Learning how to embark on a journey of self discovery is all about learning to become more conscious and aware of your life and your self.
Most people are sleepwalking through their lives. Not because they are bad, lazy or unable to dig deeper but because we live in a world that demands conformity.
Social media has contributed largely to this culture of fitting in and being just like everyone else. Being different is frowned upon and social media trolls just jump all over anything or anyone that steps outside the strict lines of conformity.
Most people never truly discover themselves simply because they are afraid to do so. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal once said that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Looking inside is hard. Much harder than most people think.
I challenge you to see how long you can sit quietly with no phone, no music and no external distraction. Just you, quietly alone in a room.
Five minutes will feel like an hour!
I challenge you to stand in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye. Can you do that for more than 2 minutes?
Looking at yourself to a point where you can look at your Self is the real ‘work’ in life.
This is what we call self discovery. It is about looking past all the layers of who you think you are, who you’ve been told you are, and what you think you should be.
Who in the world am I ? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)
Why Self Discovery Is Important
The journey of self discovery is the process of making conscious contact with your higher self and finding out what your soul wants to experience in this life.
Most people spend their lives living someone else’s dream. You become a lawyer because your parents wanted you to make something of yourself.
You get married, have 2.5 kids and buy a big house and a nice car because that’s what you’ve been told is “the dream life”.
You work 7.7 hours per day, go on holiday once a year, watch 3 hours of TV a day and then repeat that for 30 years before you get to put your feet up and FANALLY get to do what you’ve always wanted to do…nothing.
The greatest freedom and the greatest joy in life is in finding out who you really are and then just being ‘you’. Being authentically yourself, doing the things that bring you joy, and sharing it with the world is what self discovery will lead you to.
As long as you live a life that is only pleasing others or fulfilling what you believe is your duty then your higher self will remain trapped.
Who you really are wants to come out. It wants to be expressed. It wants to make itself known.
This is the real difference between those who live in pain, anger, depression and anxiety and those who live an inspired life full of joy and peace.
How To Embark On A Journey Of Self Discovery
Learning how to embark on a journey of self discovery all starts with an awareness. The awareness that there is more to you than just your body, your mind, your job and your beliefs.
Beyond everything that you are in this life and even beyond everything that you think you are is that which you truly are. Your soul, your spirit or your higher self is that which you truly are.
It is that which never changes, never age and has been your constant companion since the day you started this life.
The challenge is that from day one we get trained to become a human being. We get trained to be a person and everything that comes with it gets instilled in us from a very young age.
By design, this suppresses everything that you truly are deep down inside. Being a highly functional human being (by society’s standards) is all about conforming and doing what everyone else is doing – and doing it better.
Not living YOUR life and not letting your higher self and your purpose shine through in your life will soon catch up with you though.
Only when you become aware of your higher self and its calling can you start to truly embark on this journey of self discovery.
We all have these inner callings to draws us to our true purpose. Some dismiss it, many drown it out with chemicals while others deliberately avoid it – especially cultures where religion or cultural expectations play an important role.
If you have this inner sense that there is more to you and your life then you are ready to embark on a journey of self discovery.
Here are five ideas to help you on your journey to self discovery
1. Become More Conscious
Your life is unfolding all the time. Most people’s lives are entirely controlled and directed by outside events and external circumstances.
The truth however is that it is your inner world that creates your outset world. When you start looking at your life in a new way and you start observing your inner world and your thoughts more closely you will start seeing things differently.
More than 90% of your life happens unconsciously. You have the capacity to only observe a small fraction of what goes on around you and inside you.
By becoming more conscious of your inner world you expand your consciousness. When you start developing your intuition and noticing your thoughts more closely you will start seeing how your life unfolds.
When your consciousness shifts from a human being with spiritual experiences to a spiritual being with human experiences you can start becoming more conscious of your higher self.
2. Question Your Beliefs
Our beliefs control most of our behavior. It only controls most of your decision making. Beliefs are incredibly powerful and can dictate your life in many different ways.
What you believe is “right” or “wrong”, what you believe is possible or impossible and even what you believe about yourself are all ideas that you made your own – mostly unconsciously.
The vast majority of your beliefs about life is fixed by the time you are 7. You then spend the rest of your life re-inforcing these beliefs through your life experiences.
