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How to find yourself in this crazy world and discover who you are

Fair to say you’re reading this article cocooned in your home under lockdown or self-isolation.

Unfortunately, it looks like we will be hibernating in seclusion for a while.

But social isolation doesn’t have to be all bad.

When you think about it, it’s an incredible opportunity to learn more about ourselves.

Because when we remove ourselves from the social context of our lives, we are better able to see how we’re shaped by that context.

Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, and writer who spent years alone held a similar notion. “We cannot see things in perspective until we cease to hug them to our bosom,” he writes in Thoughts in Solitude.

It might take a little bit of work before we turn social isolation into a pleasant experience, but it once does it becomes maybe the most important relationship anybody ever has, the relationship you have with yourself.

We all struggle to know ourselves in a profound way; some more than others.

But with some simple steps and the development of good reflective habits, you can come to know yourself in a meaningful way that helps you get the most out of your life.

If you are struggling to find your way, it might time to sit down and start making sense of your life as it was, as it is, and as it will be.

Here is a guide to help you find out who you really are in the world.


How to find yourself: 10 steps when you’re feeling lost in life


1) Create a timeline of your life


In order to get where you are going, you need to learn more about where you have been.

The past can be painful for a lot of people, but it is an important part of discovering who you really are in the world.

Take some time to create a timeline of where you have been in the world, who you have shared experiences with, and how those experiences and places have left a mark on your life.

You might find that these were not positive experiences, but if you are willing to sit with the discomfort of exploring them and revisiting them, you’ll find strength and confidence to go forward for further exploration and understanding.

Remember:

This exercise isn’t about wallowing in self-pity. It’s about understanding what you’ve learned about yourself from these experiences.

Our struggles, tribulations, and experiences make us who we are. Reminding ourselves of the hard times we have been through gives us courage and strength.


2) Acknowledge what makes you different.


On your path to discovering who you really are in the world, it will be important that you take time to identify and celebrate what makes you, you.

What makes you different from everyone else on the planet?

It’s hard to tell sometimes, especially because we are often so critical of ourselves in comparison to other people.

But rather than feeling weighed down by your differences, celebrate them and put them front and center in your exploration of yourself.

If you allow yourself to be happy about who you are, you’ll find that you are much happier in all areas of your life.

A practical exercise to find out what your unique characteristics are is to list down 10 traits about yourself that you’re proud of.

This could be your kindness, your loyalty, or the fact that you’re skilled at knitting!

Keep in mind:

Before you can do any kind of work on your future self you need to reconcile who you are right now.

It’s easy to discount the good things you think about yourself and let the negative thoughts take over.

But understanding what your positive traits are and what makes you unique will help you banish the negativity and accept yourself.

And if you’re going to find yourself, you need to accept who you are right now.

Change, whatever that might look like for you, is really going to come from a place of understanding and love.

Here’s a beautiful passage from Master Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh on the power of self-acceptance:

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.”

3) Find new ways of being.