People throw around phrases like “find yourself” pretty casually, as if going on a meditation retreat or mountain hike will magically reveal your life purpose and make everything clear.
Let’s cut straight into it here. We all know that “finding yourself” stuff sounds stupid on the surface and quite cliche. But figuring out who you really are deep down is no joke if you actually want to be in control of your life. Chasing money, status, and other people’s expectations gets real old unless it connects to YOUR core values. Stop acting like what society, your significant other, or people around you tell you what your life should be like.
So take a long moment and ask yourself something real: When’s the last time you felt genuinely lit up and motivated about how you spend your days?
Be real with yourself for a minute here – are you even pursuing stuff in life right now that gets you genuinely jacked up and ready to slay the day when you wake up in the morning? If you’re relying on things like awards, job titles, or compliments from others to feel good, that joy is temporary and leaves you unfulfilled.
It takes a lot of digging deep into our inner values, talents, quirks, fears, triggers and dreams. It also requires translating that self-awareness into purposeful action if you ever want to find lasting happiness and fulfillment.
But here’s the deal – the clock’s ticking. Another year passes by just existing as a shell of who you could become if you don’t start living more intentionally. Haven’t you wasted enough time sleepwalking through the “shoulds” while your real dreams gather dust?
Getting clarity on what fires you up is just step one. Personal growth doesn’t happen by just visualizing and daydreaming scenarios from the couch. You gotta make it real through action. Start small if you have to. Spend 30 minutes exploring a topic in person – that you’ve always been curious about instead of brainlessly scrolling social media. Actually, maybe that is why you are here.
This will be the fuel for finally rewriting the script of your life. Make little shifts that align your daily routine with who YOU want to evolve into, rather than just what keeps other people comfortable. Sure, you will likely ruffle some feathers. But that’s their problem – you’re the one that has to stare back at yourself in the mirror each morning.
This also should not be considered a license to be a complete asshole either. This isn’t a game, this isn’t a contest to see how many people you can piss off. This is simply being building confidence in yourself to actually project the REAL thoughts you have that never seem to make it to reality. You know exactly what I’m talking about – you will think to yourself “I really don’t want to do that” yet you will agree because you think it’s the “nice” thing to do. Say “No” to that family commitment you resent having to attend next month to protect time for you. Baby steps count as long as you’re building momentum. Allow your thoughts to express themselves as genuine. Do this once a day to start. After you have made a few good decisions, expand that into multiple times per day.
Here’s the thing though – you’re the one that has to sit in your skin all day, not them. You have to choose how your life will be lived, not them. You have to deal with the consequences of your decisions, so make them and then take responsibility for them.
Let’s talk about the SELF analysis that needs to be a part of this as well. Start thinking, and ask yourself these tough questions, and answer them honestly:
- Why am I not achieving what I really want for myself (and/or my family) right now?
- Why does learning or work feel like a meaningless task?
- Why am I constantly comparing my body, lifestyle, relationships to others?
One very telling answer will really reveal a lot about yourself “If I regress to the 15 year old me, what would I think about meeting me today? Would I be ashamed or proud of myself today?
Dig into that answer. Dissect what parts of “current you” don’t align with the person 15 year-old you imagined you’d grow up to be. Then stop making excuses about why you can’t become more of THAT version of yourself day-to-day.
Some other questions to ask yourself:
- When did you stop making time for that creative passion that gives you a spark?
- Who convinced you that you’re not smart/athletic/talented enough to go for the life you really want? Are they still in your life?
- What was the trigger for you to stop dreaming and begin the drudge of day in – day out just surviving?
- Why haven’t I started putting money away to explore the business or lifestyle I have always dreamed of having?
- If I knew I had 5 years left to live, and could build my life into anything I wanted to as to create my legacy, what would that look like?
Really reflecting on how you spend your time and what motivates you takes complete honesty. It’s not always fun looking at the disconnects between your current reality and who you aspire to be deep down. But it’s the only way forward.
Making those tough choices to follow your inner compass isn’t for the faint of heart. But I guarantee you that leaning full force into the things that light that fire in your soul is the fastest way to wake up pumped to take on the day. And passing up on that to keep everyone else comfortable is just a crap bargain in the long run.
Once you start getting clarity on your core values and priorities, you can start the correction process. That might mean setting some non-negotiable boundaries at work to protect personal time. Or cultivating new friendships where you feel appreciated, not judged. Maybe it means finally pursuing that creative passion project on the back burner for years.
Take note here. This isn’t a process that is one step, nor is it something you can complete in a weekend. This takes time, effort, energy, and moments of frustration. You may get weeks into self-discovery and find out “Hey, that really isn’t the path I really wanted after all. “ and you may need to start over.
I personally went through this transformation in 2008. This is something that profoundly changed my life. It forced me to make quite a few very tough decisions, changes to my circle of friends, and had put me into some very uncomfortable positions with family. I stayed the course and I’m still here today maintaining what I initially started. Yes, I’ve adapted and evolved over the last 16 years, however the core principles that I originally restructured are still ingrained in me.
By honoring more of your authentic self through daily choices, you’ll grow far happier, confident and driven. But beware of falling into overthinking and analysis paralysis! Gathering personal insights is step one – taking brave leaps of faith by putting what you learn into practice is where the magic happens. The depth and feedback on that though is for another conversation.
Remember that while bringing out your authentic self, you’ll likely face criticism from people. These people will prefer you stay in your current box so they stay comfortable. But following your inner compass and pushing boundaries is the path toward self-actualization. You will never be able to achieve what you really want from life if you are too afraid to step on a few toes. Remember – this is about YOU, not making other people happy. You have been doing that far too long.
This journey takes grit and resilience and life may get a bit messy for a while. But staying true to your deepest truths is the master key to fulfillment. No one on their deathbed wishes they conformed more.