Stop for a moment and ask yourself, "who am I?" This seems like a daunting question but dive a little deeper and think about the times when you are not moving about or engaged, when you are in a space where you can be your real "self". You can often find clues to what lies underneath your image or persona.
"Self" does not refer to your "image" - this is not your real self but a false self, a fictional character that has been molded by society, media and how we want to be seen. Late Sufi teacher Pir Vilayet Inayet Khan speaks wisely on this subject when he says that who we think we are is only a partial, incomplete portrayal of who you really are, or can be. He points out that the inner 'non-self' is "....conscious only of it's limitation, of it's possessions with which it identifies itself...." and therefore forgets it's own being becoming captive of it's limitations.
Seeing our truest selves is not an easy process, and not often a quick one. Usually, seeing our self does not happen until we age, become wiser and don't care what others think of us. Engaging in the process of self-discovery earlier in your life and with intention creating a life in line with your truest self will allow you to live more of your life in harmony, creating a deep feeling of inner peace, fulfillment and harnessing the possibility to thrive and change the world around you.
Although there are varying paths to take when engaging in the process to find the 'self'. One of the first things you can do to help guide you along is to ask yourself a series of questions. Dig deep and answer as honestly as you can, separate from the false, fictional self that may have been created.
Questions to ask yourself
- What do I love to do absolutely? If you were to have a full day alone think of how you would like to spend it. Try to think of the things you like to do on a regular basis, find the consistencies in your actions where you often feel most like yourself.
- What would be my purpose in life if there were no one to judge me? Often it is the fear of how we are being seen by others that holds limitations on how we live our lives. Erasing the views of others can open more doors to you really being 'you'.
- What do I consider one of my greatest accomplishments in life? What we are most proud of can provide a clue to seeing our truest inner satisfaction, providing a window to creating more of these accomplishments and feeling more fulfilled in our lives.
On one's journey inward there is not one correct path but there are some definite steps that can guide you along your path with more ease, creating less dead ends and more results and realizations. Some of the writings of Carl Jung on individuation give proven steps in helping you delete much of the randomness within your life, release the fears of being judged so that you can find what creates sparks in a more fulfilled existence.
- Acknowledge the limitations that were put on you as a child. From a very early age there was probably at least one door that was closed for you before you could even discover if it was one that you wished to remain open. Think of what that could be and how it could be reopened if you wish.
- Immerse yourself into a multitude of experiences and note how they make you feel. Try to distinguish between the feelings that may arise from the "false self" that was created and the "true self". Note the ones that feel honest, consistent and true to your heart.
- Write in a journal. This is a life-changing habit that everyone should practice. Just the process of writing things down can create more realization allowing your journey to be smoother and faster. Returning to look at past journal entries you can see how much you have evolved and changed in your thought processes.
- Practice mindfulness everyday. You can do this in your daily actions as well as finding a meditation practice. Meditation can be the answer in sitting and seeing yourself on the inside. Even if you begin with just observing where your thoughts ebb and flow you can unlock important answers to your being. You could also accelerate the process by signing up for a more intensive retreat such as vippasana meditation or Dark Room Meditation allowing you to dive deeper into the depths of your truest being.