Who are you when no one is looking? When you spend time alone, how do you fill that time? Just as importantly, what don’t you do when no one else is around you?
When you know yourself well, you can easily answer these questions. When you don’t understand yourself, not only are the questions more difficult, days drift together rather than develop with a sense of organization and purpose.
So how do you get to know yourself better at any age? The answer is to tune in to your core.
Here are 7 ways to get to know the most important person in your life: you.
1. Connect to your core.
When trying to connect to your core, a journal is indispensable. Use it for recording thoughts, dreams, ideas, and impressions. In addition, research shows that journaling also benefits your physical well-being by reducing stress and will help you understand yourself better while clarifying your thoughts.
2. Reflect in solitude.
It’s necessary to spend time alone to understand yourself. Allow yourself to differentiate your thoughts and feelings from those around you. Whether you create time within your day to be alone or spend concentrated hours in solitude, the benefits will enhance your relationship with others besides yourself.
3. Know your core values.
Our core values are what we stand for above all else — they’re the dissenting principles over which nations go to war! Get clear on these, and you can set up life according to your code of beliefs. They serve as a practical tool. They can be a handy litmus test to evaluate and make decisions according to your values.
4. Be accountable.
Take accountability for your life! It’s up to you to use the knowledge and information you have. You already show your strengths, but you may not shine as brightly as you can. Your journal is an ideal tool to write lists of what you like to do, what you’re good at, and what people ask you to do. This information will reveal your abilities.
5. Figure out what motivates you.
Do you realize what motivates you to get up in the morning besides a cup of coffee? If you do, you know your life purpose. For help deciphering it take a look at this video on “Demystifying Life Purpose”.
6. Assess your relationships …
Other people are a large part of our composition. Look around and reflect on what relationships enhance your world. Friends are those who support us as our truest selves. The individuals in our lives can serve as mirrors reflecting what we need to see. Who is in your world? What are they showing you?
7. … and your life’s “trimmings.”
I call the personal choices we make that are uniquely ours “trimmings.” For example, do you wear full makeup or do you go natural? Is your clothing style glam or minimalist? Are your shoes mostly heels or flats? Do you prefer to walk or drive? And if you drive, what is your favorite car? Would your preferred living spot be by the water or in the mountains?
When you understand yourself, you can structure your life according to what works for your needs. Life becomes within your control — with the freedom to accept opportunities to enhance it and decline those that don’t.
You are a unique footprint on this earth — your values, strengths, talents, hobbies, and preferences, plus all the trimmings of how you put your world together combined with your life purpose.
Whoa! Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Well, sure. Humans are astounding, each one of us. But when we focus on living according to our values and organizing our world around them, we take control of our lives. We can create our happiness!
There is freedom, immense relief, and genuine happiness to result from first knowing yourself and then remaining true to yourself. Life is full of choices. With self-knowing comes the assurance that you can comfortably engage in any activity you choose to because you possess the confidence you won’t lose a crucial element of your being.
Shakespeare showed his wisdom when he said, “To thine own self, be true.” Knowing yourself is the foundation of creating a world that works for you. Living authentically by being true to yourself is how to ensure that happiness.
Jan L. Bowen is an author, keynote speaker, thought leader, and facilitator with over 25 years of successful corporate leadership who specializes in helping leaders find their balance.