How To Find Yourself: 25 Ways to Rediscover Who You Really Are
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Many of us go through periods in life where we feel “lost”.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of experiencing a misstep, a detour in plans that slightly knocks us off our rhythm. Soon enough however, we get back “on the path” and everything’s right as rain.
But then there are other times…
Those times in life where we take a gut punch. We get the wind completely knocked out of us, and we’re down on the ground getting kicked and eating dirt.
And for a time, we forget who we are and what we’re made of.
Pain will do that for you.
Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.
Finally, there are times when we’ve been wearing a mask or playing a part, or maybe we stepped into a new life role.
And that role consumed us; our focus, our energy, our time and attention.
And now, after a period of time, we realize we’ve lost touch with who we are.
We’ve been working within a “role”, but that role, that “persona” is not who we are, but what we do…
You might feel that you’ve lost touch with who you are authentically.
Maybe you’ve been married a number of years and are only known as someone’s wife or mother, and now you’re struggling to reaffirm your personal identity.
Maybe you’ve experienced a loss of identity because of a loss of a “title” or position such as “boss” or “wife”.
And maybe your children have grown up and left home and though you’re certainly still a mother, your role within your family is changing.
Whether you’ve experienced a change of job, gone through a divorce, or had your children grow up and move out, times of transition aren’t easy.
How do we reconnect with our ‘true selves’ and move forward?
How do you find yourself?
These 25 tips will help you get a few steps closer to finding yourself again and to finding happiness within yourself.
How To Find Yourself – 25 Tips To Help
Journaling is a way for us to enter into a conversation with ourselves.
It’s a tool that helps us to “go inward” to explore and express our innermost thoughts and feelings in a judgement and limitations-free environment.
The effort of writing things down helps you to slow down your thought process and thoroughly consider your situation in a productive way.
To get yourself started on a path of self-discovery (or rediscovery), check out our huge list of helpful prompts in our post, 200 Journal Prompts That Will Have You Journaling Like A Pro.
Mindfulness and meditation allow our minds moments of simple peace to clear out unnecessary mind clutter, to allow space for new thoughts and ideas to surface, and to allow ourselves to go deeper into our own consciousness and reconnect with the soul of who we are without distraction.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways to find peace and clarity within yourself because it allows you to get quiet, relax and focus.
Find a comfortable spot, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Let go, relax and allow your thoughts to pass by like clouds. For a detailed meditation exercise, go here.
Yoga, like meditation, is a fantastic way to clear your mind of distractions and get centered.
It allows you to get in touch with your physical being through movement, and to physically and emotionally detach from the external stresses of the world.
Yoga doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
All you really need is yourself and a mat or a towel to get started.
There are a variety of helpful yoga instructor videos on YouTube to get you started with your practice.
4. Write Creatively
Creative writing allows your mind to get away from the confines of reality and allows you to dream and create.
Dreams, imagination and creativity are all important tools that allow us the freedom to see ourselves, our circumstances and the world in incredibly different ways.
They allow us the freedom to disconnect from “what is”, and to open ourselves up to what is possible.
Writing poetry or short stories can help you discover new things about yourself, and to consider circumstances and alternative paths from a new and different perspective.
There aren’t many more enjoyable ways to find yourself than through creating.
Remember doing art as a kid? Remember how fun and freeing and powerful it was?
Engaging in whatever kind of art feels good to you can help you gain a better understanding of your identity by bringing out your artistic side.
You can try anything from painting to photography to pottery.
The important thing is that you spend time being creative.
When you’ve spent so long in a certain role such as wife, mother or teacher, adding art back to your life can help you to gain a new sense of self, new confidence and freedom and a new perspective on your situation and life.
We are all born artists, so tap back into your artistic side. Even if you’re not a Rembrandt or Picasso, you’re you!
Reading offers so many possibilities in your efforts to find yourself.
Reading about the stories and experiences of others who have traveled paths similar to yours, benefiting from their experience and insight, gaining knowledge from their successes and failures is a huge opportunity for you.
Reading can help you gain the tools and understanding you need to process your own thoughts and emotions and experience.
And reading can also be used as a form of relaxation to release stress and to allow your mind to quiet, opening up opportunities to refocus (or to regain focus) on those things that matter to you most.
