes for the mind chatter to settle down. That's totally normal. Picture the snow falling in a snow globe as you let your mind quiet down.

When you do this, resist the urge to push thoughts away or hold on to them. This is a no-judgment, no-control zone.

Step 4: Be willing to show up again and again

Make the conscious decision to show up and be the person you can trust, just as you do for the people you love most.

When you get to know your boundaries, honor them.

When your intuition's calling (and it will), listen.

Validate the good things you see and offer kindness to your weaknesses. Make this your new way of life, especially when things get tough.

These steps are a fresh start in your relationship with you and your vow to keep showing up this way every day. Repeat them as often as you like and trust that there is a wonderful person worth meeting waiting inside of you.

Dr. Leslie Ralph - www.ayearofhappy.com​​

# First look within yourself and identify the inherent strengths and qualities that are already within you
Heather-LeGuilloux

Comparing ourselves to others is a completely normal part of human nature.

From this automatic comparison, we find ourselves striving to be better at a particular skill in order to be recognized by our boss, working overtime to appear more successful and to make more money, or desperately trying to improve our appearance to fit in or be liked by a certain group of people. The consequence of these comparisons can be that we lose sight of what makes us unique and the qualities that make us who we are as individuals.

Rather than spending so much time trying to be like others in our lives, we need to change our way of thinking about internal growth and self-improvement.

In order to foster our own internal growth, it’s necessary to first look within ourselves and identify the inherent strengths and qualities that are already within each of us and that can help us reach our goals. Ultimately, we need to be striving for self-improvement for ourselves, not others.

One way of investigating our internal strengths is to examine our past and present selves through a positive perspective, highlighting our achievements and areas of growth while we discover more about who we really are.

Use a journal and explore your answers to the following questions. 

Find a quiet and comfortable environment to ask yourself these questions on your journey towards fostering positive internal growth:

- What personal goals have I achieved so far in my life?

- How have these achievements shaped me personally (eg. what personal strengths or characteristics have emerged as a result of these achievements)?

- Has there been any obstacles in my way that I have been able to overcome?

- How has overcoming these obstacles benefited me in a positive way?

- What is one area of personal growth I have started to work on that I can continue to focus on in the future? What can help me to focus on this particular area of personal growth?

The achievements to consider during this exercise can be big or small, like finishing a project or learning a new skill, yet the positive implications of exploring the outcome of these achievements can have on your internal growth can be profound.

Remind yourself that your own personal growth and self-improvement matters and that spending time exploring these parts of yourself will help you today and into the future. It’s okay, and even natural, to compare yourself to others, as long as you remind yourself of the value and self-worth that you already have inside yourself.

Heather LeGuilloux, MA, RCC - www.heatherleguilloux.ca

# To know yourself means knowing your personality and your belief system
Carrie Burns

How does anyone truly know themselves?  

What if you spend your entire life not really knowing yourself?  Or, maybe you know yourself but you keep living a lie because it’s safer or easier or so you keep telling yourself.

What does it mean to know who you are?

Do you know who you are deep down in the depths of your soul? Do you know what motivates you or what keeps you from achieving?  Do the voices in your head tell you the truth or are they telling you things that everyone has led you to believe?

What about Personality?

We come into the world with a genetic code. Certain things that are pre-determined such as hair and eye color, height and body type.  These are things you cannot change (without some hair dye or colored contacts). 

According to Myers-Briggs there are sixteen personality types (if you don’t know yours you can do a quick test here).  No matter how many times I take this test over the years I come out the same.  I’m an INFJ, rarest of all personality types.

The Myers-Briggs results will help you understand how you navigate the world and what types of romantic relationships, careers, friendships you should have and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Knowing your personality type is a great place to start in the quest to know yourself, or at least understand yourself better.  Embrace your personality instead of fighting to be something you’re not or someone you think you should be.

The older I get the more I accept who I am.  Life is too short to fight against your nature.

Then There Are Beliefs

Beliefs are a much more difficult concept when it comes to knowing who you are. My guess is people (usually parents and teachers) have told you all your life what they think you are or what they think you should be.

Are you the smart one? The pretty one?  The ugly one? The stupid one?  The lazy one?  Were you told that you could accomplish anything you wanted or that you would always be a failure?

If you want to know yourself you need to understand which beliefs are true and which were hoisted upon you by the outside world.  Accept those beliefs that serve you well and dump those that don’t.

