It's very common to lose focus and sight of ourselves, especially in this day and age. We are so busy at work, in our relationships, finances, education, and we're also so engaged with social media. It's ends up being easy to not prioritize ourselves first and do not engage with what we actually love because we are so caught up with everything else. In addition to that, not only are we out of touch with who we are, but we are comparing ourselves to others in the process. This combination of factors can be really tough to navigate through when we are on a journey of trying to rediscover ourselves because all of these things are making a lot of noise. So, what's a person to do when they are in need of rediscovering and reconnecting with themselves?
Well, today I'm going to share some tips and ideas to consider if you are currently going through something like this. I know what it's like because I've been down this road many times. I know I'm on this road because I start to compare myself to other people and view myself in a lack based mindset. I wonder why I'm not [insert here] enough. Thin enough, beautiful enough, strong enough, smart enough, cool enough, fun enough, successful enough, driven enough, and so on and so on. I look at other people and wonder why I'm not like that. I take every moment I can for myself and my own growth and use it to focus on stupid sh*t that doesn't really matter. I try to stuff myself into this mould that was created by and for someone else... feeling like I need to do and be exactly that in order to be enough. On top of that, I make up the most intricate stories about my life and convince myself that it's true. Because let's face it, our brain likes to fill in the blanks and those blanks get filled with such nonsense sometimes. I feel emotionally stuck when this stuff goes down. It's not a fun time, but I do know that it's not forever. And if you're currently feeling this same way, please know it's not forever.
Here are some ways to help you reconnect with yourself and rediscover what you love and who you are.
Having the self-awareness that this is currently taking place is such a great start. Knowing that something is up and you're not in your most authentic state is a stepping stone to getting better. It's easy to beat yourself up when you realize you're unhappy with what's currently going on and feeling as though you've lost who you are. However, leaning into that discomfort and understanding what's going on will help propel you forward in your rediscovery. So, be inquisitive. Get curious and ask yourself questions. Any and all of the questions. Ask yourself what you love, what you dislike, what your passions are, what makes you excited, what makes you happy, what are you grateful for, what are you committed to and what gets you motivated. Find out the things that make you so authentically you as you begin to rediscover and identify your individuality. This is also a great time to ask yourself what you've recently given up in your life. Sometimes we let go of our passions and dreams because it's not aligning with the mould or box we think we need to keep stuffing ourselves into to be accepted, loved and seen as enough. If you've recently given up drawing because it wasn't on your path to success, maybe you should reconsider. This brings me to my next point ....
We are all creative individuals. Creativity comes in so many forms and I encourage you to do whatever creative mode speaks to you. Whether it's drawing, painting, sculpting, problem-solving, researching new topics, writing, developing something new, coding, fixing a car, dancing, or whatever else it may be. Creativity lives within all of us on some form or another. When we find out what it is that gives us the creative boost, we start to identify and rediscover what it is that makes us feel like ourselves again. You begin to focus on something other than what's going on in the world around you and it brings the focus back on yourself and your interests. When you're in your creative element, it's likely that you'll experience the state of flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that flow is the state of being so immersed and engaged in an activity with deep enjoyment. When you're in flow, you're in complete involvement with life and time doesn't seem to exist in that moment. You're very focused on the task at hand which creates joy and happiness at the same time. Which, again, brings me to my next point:
What makes you truly happy? What gets you smiling and laughing so much that your stomach hurts? What makes you feel so effortlessly full of joy to the point where you're simply savouring every moment? Experiment with this. It may very well be whatever creative activity you're doing in the point above. Engage in play and try fun activities that make you feel like a kid again. We don't create enough time in our lives for play but we really need to embrace more of that. This may feel uncomfortable at first because we think we need to spend so much time on fixing ourselves and doing what we need to accomplish all our goals toward success. Trust me on this one though. This will be a really fun point to embrace and I think once you start embedding this time in your schedule, you will look forward to it every time and it will help you take away the stress of the days and weeks.
Check in on Your Values & Strengths
What are your core values and the fundamental beliefs you hold? Knowing your values helps you identify what you believe in, what makes you feel whole, what helps guide you and what helps you live life with purpose. If you're not entirely sure about what your values are or need help with looking some over, here is a link to Brene Brown's list of values from her incredible book, Dare to Lead. This a great start to see which ones really align with you and who you are. For example, mine are: connection, creativity, making a difference, giving back and humour. Whenever I am living these 5 values, I feel at my strongest potential and feel I am my happiest and most authentic. In addition to that, identifying your strengths is another great way to rediscover who you are. What are you best at and what are some key character strengths that help you identify what you're really good at? Knowing your strengths and living into those is a helpful way to know what makes you thrive and how to be in your element. It's empowering to know that you can pull on your strengths whenever times are tough and that you are great at so many things. If you're curious to take a test, send me a message and I will be happy to share some with you! In addition to identifying your strengths on your own, this is also a great time to connect with a good friend, family member or partner and see what answers they can help you come up with for what your strengths are. And again....leading into my next point:
Connect with Loved Ones
Call up a friend, family member or your partner. Better yet, go for a walk with them, hang on the couch or do whatever makes you all happy together. Connect with the people that make you feel most like yourself. Practice vulnerability and let people in on what's going on for you. Chances are, that close friend/family member will be able to relate in some way and will hopefully give you a safe space to let it out and to be your authentic you. When you share and connect with people, thank them for it. Practice gratitude and let these people know how much they mean to you.
Unplug, Be Mindful and Live with Intention
Turn off the phone, log off your emails, sign out of your accounts and look awaaaay from the screens. At least for a little while :) Get yourself out into nature and simply savour the moments around you. Unplugging can be really tough at first. It can make us feel anxious with all the stuff going on in the world around us. Taking the time to focus on you will be essential in this rediscovery process. Unplugging ensures that you aren't wasting the time focusing on other people and their lives (ie. scrolling through social media, responding to e-mails or messages that are feeling like they are draining you). I'm not saying ignore all that stuff or to not respond to the messages. But simply take a break from it all. Start to practice mindfulness and focus solely on your breath and what you see around you. Take long deep breaths and listen to the sound of your breath. Take note of what's around you: What do you see, what colours do you notice, what sounds do you hear, what does the earth feel like underneath you, what can you touch? This point might be a bit tough to do at first because of how much we are used to all of the noise, but you can start by trying with small steps. Start with 10-15 minutes and gradually move your way up to something that is compatible with your schedule and that gives you enough time to de-stress and simplify.
I hope these points help you if you are feeling you are not at your most authentic self. As a Rediscovery Coach, I really encourage my clients to take note of these points and invite them to get curious about their lives. There is only one you. You're enough, you are valuable and you're a special being. Embrace all that you are!