I think we construct ourselves for other people, and that’s okay … but not 100% of the time. There are times we have to be ourselves or we are going to wither away beneath our fear forever. Here are a few things you can do to uncover who you really are at the core.
All of these take courage.
1. Accept that negative things people say about you could possibly be true. And then dare to change. It’s that DARE part that hurts so much. But come on. I’ve had several people in my life tell me some pretty negative and hurtful things about myself. It wasn’t until I really dared to see what they were saying and accept that there might be some truth in what they said that I could finally face the pain and do something about it.
2. Really figure out if you are an introvert or extrovert. Nobody is 100% one or the other, but it has been proven scientifically in more places than one that everyone is bent more towards one or the other, and that we are born that way. It doesn’t change. We can often learn how to be really good at pretending to be the opposite of what we are, but it’s innate. Knowing what you really are and what that means is a huge, huge eye-opener. I’ve written a post about a book I read that might help you too.
3. Stop hiding from yourself. Literally. Look in the mirror every single day. Nothing can replace really looking at yourself in the mirror and learning to love what you see, flaws and all. I used to have horrendous acne. I still have scars, and I’m beginning to look past them now. It has been a difficult journey.
4. Make a list of what you judge about other people. It’s true what they say: the things you judge about others is what you’re judging about yourself. Sit down and figure out the judgments you make on other people. Those are the things you’re most concerned about in life, and probably the things you should try to work on for yourself instead of pushing it all on other people, even if it’s only in your thoughts.
5. Find a true hobby. Your hobbies and what you do in your spare time says a lot about you. If you don’t like that you’re playing video games four hours a day when you get home from work, maybe you should step back and figure out some other things in your life that you’d like to explore instead. Maybe you’re just an avid video gamer and you’re playing with your entire family. That says a lot right there too. Positive things! But step back and make sure you’re filling your spare time with things that you truly love, not things you’re doing just because it’s popular, or to avoid your true self.
6. Learn to say no. It’s hard to say no to people, or even opportunities, especially if it makes you feel guilty or selfish to do so. But look up at point #2. If you know what you tend toward — introverted or extroverted — you’re going to know more about your limits and the limits of others. That’s when it gets a little easier to start saying no to the things that aren’t really going to help anyone, or make them or you happy, in the long run.
7. Find some silence every single day. Life is loud. Life is crazy. Singling out some time just for you, and making sure it is quite literally SILENT, is essential … and not just for introverted people who prefer silence. I think it’s essential for human beings in general. How can you know yourself if you can’t hear yourself? Even if it’s just three minutes, find some silence to ask yourself how you’re doing and what you might need to do to alter your course, even if it’s just slightly, in order to find your center again. Sometimes that means following #6 and saying no to something. Sometimes it means saying yes.
8. Check your social media interactions. Consistently. I think a lot can be said about how we interact on social media. Take a good, hard look at how you interact and what it might be saying about you. Do you always want to prove yourself right? Are you seeking out ways to state your opinion everywhere to make yourself feel validated? What are you trying to validate and why? If you get upset after being on social media, why? Really try to figure out how social media makes you feel, how you’re interacting, what you share and why you are sharing it and what you’re expecting out of sharing it. Knowing these things and studying them can say so much about you. I’ve found that it often shows me where I’m feeling a lack in my life. That’s when I have to ask why, how, and what I should do to fill that lack.
9. Realize your true friends. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with #1. Your true friends are the people who know you best. Sit down and make a list of the people you’d tell anything to. Once you know who those people are (there probably aren’t a lot), sit down and have a chat with them about what they see as your strengths and weaknesses. If they truly love you, they’ll tell you the truth. It’s an eye opener.
10. Learn to admit your worst imperfections to other people. It’s a good thing to be able to admit to other people face-to-face that you are not perfect and there are things you’re working on. When you can realize and face your worst imperfections and admit them to other people, you are finally ready to see yourself as you are, your True Self, so to speak. Seeing that True Self doesn’t mean you’ll love that True Self, but it does mean you can start discerning between what is amazing about you and what might need some working on. And not obvious things, either, but the things that will get to the root of everything else you’d like to better about yourself.
I believe it’s only when you can see your true self that you can truly see others, as well.