Dumping beliefs that don’t serve you can be a struggle, but if you want to know who you are and what you believe about yourself you have to figure out a way to do it.

Sit down one day with a piece of paper and write out everything that you think about yourself and every trait (good and bad) you think you have.  Here’s a list to help you out.

Then, think long and hard about that list and whether those traits apply to you or if someone has assigned something to you that doesn’t belong. 

For example, growing up I always felt that I was too much to handle or that I was too emotional and/or emotionally intense.  But, when I step back I realize that isn’t a truth. I may be intense but it isn’t too much. It’s only too much for people who shy away from emotional connection and my job is to steer clear of those people.

To know yourself means knowing your personality and your belief system.  

Spend some time journaling or meditating or writing or thinking about who you truly are when you strip away all of the external bullshit. 

Everyone says you need to love yourself first. But, before you can love yourself you need to know and accept yourself.  You need to be proud of who you are strengths, weaknesses, flaws and sparkles.

Because in the end “Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – Dr. Seuss

Carrie Burns, Blogger - www.acinglife.com

# Consider the below 3 things
Erica Carrico

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you… so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” ~Unknown

From the time we are little, we’re heavily influenced by our families, friends, teachers, and society.

Until we’re old enough to start making our own decisions, our family essentially decides everything about our lives. From what we wear, to what we eat, to where we live, to what activities or sports we participate in, and even our spiritual beliefs.

Whether we realize it or not, our families and friends usually influence major decisions in our lives even after we’ve moved away like what careers we choose, where we live, how we spend our money, and even relationships we remain in. For many of us, there’s a deep-seated desire to make our parents proud so we subconsciously make decisions in our lives to do just that. 

I remember turning 27 and feeling like I had hit a brick wall.

I was living in a beautiful little apartment in downtown Denver, working 60 hours a week in a successful corporate career. I had wonderful friends and from the outside looking in, my life seemed amazing. So why did I feel like something wasn’t right? Like something was off?

I was restless, anxious, and quite possibly depressed.

I felt like joy, love, and passion were missing from my life. I was trying to live everyone else’s dreams rather than my own. I had become a watered-down version of myself by living my life based on what I “should” be doing rather than what my heart was telling me to do.

That realization was what kick-started my journey of self-discovery – of really getting to know myself down to my core being.

If you’re feeling a bit lost, like you’ve been living your life based on everyone else’s dreams, here are a few tips to get back on track and really get to know yourself:

1. Find out what you love.

So often we end up doing things that other people love, we never take the time to figure out what lights us up. Take some time to sit in silence with no distractions. Turn off your phone, turn off the radio, turn off the tv. Remove all thoughts of pleasing other people. What makes your heart happy? What makes you smile?

Is it hiking in the mountains or spending time by the beach? Is it lifting weights in the gym or yoga outside on the earth? Do you prefer to be with a group of people at a social event or spend time alone with a book? Are you into adventure travel or do you prefer to stay closer to home?

Write a list of 30 things you love to do and make it a point to do one of those things each week. Over time you’ll really learn what fuels your soul, what heals your heart, and what you love.

2. Determine what your values are.

We all have values that we live by, but which ones are yours and which ones are values of people you spend your time with? Take some time to reflect and answer these questions. What type of person do you want to be? What kind of life do you want to live? Who do you want to surround yourself with?

What is important to you? What do you want your legacy to be? Who do you want to help?  What value will you create for the world?

Our values shape our lives and our future.

When we aren’t living in alignment with our core values, we’ll never be truly happy. When I was working in my corporate job, I was miserable. I had chosen to live by values such as wealth, security, popularity.

I knew I was in the wrong career because what I really valued was helping people, being of service, freedom, and living a life full of passion and purpose. Once I changed careers and moved into the non-profit sector which was more in alignment with my core values, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I no longer felt like an imposter.  

3. Learn to differentiate between your ego and your inner being.

We constantly have thoughts running through our minds and unless we make it a point to tune into our inner being, we spend most of our days lost in thoughts created by our ego. The problem with this is, the ego is designed to keep us safe. It creates thoughts such as fear, self-doubt, criticism to keep us from stepping outside our comfort zone. Our ego tells us things like “we’re not smart enough to start that business”, or “having money isn’t for people like me.”

The first step is to quieting our minds and sitting in stillness. Allowing the thoughts to pass freely through our mind and acknowledging them for what they are (knowing they are only thoughts – we are not out thoughts). And as quickly as they come, let them go.