It is important to understand that you first make your beliefs and then your beliefs make you.
When young elephants are trained they usually chained by the leg to confine them to only a certain area where they can roam. Over time they learn what the boundaries are based on the length of their chain.
After a few years, the chain can be removed and the elephant will still only walk within the boundaries of what the chain allowed them even if there’s no chain anymore.
Our beliefs are like this. Even if its not “true” it still holds us back.
When you start questioning your beliefs you get to uncover what else is available to you. When you start questioning things in your life that you just assumed are facts, you get to discover what is underneath these beliefs.
You discover that you are an infinite being and that you truly have no limits.
3. Reflection, Introspection and Meditation
The Greek philosopher Socrates said that “The unexamined life is not worth living”. Taking time to be still, to be by yourself and to truly go within is an incredibly important part of your journey to self discovery.
Through meditation, you can quiet your mind and allow the outside world to subside. This allows that inner voice to become more audible.
You can not hear your higher elf in all the noise and distractions of everyday life.
Taking time daily to be quiet and to still your mind and your thoughts will help you to get in touch with your higher self.
It is during these times of stillness, introspection and contemplation where you will learn more about your Self than at any other time.
If self discovery is truly important to you and your life then meditation and quiet time will no longer be something that feels like a “chore” but it will be something that is exciting and that you look forward to.
Self discovery is in itself the ultimate excitement in life. When you consciously connect with that which is mostly unconscious within you there is an excitement and inspiration that nourishes a part of you that may have been starving.
4. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zones
Your mind is designed to create comfort zones. It is a mechanism that keeps you safe and that conserves your mind’s resources.
Your mind is designed to keep you safe and staying with what is familiar is what feels good and safe. This also explains why people often do not leave destructive relationships. It is the familiar that feels safe.
When you deliberately place yourself in unfamiliar situations, your mind has nothing to grab on to. This allows you to experience authenticity because there is no canned response for your mind to revert to.
We often avoid the very things that we want most. You may be craving a fulfilling relationship but your fear of rejection keeps you from doing anything remotely risky.
Confronting your fears, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing new things will allow you to discover parts of yourself that would otherwise remain hidden under the guise of self-preservation.
5.Find a Way To Serve
I’ve written about the inconvenient truth of finding and living a purposeful life. Finding a way to serve and to give of yourself is not always what people want to hear.
You may have an idea about self discovery as a process of sitting on a mountain top contemplating the meaning of life.
Nobody thinks if it as a process of volunteering or serving.
The real value if truly serving and helping others is that it removes your ego and your own obsessions with what you can GET.
When your focus shifts from getting to giving your energy shifts because your ego is no longer in charge.
When the ego is suppressed for long enough, the higher self can become more prominent. In these times where you are completely focused only on giving, helping and serving you get to truly know a part of yourself that the ego works really hard at keeping quiet.
How To Embark On A Journey Of Self Discovery – Conclusion
When you embark on a journey of self discovery you start your real work in life.
You are a magnificent eternal spirit and there is so much depth and complexity to your being. There is so much to know and explore and this process of discovery in itself is filled with joy.
When you become curious about life and When you become curious you have an open mind which allows you to change your perception.
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring– T. S. Eliot
Will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
What T.S Eliot was referring to is the fact that by the end of our lives when our exploring is over we will discover that we are simply returning to where we came from.
The process of self exploration is not about arriving anywhere. It is not about finding anything and being dine with it.
It is about the process and the journey itself.
Becoming more aware of your Self and your true spiritual nature is a great starting point for your own journey of self discovery.
Using meditation and dedicating time for quiet reflection and introspection helps you to make conscious contact with your higher self.
The practice of journaling can also be very helpful in expression yourself and allowing your thoughts to take shape on a piece of paper.
You also want to push yourself out of your everyday habits and your comfort zones. Experiencing new and often difficult things allow you to move past your automated behaviours and thoughts.
Ultimately you want to find ways to serve and to give of yourself. When you find a way to serve others, your ego has to make way for your higher self to become more prominent.
Your ego is all about getting. Your higher self is all about giving.
The real irony is that only when you truly start giving sincerely can you truly start to experience receiving.
The journey of self discovery is a lifelong quest. Are you brave enough to accept this challenge to find out who you really are?