Whether it’s manuals or memoirs, reading will help you to ask questions, find answers, process your thoughts and find yourself in the characters or situations you read about.
7. Spend Time in Nature
Taking some time to yourself to experience nature is a powerful way not only to find yourself, but to find peace within yourself.
Getting out into nature regularly whether walking, biking, hiking or the fifty million other tings you can do outdoors allows us to connect with the Earth and the larger circle of life of which we are a part.
These moments of quiet peace are a great reminder of our connection to the world, and are wonderful opportunities for quiet contemplation that help to encourage thoughtfulness and growth.
8. Set Aside Quiet Time
Schedule some quiet time to yourself every day.
Whether it is drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, taking a walk, or doing meditation, whatever you can do to give yourself moments without constant inputs does wonders for allowing the mind to process and reflect.
9. Declutter Your Space
Decluttering your physical space is one of the best ways to re-imagine yourself, your life and to rediscover your identity.
I went through a decluttering process several years ago, and it was one of the best things I’ve done for myself in recent years.
Do you have a lot of stuff that you’ve accumulated or kept for a long time that really no longer fit the current version of yourself or who you want to be?
Have you held onto keepsakes from a past relationship, have clothes you no longer fit into or kept things you don’t use anymore?
Ridding yourself of clutter helps to lighten the weight of your experience, both physically and mentally.
Stripping your space of the things that no longer serve you helps you to redefine yourself and carve a new path forward.
10. Reconnect with Old Friends
Talking with old friends, genuine friends who know you well and love you, can be a great way to remind yourself of who you are authentically – your most positive, appealing and winning characteristics, and your genuine flaws; those things you truly need to work on.
Friends can help remind us of the best things about us, what’s truest about us, and the fact that we have people who love and support us through it all.
11. Take a Personality Test
While we should all take personality tests with a grain of salt, trying out some online tests such as Myers Briggs personality test or the Enneagram can help us think about ourselves in new ways.
Results from these tests potentially give us a new vocabulary for understanding who we are.
And even if you don’t completely believe in the accuracy of such tests, at the very least, answering the questions may help give you a better sense of who you are.
12. Pick Up an Old Hobby
Re-engaging with an old hobby can help us to feel connected to who we really are at our core.
Did you use to play guitar or do watercolor painting?
Many of us let our hobbies go by the wayside as we get older.
Reconnecting with a favorite hobby can help us feel more like ourselves again, particularly after a time of change.
13. Make a Life Goals/Bucket List
One way to get to know yourself better is to make a list of things you want for your life. Set goals.
When first making your list, allow yourself to consider all of the possibilities without limitations.
Don’t worry about how plausible they are or whether or not you think you’ll be able to accomplish them.
Detail your wildest dreams.
Discover what it is you genuinely want from your life, and in the process discover who you are and who you want to be.
(Hint: Begin each sentence with “I want” and keep going as long as you can. For example: I want to travel. I want a fulfilling job. I want to be happy… etc.)
Do you remember how great it was to play when you were a kid?
Besides making you feel awesome, and happy and invincible (remember what it was like when you believed nothing could hurt you?!), play releases stress and allows you relax, helps you to exercise your body and be wildly creative with your mind.
How awesome is that?
These fun sensory experiences help us to de-stress, let go and reconnect with our innermost selves.
What do you enjoy doing purely for the sake of it?
Maybe it’s swimming at the beach, dancing the night away or singing karaoke with friends.
Whatever it is, give yourself the chance to have fun and possibly rekindle old interests (and maybe create new ones!) that remind you of (or free you to be) who you are.
15. Express Yourself in a Letter
Is there something you’ve needed to say to someone in your past that you feel is holding you back from moving on; from getting closure?
One way to move forward without bringing toxic people and relationships along with you is to write a letter expressing how you feel.
And get this…You don’t even have to send it if you don’t want to.
Simply writing the letter allows you to process what you need to about your relationship with that person and the circumstances surrounding it, express what you need to, release the negativity associated with that person and reclaim who you truly are.
16. Connect with Art
Seek out stories or art about people in times of transition.
Through these expressions of artistry, you might get a chance to learn about yourself, discover some new clues about yourself and what you truly want.
Learning how others move through times of turmoil can teach you a lot about yourself and what’s most important to you.
