One of the most powerful things you can do is learn who you are. Knowing yourself liberates you from the expectations of society, family, and friends. It strengthens your resolve and decision-making. It uplifts you because you understand your value.
Two questions that tend to hang people up are: Who are you? What is your passion? Usually when those questions are asked of people, they pause and tend to not be able to answer at all. It is perplexing that society teaches us how to gauge others, but not discover self. We are pressured into maintaining societal norms of managing family and homes. We are encouraged to work until we drop, take on as many activities as possible, and become mesmerized in entertainment leaving no time to stop and evaluate if it is in alignment with whom we are.
I struggled with this for a very long time. There are still things I am learning about myself. I realized how enamored I was in daily living when my children would go to their father’s in the summer when we first got divorced. They would leave and I would be lost. I didn’t know what to do. I suddenly had more time to myself (something mothers always want but seldom get), but I didn’t know what to do with it. I began to ask myself how did I get here? How do I not know what I like and what makes me happy outside of my children?
It was at this point I began exercises to get to know myself and be comfortable with just me. Here are some of the exercises:
- Question the things you are involved in and do? Are you doing this because it is what is expected of you? Is it what you actually enjoy or are you trying to please someone else (spouse, family, anyone else in you close circle)?
- When I have a reaction to something – good or bad – why am I reacting that way? What was the trigger and root of that reaction? Is this stemming from childhood or other past traumas?
- Where do my interests lie? What am I attracted to? What makes me happy? What brings me peace? Why?
- How do I feel about myself? Can I look myself in the mirror? How do I describe myself now? How would like to describe myself? What do I need to do to reach my ideal self?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses? Are there strengths I would like to acquire? Are there weaknesses I can fix? If not, can I learn to accept them as a part of my humanness?
Doing these soul-searching exercises helped me understand who I am. It allowed me to objectively evaluate why I am the way I am, why I like (or don’t like) what I do, and feel the way I feel. It made it easier to say no to things that didn’t fit who I am. It helped me better plan my life and goals. It made me a better person in general. When you understand yourself, it makes it easier to filter through people associated with you. You learn to protect yourself better because you understand your triggers, your needs, etc.
Don’t be afraid to look yourself in the mirror and discover your biggest advocate. Learn to love who you are as a person. Make sure others respect who you are as well.
Related article: When Mom is Happy Everyone is Happy