In these moments of quiet and stillness, you’ll begin to feel your inner being speaking to you. It feels like love, inspiration, happiness, joy. What thoughts and ideas are coming to you that make you feel good? Spark excitement? Exude happiness? This is your inner being speaking to you.

The more we learn to quiet our minds, tune into our hearts, and recognize our egoic thoughts for what they are (just thoughts) we are more able to hear the voice of our soul.

Hear guidance from our spirit. Tune into our intuition – our innate wisdom. That’s where our power lies. That’s where our true selves lie. Our inner being is who we need to get to know, embrace, and allow to rise to the surface.

Getting to know yourself takes time.

It’s important to remember that knowing yourself is not a destination to strive for, but a lifelong journey of learning and beautiful discovery.

Erica Carrico, Certified Career & Life Purpose Coach - www.ericacarrico.com

# Ask yourself the below 5 questions
Alicia Rodriguez

Do you have a personal elevator speech?  “Hi, I’m (YOU) and I’m someone who (fill in the blank.)

It’s not as easy as it seems, is it?

Are you one of the many people who are still confused about what your purpose is?

I'd like to offer you a provocative and alternative approach to purpose, one that I have used with many clients who have been in a maze of confusion about who they are and what they want to express in their lives. It’s based on self-knowledge, an inner inquiry, not an external seeking.

You Already Know

When you were a child you didn’t stop to think about why you should play jump rope or run through puddles or skateboard. It was just something you did because you wanted to, because it felt good, because it was a way to express yourself.

You didn’t wait for someone to tell you the rules; you made them up yourself. And when you were done with your activity, you just stopped. If something else caught your attention you did that. You didn’t wake up each day with a to do list or a strategic plan.

Your days were filled with curiosity and learning, exploring new things and integrating those things that aligned with your joy. You came to know yourself through the activities you engaged in.

Watch children and you’ll see them move from one thing to another like butterflies among sweet flowers. Once they’re full, they move on. We adults, however, are controlled by arbitrary schedules and deadlines. They determine where our attention and energy flow even when we’re aware that it’s not healthy, wise or enjoyable.

When you are constantly bombarded by images of the perfect woman, wife, friend, daughter, mother, teacher, entrepreneur, Instagram personality — on and on — you sub-consciously compare yourself to others. This superficial measurement outranks your self-affirmation. You begin to believe what others tell you about how your life should be instead of self-validating your desires and dreams.

The trouble with seeking your purpose is that you’re focused on the external as if purpose existed out there somewhere hidden behind glossy Instagram pictures and stories of successful people doing amazing things.

5 Questions To Knowing Yourself Today

1. What is it that you could not stop doing because it would be like not breathing?

I’ve been writing since I was ten. In third grade my teacher told me I couldn’t write. I went home devastated, crying as if my life were over. When I told my mother what the teacher said, she asked one of the wisest questions I’ve ever been asked. She asked, “Do you believe her?” My answer, “no”, came so quickly that my hurt ego never had a chance to interfere. “So what’s the problem? Keep writing,” said my mother. And I did. Not because I cared about my teacher but because I cared about my soul. I could not stop writing because it would be like not breathing.

2. What’s happening when you lose track of time?

Watch great performers, musicians, athletes, and artists at their craft. Look into their eyes and you will see both a vastness and a focus of intention. There are those moments of exquisite presence where the world falls away and all that is left is the deepest part of your soul expressing itself through your art, skill or talent.

That vastness is the connection to a universal energy that allows your art to flow. The focus is your intentional channeling of that energy into the activity that involves you completely. What is that for you?

3. What would you do if money or belonging were not an issue at all?

These are the two principal drivers of self-censorship when it comes to going after what you really care about. If you feel that your longing is at odds with making a living you’ll never go after what truly matters to you. Money is the biggest saboteur of dreams. If your approach to money is from a place of scarcity then there will never be enough money to follow your longing. There will always be an excuse NOT to listen to the little voice of longing.

What if you decide to take that courageous step into an unknown future, the one where you’re doing what you know in your heart you’re meant to do? And then people leave you or ostracize you because now you are no longer “one of them”? Our need to belong is so strong that it will keep you from being “different” than others. It requires a strong sense of self and self-worth to step out of the circle of the masses into your own unique orbit around the sun.

4. What if you already knew your purpose?

I’m all for reflection and mindfulness as a means to listen to your inner truth. But it’s not enough.

