10 Tips for the Road to Self Discovery

The path of figuring out exactly who you are in this world can be bumpy one to say the least. The mental and emotional overwhelm can be intense as you navigate the concept of “adulthood”. You’re battling internal and external pressures and expectations to be living your passions, have a concrete plan and to know where you want to be in 5 years.

So often we get lost in the doing and lose sight of the importance of just being. We spend our days in 5th gear, racing to check the boxes, have our lives in a specific order and be everything to everyone. We can only keep up with this pace for so long before we are forced to downshift, slowing down for a moment to actually see, and take in, where we are.

It’s common to feel a bit lost in these moments, wondering, “who am I and how did I get here?” It’s sort of like you’ve hit a pot hole that threw you off your course. You try to speed back up, get rid of these feelings of uncertainty and apprehension. Because feeling that way sucks. Make it go away. ASAP.

But, it only works until you hit another pot hole. It’s sort of like life is smacking you in the face telling you to slow down already! To take some time for yourself to discover who you are, so that you can finally stop the grind, the race to be it all and it have it all figured out.

This is where the act of being comes in handy. When we take the time to be with ourselves, we can discover who we are and what is most important to us.

1. Surrender

The next time you hit a speed bump, throwing you off your course, consider surrendering. Surrender to the feelings of discomfort, uncertainty and apprehension. Surrender to the fact that you, and your life, is a constant evolution; you have a lifetime to learn about, and grow into, the person that you want to be. You just have to slow down long enough to do the actual growing. Breathe through the discomfort.

2. Make peace with yourself.

It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed in insecurities and feeling not-good-enough. If we are in the throes of why we don’t measure up, it is impossible to let our authentic selves shine through. This gets in the way of allowing ourselves to open to new opportunities and new experiences. Make it a habit to look for your strengths. Everyday. Keep a journal and commit to recognizing what makes you amazing.

3. Offer yourself some compassion.

You’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got. Remind yourself that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed, it’s ok to feel a bit lost at times. You’ve come so far from where you started. Instead of beating yourself up for not being where, or what, you expected, harness the power of how you got here, to this very moment.

4. Start to distance yourself from the idea of perfection.

Nothing in this world is perfect. Invest your energy in being raw and authentic. The less time you worry about being the perfect friend, employee, spouse, parent… the more energy you will have to hone in on living in a way that feels good, productive and authentic to you.

5. Find a lesson in everything.

The easy stuff and the hard stuff. How did crush your week? How can you do more of that? And what are some areas you can improve on? How were you challenged and how did you respond? How can you respond differently next time?

Allow your challenges to be your greatest teachers. It is in those moments that you will learn the most about yourself, and what triggers shame, insecurity and vulnerability.

6. Notice what triggers your feelings of inadequacy.

When you feel the comparison trap rearing its ugly head, sit with it for a moment. Put what you are feeling into words. What is the event or situation that led to this feeling? Now, consider how your actions will keep you caught in the not-good-enough feeling, or what actions will move you closer to living the life that you want.

7. Notice what lights your heart on fire.

What is it that fills you with the most joy? What do you get irrationally excited to talk about, to participate in? Do more of that. Connect with the feelings of excitement. Live in and love these moments.

8. Say “yes” to yourself.

No, that’s not selfish. You deserve to take care of yourself. At all times. Not because you worked a 50 hour week, but because you are human. Take time to yourself, unapologetically.

You can’t wholeheartedly serve your friends, your partner, or your life, unless you serve and feed yourself first. Do more of #5. Do more of what energizes you and makes you feel connected. Begin to let go of the things that drain your time and energy.

9. Practice gratitude.

When you make gratitude a habit, your mind begins to shift in an amazing way. You begin to see yourself and your world in a different light.

10. Make a commitment to yourself.

Commit to slowing down. Commit to loving where you have been. Commit to a lifelong journey of learning and discovery.

Sarah is a therapist and coach in Horsham, PA who specializes in working with people struggling with issues surrounding body image, self-esteem, diet and exercise. You can find out more about how to work with Sarah and follow her blog at sarahherstichlcsw.com.

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