How to know yourself: 7 essential keys to a happy life
Knowing your dreams and fears, strengths and weaknesses, areas of confidence and insecurity help you create what you want in life, but also help you avoid potential roadblocks.
Without knowing yourself, you're more likely to be influenced by things beneath conscious perception.
For example, if you're not aware of an inner wound of feeling abandoned, rejected or unwanted, that could cause you to try and get those needs met in the external world in ways that cause you to sacrifice your authenticity.
This means you're not really free, but controlled by things of which you're unaware.
You have to know yourself to be yourself. That's why the key to self-actualization is self-awareness. It's focusing on yourself.
In getting to know myself in the following seven areas, I was able to shift from feeling depressed and totally off track to finding inner peace, knowing my purpose and walking my unique life path.
Symptoms of not knowing yourself:
- Confused and uncertain, not sure what you want
- Feeling like you're on the wrong path in life
- Dissatisfying or empty relationships
- Feel alone in the world
- Unfulfilling career
- Money problems, under-earning, overspending or not managing resources well
- Repeating problematic patterns in life and relationships. It feels like these things just keep happening to you, and you're not sure why
- Make decisions based on guilt, fear and obligation
Benefits of learning how to know yourself:
- Know what you want, clarity in your purpose and desires
- Greater peace of mind, less stress
- Focus in your path through life, satisfaction from making steady progress toward specific goals
- Fulfilling relationships where you’re seen and loved for who you really are
- Satisfying career using your greatest gifts and talents
- Feeling worthy of earning, spending and receiving, doing so in balance with resources
- Continual growth in life and relationships. You always have problems because that's life, but they tend to be new problems, not recurring ones.
- Make decisions based on desire and love
The most important areas when learning how to know yourself:
1. Know your dominant feelings, core wounds and insecurities.
The emotions you feel relay important messages about what is and isn’t for you in this life.
Emotional pain signals you're out of alignment with your true self. One layer deeper, we often fall out of alignment with who we really are because of some pain or insecurity that says it's not safe to be ourselves.
Dominant feelings or patterns, by which I mean recurring, often indicate deeper pains from earlier in childhood when your needs weren't met or you were rejected for who you are.
This is true even if your feelings are triggered by something seemingly random.
Because we tend to view everything in our lives through the lens of our past traumas and dramas, a random, high-emotion reaction OR a place where we feel numb or disconnected offers us rich insight about our deeper pains.
Learning to work with our emotions or identify where we numb out helps us understand our insecurities, heal the related emotional pain, and in turn reclaim our authenticity.
This allows you to be yourself and walk your unique path in life.
I guide you through this process step-by-step in the Self-Love guided journal.
Everything is very clearly spelled out for you, and you get daily journaling prompts to sift through all the layers of you in a very gentle, compassionate way.
2. Know your needs and how to care for yourself.
There’s two sides to this issue, both of which we explore in the Self-Love guided journal.
First, people learn how to care for themselves by how they were cared for.
Discrepancies between our needs and how those needs were responded to can create significant life-long impacts that affect how we care for ourselves, the quality of our relationships and even how competent we feel in pursuing our goals.
Second, it’s important to explore how to care for youself in a way that makes you feel totally safe and nourished. Something I talk about in the journal is alignment, which means organizing your life around your soul’s needs and desires.
Alignment is about noticing the energy of things. As you go through your day, notice what expands and elevates you. Do more of that. Also notice what feels heavy or draining. Do less of that.
Caring for your energy is the most important thing in life because your life-force is literally your currency. The quality of your energy determines the quality of our life.
Unfortunately, many people feel guilty for taking care of themselves this way.
The Self-Love guided journal will help you release feelings of guilt so you can give from a place of love rather than obligation.
3. Know your whole self with love.
One of my favorite — and unconventional — exercises is on Day 10 of the Self-Love guided journal.
I have you write out everything you like about yourself. Then, you’ll write down everything you’re not so fond of.
Finally, I invite you to look at the second list through the lens of love.
Like I share in the journal, I really hate my feet. I’m super self-conscious about them, but I still take time to appreciate them. They take me places. I HAVE two feet, which means I have two legs, which is something really amazing to be grateful for!
I was cautious to give this exercise because it can easily turn into self-criticism, but this is the essence of unconditional love — knowing yourself fully and loving yourself for exactly who you are.
4. Know your boundaries.
Without boundaries, you will give and give until you’re full of resentment with nothing left for you.
So many of us are taught it’s wrong to say no, or shove self-care in some fantasy box left over for the fairytale time when nobody needs us for anything and we have time free from obligation.
This is never going to happen. There’s always a demand on your time and attention, and if you want to know yourself, love yourself and create a life as unique as you are, you need to have boundaries on your time, energy and attention.
In the Self-Love journal I guide you through a simple four step process to help you set and enforce boundaries — even if you feel guilty every time you say no.
5. Know your intuition.
We all have a connection to our higher selves, the knowing beyond knowing that’s always there to guide our lives forward along the highest and best possible path.
Intuition speaks to us through thoughts and emotions. Learning to trust these inner nudges, and know when that voice is intuition and when it’s fear, is so important if you want to know yourself and navigate through life based on that connection.
In the Self-Love guided journal, I offer four powerful tips to help you strengthen this connection and reveal the single biggest difference between the voice of fear and the voice of your inner knowing.
6. Know your dreams.
Getting clear on what you want to create and do in your life is the difference between a meaningful life and one spent feeling lost and unhappy.
While those thunderous-voice-of-God moments do happen occasionally, you can’t rely on them to live the life that’s unique to you.
It’s your intuition that will guide you forward, step by step. Taking time in my journal every few days to reconnect to my desires, allowing them to evolve as I do, is one of my most important spiritual practices.
You have within you unique talents, gifts and perspectives the world needs. Your soul came to this Earth with desires to see, smell, taste and explore things.
Honor that! When we live a life out of alignment with our true selves, the natural result is unhappiness and stress.
Take any uncomfortable emotions you feel as a sign that it’s time to dig in and do some inner work.
The Self-Love guided journal is here to guide you through that journey step by step.
7. Know your values and what’s important to you.
Any article on getting to know yourself would be incomplete without talking about identifying your values and what matters to you.
A values-driven life is a meaningful one. Even for your desires to be fulfilling, it’s important that they reflect deeper values.
For example, maybe you want to travel. What are the deeper values there? Is it freedom? Adventure? Appreciating other cultures?
During some seasons of life, it’s not possible to do the things you love. (Such as travel during the coronavirus.)
But if you know your deeper values, you can find fulfillment and happiness anyway by filling your days with things that honor your deeper values.
Maybe you could do something that makes you feel free, like dance, if that’s a value.
Or perhaps you could cook exotic cuisines to fulfill your thirst for discovering other cultures.
Even the energy of adventure, I’m sure you could cultivate by taking a drive and exploring new outdoor terrain or even watching an adventurous movie.
This may seem obvious, but so many people don’t take the time to answer these foundational questions, and then wonder why they can’t figure out what they want in their lives or how to be happy!
Grab your copy of the Self-Love guided journal to be supported through a really cool journaling exercise that I learned from a mentor to get clear on your values and priorities.
At the end of the 30 days writing in this journal, you will feel more connected to yourself, having released painful patterns and emotions.
You will feel clear on what you want, and how to create a life that brings you joy — right now.
You will release the relentless feeling that nothing is ever enough so you can relax and enjoy your life!
It's time to walk your own path, to create a life as unique as you are.
That, as always, is our mission at Soul Scroll Journals.
All the love,
Founder, Soul Scroll Journals