Clarity comes from reflection paired with action and followed by assessment and re-engagement. It’s an iterative process, not linear.

In other words, get off your butt and do something, anything that has a possibility of engaging your senses and brings you a sense of accomplishment.

Take things on as if they were an experiment, not a decision. Unless you try on new things you’ll never discover the potential of what is possible for you. You may fail at some things and succeed at others but if you don’t act you’ll never get further than your couch.

5. How do you want to be remembered?

Imagine yourself in the future. Will you be remembered for being the best couch potato ever or will you be remembered for your art, for your kindness, for your impact on a problem or person, or for your creativity?

What do you want to leave behind for the betterment of a person or people or simply for your own sense of meaning?

Most people don’t like it when I tell them to stop seeking their purpose. Asking, “What is my purpose?” leads you through a maze to nowhere. Stop looking for your purpose out there.

Get to know who you are today and purpose will find you. As you age what you care about will change. That’s how you grow and evolve. You will discover that there are many ways, not just one way, to express yourself authentically.

Ultimately purpose is the result of being authentic and living in harmony with that. Seek self-knowledge and you'll find your purpose.

Alicia Rodriguez, M.A., P.C.C. – www.aliciamrodriguez.com

# Practice self-love and self-awareness
Debbie Glover

Getting to know yourself is an ongoing lifetime experience, but we begin to understand and make better choices for ourselves when we develop and practice self-awareness.

The key to this transformation begins with self-love and acceptance.

Many times, this is the first step to recovery but can also present a road block: some of us have been trained that self-love is selfish and this cognitive error valuation can take time to dispute and replace with the understanding that we are all worthwhile and deserving of self-love and care.

The following are a few tools to get you started on this lifelong journey of self-discovery:

Journaling.

Journaling allows you the space to explore your uniqueness. Begin by writing whatever you are feeling. Do not expect anything of yourself. Allow yourself to write as you are inspired. Write daily, or weekly; randomly, hourly. Use an audio recorder, voice memo app, etc. if you do not like to write. If you cannot think of anything to write, doodle, draw, color, create.

The point is to get it out and to hear yourself. No expectations; just explore. Do whatever you desire with your journal when you are done. If you are concerned about privacy, find a journal with a locking mechanism or destroy the pages when you have finished or mark your journal private and warn others the content may be blunt and raw and is not intended for disclosure.

Use a feeling wheel.

If you have difficulty trying to decide what you are feeling, you are not alone and a feeling wheel can help. A feeling wheel is a tool that gives many names for different feelings. Do an internet search of the term and you will see many images for the wheel. Use it to label what you are feeling. Giving credence to your emotions in the moment is very self-affirming and allows you the space to explore; which in turn helps you grow and develop self-love and acceptance.

Practice mindfulness in the moment.

Ask yourself “What am I feeling right now?” Our emotions are road signs to help us move in the direction of our heart.

Feelings need to be explored and felt.

Uncovering what we feel takes courage and allowing ourselves to feel our emotions takes courage as well. Many times, we remain in denial of one problem or another because we’d rather not feel the pain. To feel is to be fully alive and running from our feelings does not make them go away, it simply prolongs the process.

Take action to take care of your needs.

As we explore our emotions, frequently we uncover truth about ourselves and our circumstances that require action. Make an action plan that you can live with and begin to set goals to change your life. As you grow toward your goals, you will realize you are living your life and learning more and more about who you are; which in turn leads you toward greater and greater understanding of and accepting of yourself.

Acknowledging your needs and what you are able to determine about yourself through this process gives you confidence and encourages self-love and acceptance. This in turn helps you learn about and enjoy your unique “youness” You are the only you there will ever be! Live and love and enjoy your individuality.

Debbie Glover, LPC - www.debbiepglover.wixsite.com/counseling

# Be aware of your programming
Dr. Constance Clancy-Fisher

We are born into this world as pure love and light.

From our very first breath, we are in the state of being our natural selves. It is through conditioning and programming from others that we learn in order to be accepted and whole, we have to be and act a certain way.

This is the beginning of not knowing who we are as we cover our true core selves up with putting on our masks and perceiving what others want us to be.

How to know yourself better comes when we can let go of the persona and remove the mask we have put on since early learning. Otherwise we are at a much greater risk of being disconnected from ourselves.

Knowing yourself better is letting go of all the defenses we have put up for protection of our true self, yet so often we are fearful of doing just that.

