For many people if they give it some thought they’ll find that a large proportion of their character is based on who they think they are.
Often those opinions are made at a young age without any real judgement. Yet you carry them with you into adulthood without even checking to see if your mind has changed.
It could be something as simple as a food that you don’t eat. Perhaps as a child you weren’t willing to explore with what you ate so you told yourself ‘I’m not the kind of person that eats that kind of food’ or ‘I don’t like to experiment with what I eat, I just like simple food’. Twenty years later you’re still saying the same thing and maybe that’s true but maybe you haven’t changed.
We get so attached to the idea we create of who we think we are that we close ourselves off to anything that challenges that.
The idea of exploring is one I don’t think is valued enough. I don’t mean travelling and exploring new countries or cities, I mean exploring self.
Being able to know your own limits whilst also being able to put yourself out there and experience new things.
It’s so easy to stay within the remit of what you know because there’s comfort in familiarity. However, it’s also worth considering when you don’t venture outside of that you lose the chance to learn about yourself about and understand yourself.
When you give yourself the opportunity to explore life a little more, you might find that you don’t actually believe the things you thought were true.
A few days ago, I wrote a post that did well numbers wise and I knew it would.
It was the kind of thing that people like to read whilst also being useful.
I don’t advocate for writing for people as you’ll never find your own voice or style that way. But in my previous post I managed to find the overlap between what I like to write and what you like to read.
That bit is the sweet spot because that way you’re not sacrificing your creativity or your chance to explore.
Apparently, to quote TLC ‘This is how it should be done’.
People often say that your twenties are the best time to take risks and explore life.
You’re young, for many you don’t have as many responsibilities like a mortgage, home repairs and children, you might still live at home so you have a lot of expendable cash etc.
People say that your twenties are the time to do things like travel, try different jobs, move to a new city, start a business, basically just go out, find yourself and figure out who you want to be and how you wan to live.
In some ways it’s a lot of pressure and being in that age group, I ended up taking the opposite approach.
I’m almost half way into my twenties and so far I’ve been focused on things beginning with the letter S like saving, structure and stability.
In a lot of ways that’s great but on the flip-side it’s meant that I don’t often have room to take risks and explore.
But I’ve noticed my desire for those things growing and so the balancing act begins.
A few words on self acceptance.
As you take the time to explore yourself you’re likely to discover all kinds of things: the good the bad and the ugly.
You might find that there are some things about yourself that have put you at a disadvantage and they’re not always easy to accept.
The things that make you different, the things that have to be explained in order for people to understand you, the things that make you uncomfortable and maybe it’s things you wish you could just bypass.
But these challenges, the things you find difficult are probably great learning opportunities or what I like to call growth points.
Of course that doesn’t make them any easier but what I’ve learnt is that the more you push back and resist the more challenging things become. Whereas, if you’re more open, willing to accept your circumstances and explain things to the right person (or people), the situation softens.
And once it softens it becomes more malleable and in turn more manageable until eventually you overcome it or learn to handle it better.
How exactly does one discover themselves?
Through exploration, experimentation and being open to the unknown.
If you live your life in the box of what you know, you may think that you know yourself. But actually, there is so much more of you to explore outside of that box.
As much as there is ‘the me I know’ inside of the box, there is also ‘the me I don’t know’ outside of it.
Granted you can’t experience every single thing in life but you can try things that are outside of your usual routine.
It can be big or it can be small.
- Visiting a new city
- Joining a group or class
- Doing the thing you’ve always thought about doing but kept putting off
- Going for a walk
You might think you know yourself or that you’re content with your life. But when you do a journal prompt like ‘Describe your dream life’ you might find you’re nowhere near where you want to be. Maybe you settled for an unfulfilling ‘stable’ job and you never even took the time to figure out what you truly wanted to do for a living.
“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, talking helps.
When used correctly it’s an excellent tool for self exploration where you can walk away from conversations and gain insight into aspects of yourself you hadn’t yet uncovered.
The beauty of it is that you don’t have to even need talking about the thing. However, you do have to be open and vulnerable to allow things to rise to the surface.
Yes, it might feel scary or uncomfortable but you don’t have to hold onto those feelings.
Do it, because you believe that by exploring your mind it’ll help you figure some things out and that might lead to a breakthrough.