For the past 2 weeks we have been questioning our true identity by asking some deep philosophical questions: “Who are you”? What defines you? Are you defined by the external things like your job, achievements, status, age, ethnicity, roles, money, race, etc. or are you defined by something much deeper, your true essence which are your: talents, skills, values, wisdom, passions, love, things that are uniquely yours… I also discussed the effect of using the external things to define yourself which produces a false self. This false self because it is defined by the external is temporal and built on shifting sands. I went further to highlight the effects of identifying with your false self which breeds the following problems ; debt, depression ,co-dependency, wearing a mask, labelling, and so on… You can check out the first 2 parts of this series on the link below: who are you part 1, who are you part 2
Today the finale I will lead you into a journey of self-discovery…. How do you get to know your true self ?
(1)Have 10 to 20 minutes of alone time every day
Why do I insist on this alone time… so you can spend time reflecting on all your actions and thoughts for the day… always question your actions and most importantly your intentions… Always ask the question “why am I doing this?”… “Was it to please people or someone?” “Did the thought originate from me?” “Do these series of actions resonate with me?”… “Did it go against my values?” “Am I compromising a lot?” And so on… typical example, accepting bribes in your place of work.(where is my cut?), being a doormat in the name of selfless gesture, selfish acts, lavish weddings, big parties… are you doing it cause you can afford it or just to impress people and then go bankrupt. Finally ask yourself this question “What will I do when no one is watching”?
(2)Question our belief system
What is our belief system? Big question….
From a young age, we are brought up to believe that certain behaviours and ways of being are right, and expected of us, by society, peer groups, parents, families, media, culture, religions and spiritual misinterpretations. When we don’t live up to those expectations, we may be judged, scolded, embarrassed, criticized or maybe even worse. We learn to behave and act as expected, we learn to suppress our natural way of being…
That is how our belief system is moulded… We learn to put on a mask; basically we learn what it takes to protect ourselves. We end up doing this so often, we don’t even realize that there is now a mask in place and a belief system so entrenched in us….. This then becomes the real you. Because of this I strongly belief we should challenge ourselves and question our belief system… like am I comfortable with all these rules imposed on me? Is it stifling me? Do I feel trapped inside… Am I being me.. Maybe your religion does not allow dancing or singing in the secular world… But your soul sings all the time and because you have been told time and time again its bad you stop it, your culture or religion does not encourage intermarriages between different religions, cultures and so on…
(3)Do not be ashamed of your flaws
I keep shouting from the rooftops “No one is perfect and no one is expected to be perfect!”. We all have our flaws we are dealing with… sometimes we are so ashamed of it that we hide behind a mask and become so judgemental of ourselves and others… we need to accept ourselves for who we are, its human nature to have flaws, working of your flaws is part of our growing process… Admit them to other people and let them know and you yourself know you are working on them… we are all work in progress..
You may be cranky at times, pessimistic, angry, even antisocial or a little weird. Well, guess what? Fela kuti, Steve job and many more were freaks.
(4)What are your passions and talents?
What are you passionate about? What is it that gets you excited or demands your undivided attention? What activities and pursuits make you feel really alive? You can’t build your life around your passions if you haven’t figured out what they are. What are you naturally good at? Which things come easy to you? Is there something you worked on as a hobby all your live because it just wouldn’t let you go? More than likely, this where your natural strengths are
Think of the time when you were young. What were you naturally drawn to?
When you believe in something or see beauty in something, you should do it no matter what anyone else thinks. If you have found something that is worthy of your best efforts, sacrifice, and tears, then you have found the most important pursuit of your life. Often, that pursuit can lead you to something ultimately fulfilling.
Find your values. These are the things that matter most to you on the deepest levels. What are your personal values and standards? What are your priorities and your beliefs? Do you understand why these things are important to you? What level of commitment are you willing to make to your personal standards and ethics? How true do you want to be to your true self? Do you compromise your values in your work place by taking bribes? Are you in a relationship for the wrong reasons? The list is endless only you can answer that question.
Shakespeare’s advice …Know your values and never compromise them, even if doing so might lead to short-term gain. Integrity and authenticity go hand in hand.
(6) Have a bucket list
Try to do something every day that you would’ve brushed off as “weird,” “illogical,” or just plain “uncomfortable.” In a nutshell try something new …. Getting out of your zone will not only teach you something, but it will force you to get to know you — what you’re capable of, what you like, what you definitely don’t like, and what you were previously missing. Face your fears if you are scared of heights try bungee jumping, a canopy walk, skydiving etc., new food, talking to that stranger you were not so comfortable with… try going down the rabbit hole it is a world of adventure.
(7) Find a mentor/ life coach
Having a mentor or a life coach does help in this journey of getting to know your true self… Though ultimately soul-searching can only be done by you and it’s only you that determines what you need but having a life coach or mentor does help especially when there is conflict, unavoidable bumps on the road… use your life coach as a sounding board try and find someone you trust and you are comfortable with.. Find out how they did it… A good support system is really a key to self-improvement.
(8) Using your dreams to know your true self
One of the easiest and most important things we can learn from our dreams is who we are – who we really are. At the centre of most of our dreams, watching, evaluating, performing various activities is our True Self. The many other aspects of our personality appear as other characters in the dream, sometimes as people we know, sometimes as strangers, sometimes as animals, forces of nature, or monsters.
we all experience inner conflicts about how we should act and speak, whether we should control our behaviour or live from our impulses, whether we’re really in love or just living a lie.
In our dreams we are free to be who we are… out true nature comes out… spend time and notice how you react to events in your dreams and write them down.
(9) Let go of the need to be loved by all
Accept that some people will think poorly of you no matter what you do. It’s important to forget about what everyone else thinks because you cannot please everyone. And while you might not want to disappoint the people close to you, they should want you to be happy. As long as you continue to exist just to fulfil other people’s ideas of who you should be, you’ll never know who you really are.
Food for thought:
Raymond Hull said: “He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.”
Do not let others decide for you what you are destined to do. Their path may not be the correct path for you. What works for one person may not work for the next. Don’t lie to yourself and try to be someone you are not.
Rome was not built in a day, so it will take time, patience, trial and error to know your true self.. the fun is in the process enjoy the journey ahead