We take on others stuff including judgments, criticisms, stories, and we forget what lies underneath the mask, who we really are.

As a child, you were that true self, you were innocent and your real self emerged as you began to develop.

To know yourself better, it is important to return to that innocent child and let yourself come out and play.

You were authentic, honest, loving, innocent, and true to who you really were at your core. You believed in you. Take a pencil and write to that beautiful child within with your non-dominant hand and see what flows out of you. That is your true self that you want to know and be.

Become aware of your programming.

Your programming before age 7 was not yours. It was someone else’s. What were your thoughts before you were programmed to think like others? Learn to unlearn these old thoughts and beliefs and be who you came in this world to be, your true self, clear, whole, joyful and authentic.

If you repressed your true nature at the risk of wanting to “fit in,” chances are he/she is still there, you just need to reclaim your true nature.

This occurs by letting go of current belief systems that no longer serve you just to get the approval and acceptance of others. Who you are naturally is just fine. Once you can learn to accept the true you at your very core, you realize it doesn’t really matter what others think, say or how they act toward you. You are the best that you can be on all levels if you believe you are.

This may take some working with a professional to peel back the onion if you will to get to the core of the true you, who you really are and like.

This will help you shift into being in alignment with your true self and you will begin to follow your bliss and be your own true self without the good opinion of others. Go ahead, start allowing your real self to shine through, as you have absolutely nothing to fear. It will be well worth it in the long run.

Connie Clancy Fisher, ED.D. - www.connieclancyfisher.com

# Pay attention to how you feel, what choices you make and why you are making them
Dani DiPirro

Knowing yourself is not something you can do in one sitting.

It's an ongoing process that requires consistent reflection and introspection. We are always changing (just think about who you were five or ten years ago!) and, as a result, we must pay attention in order to keep up with who we are.

The best way to know yourself is to pay attention to how you feel, what choices you make, and why you're making them.

Doing so will provide insights into who you truly are. Finding a guide (such as the ​Finding Yourself or Loving Yourself workbooks) can also be helpful, but it's useful to do these things more than once, as you're always changing.

Journalling is also a great way to uncover knowledge about yourself.

While dwelling on the past is never useful, taking note of how you've changed can provide greater understanding of the self, and having a tangible source to refer to (a journal, a workbook, etc.) can be an excellent tool for reflecting on who you were and how it compares to who you are now. 

Dani DiPirro, Author and Blogger - www.positivelypresent.com

# Follow the steps below
Madeleine Corinne

Why do we lose track of ourselves?

- As children, we go from the instinct of making our own needs most important, to learning how to care about others as well.

- Sometimes we shift focus onto others too much, and forget to care about our own selves, too.

- Technology is everywhere, and serves as a handy distraction from quiet time that may be spent looking inward.

- Many people have experienced trauma or bad experiences of some sort, and are afraid that looking inside will be painful.

- Sometimes we are made to feel selfish by others if we put our needs first.

- Sometimes inner pain causes us to hide from our thoughts with drugs and alcohol.

So, why is it important to know ourselves?

- Just like babies, we still have needs that cause problems if they are not met.

- As we get older, these needs become more complicated and sometimes harder to even recognize.

  • For example, an introvert may need quiet time daily, but be afraid to make others feel pushed away. Someone who needs alone time and doesn’t get it will become more and more stressed and unhappy until these needs are met.

- Not knowing what we need puts us at risk of neglecting those needs, which can lead to mental and physical illness.

- Knowing ourselves helps us choose a path in life that is the best fit. This is why career counseling in college looks at personality and personal strengths before giving advice.

- Ignoring our inner voice does not make it go away; it will find ways to be heard.

Now, how do we go about knowing ourselves?

- Make a little time daily to step away from distractions so your inner voice has a chance to be heard.

- Think about what your body might be telling you about your physical and emotional needs.

  • If you get a stomach ache every time you drink milk, your body might be telling you it is lactose intolerant and needs to avoid some forms of dairy products.
  • If a messy room makes you feel stressed, your mind might be telling you that you need more organization in your spaces.
  • There are so many ways our needs try to speak to us that they can be hard to understand.

- Focus on finding a balance between caring for others and putting yourself first.

- Don’t allow others to tell you what your priorities should be.

Learning to listen to our inner voice can sometimes solve problems we didn’t even know we had. While busy life and technology make it hard to take the time to look inward, it IS still possible if we make it important. Knowing yourself is the best way to ensure that you get everything you want and need out of life.

