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The prerequisite of self-development: Self-discovery

Guide to self-development (Part 3) - Committing to being self-aware

Photograph: Unsplash

Text: Aina Masood

This month, I would like to take a step back and focus on self-discovery, a stepping-stone in the self-development journey. Self-discovery or awareness is a prerequisite to the process of self-development. If you want to move forward, it is essential to know where you stand. Similarly, for you to take a step in developing who you are, knowing who you are is imperative. When you try to gain insight into your inner self, you uncover your values, beliefs, personality traits and preferences.

Important reminders

  • Self-discovery is a process and looks different for everyone.

  • It requires time, effort, kindness, and consistency.

  • If something didn’t work for someone, it doesn’t mean it would not work for you and vice versa.

  • Surround yourself with people who help you grow.

  • Progress on this path is subjective, which means only you can decide what progress means.

"This is you showing respect and giving yourself the honour to be still."

How to get started?

#1 Self-exploration through therapy

Trying to get to know yourself better means you will have to revisit past traumas, difficult periods, and heartbreaks. It is beneficial to have a safe and secure environment, free of judgements, so you can fully immerse in the experience. Having a therapist can prove effective as it allows you to examine your emotions and develop a deeper connection with yourself. You do not have to do it alone.

#2 Reflect and journal

Use the art of introspection and storytelling. Ask questions about why you do the things you do and write down your thoughts and feelings. Try to make a timeline of your life to see the significant events and your biggest moments. It is also helpful to try a time capsule or write journal entries using journaling prompts. To get yourself started, you can use the following journal prompts:

  • What is your fondest childhood memory?

  • What did you enjoy doing as a child?

  • What are three little things that bring a smile to your face?

You can later use the answers to these questions to bring lightness and joy to your days by putting it in action and making it a part of your day.

#3 Identify what you believe about yourself

Your values, beliefs and qualities can give information about who you believe yourself to be as a person. They can help you picture a life you want to have, how you want to behave and what you expect from others. For example, some of your values might be compassion, loyalty, honesty, respect for space and boundaries etc. When you invest in uncovering these values, you have a better chance of living by them.

#4 Give yourself 10 minutes a day

Add 10 minutes to your schedule for yourself. This could be any time of the day when you sit with yourself. Think of it as 10 minutes of stillness and doing absolutely nothing. This is you showing respect and giving yourself the honour to be still. You can start with 5 minutes if ten sounds intimidating. Remember that you are not doing anything except being still for this time duration. When it is over, you can record anything coming up during that time and give yourself some time to process it before you go back to your day.

The bottom line is Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were you. Who you are today is a product of years of happenings, and it would take time to dig deeper and reconnect with your inner self. However, taking steps in the correct direction counts, and you are in charge of this process.

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