Self reflection can be a critical step in self discovery.
Photo Credit: Summer Thomad
Self reflection can be a critical step in self discovery. Photo Credit: Summer Thomad
Self reflection can be a critical step in self discovery.
Photo Credit: Summer Thomad

From the age one is able to understand the concept of adulthood, they are consistently asked the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For most, this cripplingly played-out inquiry begins as a juvenile, but exciting, thought of a future as a princess or astronaut. With time however, it becomes a stress-inducing cliche (for myself, at least).

Adolescents are expected to have an idea of who they are and where they plan on going considerably early on; however, self discovery is seldom an easy journey. As a matter a fact, it can arguably be the most daunting, on-going task each individual faces throughout life. The following ideas can be helpful aspects in your journey of self discovery.

1) Alone Time

Spending time alone without having to consider the needs of others can be a time of true enlightenment. Being alone can feel like a dreaded time of desolation for many. However, by finding comfort in one’s own company and realizing the benefits of time spent in solitude, alone time becomes an opportunity for fun and exploration. It can even help improve the time one spends with others. Especially in this modern age, it is rare to be entirely disconnected from the world and people surrounding us.

[vision_pullquote style=”1″ align=””] Although it can feel the most prominent during adolescence, self discovery is a continuous cycle rather than a one-time deal. [/vision_pullquote]

One of the most valuable tools in self discovery can be keeping a journal. Personal breakthroughs can be made in the simple process of writing out your thoughts and feelings. Additionally, going somewhere alone (especially if it’s somewhere new) is often an entirely different experience than going to the same location with a companion. Having the time to ponder and absorb your surroundings is a critical step in finding one’s individuality.

2) Exposure to different media (books, art, movies, music, etc.)

By accepting various kinds of art forms into your life, you will learn a lot about yourself. Delving into a book, movie, television show, album, etc. will open yourself up to the ideas that the creator of the medium is trying to convey.

Being receptive to different ideas is an essential factor of developing a viewpoint on certain topics, as well as determining what is and is not important to you. It is said that the thing you love (whatever that may be) says more about you than the object of your passion.

3) Talking to people

Simply expressing one’s thoughts verbally could have a large impact on their attitude. Talking about one’s thoughts and feelings with a trustworthy friend, or even a therapist or counselor can be a very beneficial part of finding yourself. Knowing that there is someone there to listen to you can be a nice feeling, as it is reassuring that you are understood by someone. Sometimes, conversation can be one of the most useful tools for realization.

However, if talking through personal thoughts with someone else is not really your thing, an alternative to journaling would be recording yourself expressing your thoughts verbally through audio or video (à la Beyonce’s documentary “Life is But A Dream”).

4) Try out new skills

Taking up a new hobby or teaching yourself a new skill is a great way to step out of your comfort zone. Whether it be watching YouTube videos on crocheting or taking a yoga class, developing new skills and trying new things will be helpful in establishing a sense of your strengths and weaknesses.

Furthermore, they will allow insight into different perspectives or establish appreciation for the work of others that you may not have considered previously. On the other hand, taking part in different activities can be a fun and refreshing activity to look forward to in your busy schedule, and can even lead to forming friendships.

Humans are constantly undergoing personal growth and change; remember to keep in mind that who you are is bound to change, and that does not have to be a bad thing. Although it can feel the most prominent during adolescence, self discovery is a continuous cycle rather than a one-time deal.