Madeleine Boskovitz, PhD & Corinne Martch, MA - www.iwanttobeme.org

# Journal + Meditate
Estra Roell

To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.

~ Eckhart Tolle

Why is it important to know yourself?

Really getting in touch with who you are leads to greater happiness and ease with yourself and others. You’ll experience less inner conflict. You make better decisions because you have clear inner guidelines. You’ll be in touch with your values—what’s really important to you. You’ll have more compassion for yourself and others. You can experience the freedom to truly be yourself.

Getting to know yourself is a self-reflective process that you take on intentionally. You need to create the space in your life to accomplish it.

Two ways to get to know yourself better are journaling and meditation.

With journaling, it’s good to have a format to guide your process.

Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted or disturbed. Carve out 20 to 30 minutes of time to allow yourself to let the ideas flow. You don’t have to answer all the questions at one sitting, just go with what feels good to you.

Take a few deep breaths to center yourself. Then consider these questions and write down the answers that come up for you.

1. What are my top five core values?

Your core values are the things you hold close to your heart. They can be things like being creative, having time freedom, being productive, high achievement, loving relationships, security, flexibility, helping others, spiritual connection, inner peace, integrity, consistency or fitness and health. The list is endless. You may have more than five, but identifying the top five helps you to focus and aids in decision-making.

2. What do I love doing? What makes time slip away?

In other words, what are your passions and interests? How do those play into your life mission or purpose?

3. What are my personality preferences?

Do you make decisions based more on feelings or more on facts? How do you recharge your energy—by being alone to “re-group” or by being around other people? When you are out in a crowd are you noticing details or how you’re feeling? Do you enjoy being active most of the time, or do you prefer going at a slower pace? These questions can help you determine if your basic personality is an introvert or extrovert. Embrace who you are!

4. What do I dream about doing, being or having?

What you dream about becoming or doing in the future tells you a lot about yourself. Allow yourself to dream big and fill in the details. Is there something you’ve been putting off? What can you do about that?

5. What are my strengths and what do I want to improve?

Now is the time to acknowledge yourself for all the things you do well! Are you a good friend? Do you have a skill you excel at? Are you curious or courageous? How about a great sense of humor or kindness? The things you aren’t so good at may be things you’d like to improve on or they can give you information about what you want to limit in your personal or professional life.

Meditation:

Meditation helps you to know yourself at a deeper, spiritual level. As you sit comfortably and focus on your breath, you relax into a receptive state. As thoughts surface, simply notice them and let them float away, with no judgement. Focus on your heart. Feel the love grow and blossom there. Start with 10 minutes and gradually work up to 20 to 30 minutes. This stillness allows you to “know the Being underneath the thinker.”

Knowing yourself isn’t a one time activity. We are continually changing and expanding as we go through life. Check back in with these processes to see what’s changed and how you’ve grown.

Estra Roell, Life Purpose Coach– www.americaslifepurposecoach.com

# Ask the below questions
Tee Sebastién

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself."

Thich Nhat Nan

If you were to be interviewed by a prominent magazine and answer questions about yourself, how truthful would your answers be?

Do you know what your highest values in life are, what makes you fulfilled and happy, or why you react in stressful situations the way you do?

Sounds simple but in reality, majority of us have no idea who we are. And even when we want to be seen by others for who we actually are, we pretend to be someone we're not just to fit in.

The truth is that we tend to behave as if we were victims of our circumstances, as if our whole world exists and functions in a certain way because of our environment. But often we forget that it is not our environment and other people’s influence, but our own choices that bring us where we are right at this moment.

That’s why many of us feel lost and torn between who we want to be and who we were taught to believe we are.

The good news is that this can be changed and all it takes is your decision to start the wonderful journey of self-discovery. Remember that you are in charge of your life and that you can be whoever you want to be.

Why not be the amazing, extraordinary, strong and brave YOU?

The first thing to do is take a shiny journal or good old pen and paper and answer a few simple but powerful questions about...

1. Your personality

  • Who are you? (write everything that you think you are right at this moment)
  • Who do you want to be?
  • Do you need time alone or are you happy being surrounded by people most of the time?
  • Do you tend to lower your standards because you're afraid you'll be judged if you don't fit in?
  • Do you set clear boundaries and demand respect when you are in social situations? Why or why not?

