You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. ~Alan Alda
Self-discovery is a journey into uncharted territory. It can mean finding your purpose (and yes, we all have a purpose in life.) It can involve analyzing your beliefs and values. Are they appropriate? Have they changed over time and are you living by them? Are you willing to take that journey?
Alice in Wonderland
As circumstances change, we change along with them and sometimes we get lost in the process. Author Lewis Carroll, described this process in his book Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. (1871)
The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.
What is self-discovery?
Self-discovery is another way of saying know thyself. This is a concept that dates back to the ancient Greek and Chinese philosophers. Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching in the fifth century BCE. In it, he wrote: Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” According to psychologist Meg Selig, self-discovery is about identifying your:
- Passions and interests;
- Life purpose or goals;
- Strengths and skills; …
And then aligning your behavior with these traits. By doing this, you:
- Can make decisions that are aligned with your values, so there is less internal conflict.
- Know what you want, what your interests, skills, and life goals are and can take appropriate steps to achieve them.
- Are more self-aware, so you are more confident and you are authentic – the real you.
- Are less likely to follow trends because you know what is best for you.
- Are better able to get along with others and are more accepting of individual differences.
Your Noodle Challenge
Alice had an amazing journey of self-discovery. Our journeys don’t need to be as extraordinary as Alice’s, In fact, Margarite Tartakovsky, M.S., Associate Editor of PsychCentral. suggests that asking answering some simple questions may be sufficient:
According to Tartakovsky, “the questions we ask shape the lives we lead.” Here are her suggested “questions to spark self-discovery”:
- Who am I?
- What do I need right now more than anything else?
- What meaning can I draw from this experience?
- What feeling do I most want to have in my life?
- What do I want to be doing more of in my life?
- What do I want to be doing less of in my life?
- What am I resisting or attaching to?
- What are my gifts? How can I share them with the world?
- How can I celebrate each day or the moments in our life?
Select one of the questions above and answer it in the Comments field below. What surprised you in this mini-self-discovery process? I’ll go first.
How can I celebrate each day or the moments in my life?
I recently discovered the joy, peace and beauty of a sunrise walk. For the last several years, my dog and I would go out at first light for exercise. I would ride my bike slowly and he would trot alongside. But he is getting older and he can’t do that anymore. So, now we walk and it is amazing what we missed rushing through his exercise. By walking, he gets to stop, sniff the neighborhood, and of course, mark his territory, while I watch the sunrise; enjoy the cool crisp air; and listen to the local rooster announce the new day. Surprisingly, I find that I am less likely to rush frantically through the rest of the day, when I start it with a simple, mindful walk.
After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. ~ Sophia Loren
Riddle Me This…
Q: What is at the end of a rainbow?
A: The letter W.
*To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm and then take action.