17. Meet New People
Meeting new people is one of the greatest ways to help you to redefine yourself, your connections to others and connect with who you are right now.
Instead of feeling like you have to meet someone’s preconceived notion of you, allow yourself be who you truly are with the new people you meet.
In this way, you set your present self apart from your past self.
18. Challenge Yourself
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but thought you couldn’t do?
Maybe you’ve wanted to be a pro at handstands, or write a novel, or learn to play an instrument?
Learn to stretch yourself. and going for new goals is one of the best ways to rediscover who you truly are.
19. Take A Trip
Taking a trip, traveling alone is one of the most ideal ways to get in touch with yourself; to find yourself again.
When we travel, we are launched headfirst into the present.
Everything around us is new and worthy of our attention.
And when you travel alone, you set yourself up for incomparable experiences where you have the advantage of having only to follow your own whims and desires.
You make the experience what you want it to be.
And in doing so, you get to know yourself and become reacquainted with yourself just as you would a dear friend.
By the way, if the thought of traveling alone is too daunting at first, try starting with simpler outings like going out to a restaurant alone (I did this quite often in college to force myself to get comfortable in the experience), or exploring a new place in town.
Then as you become more comfortable in new surroundings and in unfamiliar places and experiences, you can work yourself all the way up to visiting a new country on your own.
Eat, Pray, Love anyone?
20. Social Media Detox
Disconnect from social media for a few days (or longer).
Doing this will allow you to spend time with yourself and to truly be present in the here and now without constant distraction.
The ability to be in an environment where you’re not constantly being distracted, interrupted or being demanded of is invaluable.
Allow yourself some time without all of the devices “of convenience” to get quiet, take inventory of yourself and your circumstances and reconnect with you.
21. Use Your Hands
Working with your hands is an exceptional way to reconnect with who you are.
Manual labor gives your mind time to wander and reflect.
Do you like cooking or gardening? Building or refinishing furniture? Sewing or craft-making?
Any activity where you use your hands to work really puts you in touch with your senses, and helps you to get in touch with yourself.
22. Take a Class
Learning something new can help reinvigorate your interests.
Maybe there’s something you’ve always been interested in and never tried, something you’ve tried in the past, but weren’t successful with (that you want another crack at), or something that’s completely new to you that you’d love the opportunity to conquer.
Learning new things helps you to fight the stagnation we all feel sometimes when we get too immersed in the regular flow and routine of life.
And if you’re facing a life transition, there’s no better time to try and experiment with new things to see where your interests lie, and which paths you may wish to pursue.
Sometimes there’s no better way to clear the cobwebs from your life and to reinvigorate yourself than with physical exercise.
Exercising regularly can help you to become more aware of your physical self and develop a true appreciation for what a wonderfully made and awesome machine your body is.
Getting in touch with your body also helps to foster a focus of your attention inward as you begin to develop a more intimate understanding of and relationship with your physical self.
Exercise also helps us to clear our minds and tap into our better version of ourselves.
24. Look Back at Childhood Mementos
Remembering your childhood – where you’ve come from, how much you’ve grown and the changes you’ve navigated since you were a kid – is a great way to encourage yourself.
Reconnecting with how you identified and defined yourself early in life, what you envisioned for your future and how you envisioned your adult self are excellent ways to tap into your core values, beliefs and ideas; those things that make up who you are authentically.
And what better way to find yourself again.
Looking back at your childhood dreams and desires can help you remember the core pieces of your personality and regain some of that childhood sense of wonder and possibility for your life.
25. Spend Time with Animals
Finally, if you have a pet, try spending more time with them.
If not, consider adopting a pet or visiting a friend’s pet if you don’t already have one.
Okay, that last part sounds a little weird, but experiencing the unconditional love of an animal can help us to feel relaxed, content with ourselves and more in tune with, and appreciative of, life’s quiet joys.
Spending time with them allows us time to slow things down, to pause and reflect.
A little solitude with a furry friend may be just the thing you need to help you to reconnect with yourself.
Finding Yourself Again
During times of transition, upheaval or change, it’s easy to feel lost.
If you’re wondering how to find yourself again, the most important thing you can do is to allow yourself the time and the space to reflect and focus on you.
Once you’ve done that, you can begin making the necessary changes to your life to align it more accurately with your vision of yourself and what you want your future to be.
Good luck and God bless!
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Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.