Knowing what personality type you are can help you learn more about yourself in social situations and why you react to people the way you do.

2. Your body

  • What does your body need?
  • Do you know when you feel most productive and energetic?
  • When you are hungry, overwhelmed, and tired what do you do to meet your needs?

Knowing what is good for your body will help you stay in better shape, make better eating choices and preserve your health.

3. Your dreams

  • What do you believe is possible for you? Why?
  • What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
  • What matters most to you?

Never let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big or too small. They are yours, respect them and make them happen.

4. Your values

  • What are your highest core values?
  • What is something that is true for you no matter what?

Having strong core values and staying grounded in your preferences will make it so much easier to stand behind what you believe in. Accept people and situations as they are and stop judging yourself and others.

5. Self-discipline

  • What activity in your life lights you up with joy?
  • What is something you absolutely love doing even when tired? Why?
  • When do you get stressed the most?
  • When you are feeling down, what do you do to lift your spirits up?

When you pay attention to what you absolutely love doing, it makes it easier to resist bad habits and develop good ones. This will help you understand which goals and values activate your will power.

There are hundreds of questions that can help you learn who you are. Start with the ones above and know that the process of self-discovery is a journey, so enjoy every step of the way.

To know yourself is to love yourself. It's not about becoming a different person but truly and deeply loving who you are. Don’t let people’s opinions and reactions ruin the moment you are in. You can always choose how you react because no matter what people say, know that their words are powerless without your reaction. Own who you are.

Find the place that brings out the love in you. Know what you want. Listen to your heart.

Because everything you need is already within you.

Tee Sebastién, Life Coach - www.growbrilliant.org

# Follow the 12 tips below
Jo Ritchie

It may be a cliché to ‘find yourself’, but it’s also arguably one of the most important things you will ever do.

For those days when you feel that you are putting on a mask based on how you think you ‘should’ be acting or when you are adapting who you really are in order to please others, here is a quick checklist and some inspirational quotes to help you get back in touch with and express your badass authentic self:

1. Know the ‘real’ you, the ‘awareness’ behind the thoughts – Realise you are not the ‘monkey brain’ computer that churns out millions of thoughts a day. As Eckhart Tolle says, “The beginning of freedom is the realisation you are not ‘the thinker’. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated”. 

2. Spend some time alone every day – You cannot hear your own inner voice when it is drowned out by the demands of others. Oscar Wilde said, “I think it is very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person”.  

3. Take off the mask and express the real you – As Henry David Thoreau said, “Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be”. Hiding behind a persona built on what you think you ‘should’ be is never going to bring you peace or meaningful relationships.  

4. Take responsibility for your own life“If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we will always be the victim” – Richard Bach. You take back your power when you accept that you are the one making things happen in your life.  

5. Be grateful for what you have rather than focus on what you don’t – If you focus on what you feel you are lacking, you will always be dissatisfied. If you look for things to be grateful about, you will find many. As Neale Donald Walsch puts it, “The struggle ends when gratitude begins”. 

6. Don’t give a s**t about what other people think of you – Why waste time worrying about what other people MIGHT think and experience stress based on a hypothesis that probably isn’t even true?! Newsflash: others are too busy worrying about their own stuff! Anyway, as Maya Angelou puts it, “Your opinion is not the sum of me”.  

7. Don't compare yourself with others – There will always be someone smarter, stronger, prettier or funnier than you. These surface things are not really important. As Lao Tzu said, “When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you”. 

8. Face your fears and constantly push your comfort zone – George Adair said, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear”. FEAR can be seen as an acronym for ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ and doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind. 

9. Accept and embrace life as it is at this moment“The greatest source of wisdom is what is happening to us right now, just where we are”, believes Baron Baptiste. Mindfulness is essential. How can you really be there for yourself or for the people in your life if you are living in the past or planning the future?  

10. Set healthy boundaries: learn to say ‘no’ – As part of being true to yourself, set healthy boundaries with others and practice saying ‘no’ when it helps you look after yourself. “You teach other people how to treat you by your words and actions”.  

11. Do what you love and not what you think you ‘should’ do – Steve Jobs said, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Are you happy with how you are spending your days or do you need to consider making a change?  

12. Be open and honest in your communications – The more you speak your truth and be real with people, the deeper you will connect in your relationships. In the words of Dr Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”. 

Jo Ritchie, Transformational Change Coach and Licensed Feel The Fear Trainer - www.joritchie.com

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