Quit Being a Copy Cat And Reach Out to Your Inner Self
Have you ever thought about who you are? What you stand for?
I’m not talking about your roles or social identities. You can be a friend, brother/sister, employee, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, partner, father/mother, son/daughter, all at the same time, but these are just an aspect of you. They don’t represent who you fundamentally are inside. Your inner self is who you really are on the inside.
To know your inner self is to know your purpose, your values, your visions, your motivations, your goals and your beliefs. Not as what you have been told by others, but what you have discovered for yourself. Knowing your inner self requires a high level of introspection and self-awareness. If you have clarity to at least half of what is listed above, you probably hold quite a high level of self-awareness. At the same time, the process of discovery never ends – it’s a life-long journey.
You Are More Than Your Identities
Trying to uncover your inner self can be a tricky process. For one, you hold multiple identities in your life, each with their own sets of socially defined values, visions, expectations, etc. These may not directly conform with what you represent.
Because everyone is unique, your real self can’t be boxed in by any single identity or label. I’m an editor and a writer but I’m more than just that. These are just roles and titles. None of the roles by themselves accurately surmise who I am. The inner me is someone who cannot simply be defined or labeled by any one label. Your identities are extensions of yourself, but they do not represent who you are wholly.
Importance of Finding Your Inner Self
If you have never given much thought about your inner self, it is likely you have become defined a lot by your identities. It is common for people to see themselves as a certain role, such as a friend, partner, employee, son/daughter, and so on. Some spend their whole lives building themselves around such identities. Take those identities away, and they get totally lost, because they have a low awareness of who they are on the inside. These people are not be able to articulate his/her own visions, goals and dreams beyond what have been imposed by his/her identities.
You are the owner of your own life and you live your life for yourself. This life is one that’s defined by you, not what is defined by your roles or identities. If you are not connected with who you really are, you are probably just living your life for others. Pursuing others’ goals, living up to others’ expectations and projections of you, rather than what you really want. To know your inner self is the first step of living a conscious life of your making.
Knowing Your Inner Self Comes From Self-Awareness
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, knowing your inner self comes from being self-awareness. Even if you do not have full clarity on who your inner self is, it is likely that certain aspects of inner self are already exhibited on a day-to-day basis through how you assume your identities. For example, if you find yourself often extolling on being responsible to your parents, responsibility is likely one of your inner values. If you feel a compelling need to always be there for your friends, reliability is probability an important value to you.
It is perfectly okay if you don’t know your inner self. Discovering and unraveling it is a life long process.
Every day is a learning journey in discovering who we are and what we stand for. The more we uncover about ourselves, the more we are able to live in a conscious manner.
What’s Beneath Your Identities?
With a pen and paper, start writing whatever comes to mind as you read the questions below.
- What is your life purpose? What is the purpose you see your life to have? (If you don’t know your purpose, check out my 7-part series on Discovering Your Real Purpose)
- What are your visions for yourself, independent of anyone else? What goals and dreams do you have for yourself in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years or even 10 years?
- What are YOUR motivations in life? What gets you going, day after day? What will you fight for? What do you feel passionately about?
- What are your values? What are the qualities important to you?
- What are your beliefs of the world? What are your world views?
Don’t worry if you have difficulty getting things down. Even if it may seem that you are drawing up a blank, there is a real you that lies beneath all those social identities, waiting to be uncovered.
Here are some steps which I found to be useful in uncovering my inner self:
- Continuously learning and growing
- Putting myself in unknown contexts to spike my learning curve
- Constant introspection
- Looking beyond what I’m told to discover what I want for myself
- Listening to my gut feeling when it arises
Aligning with Your Inner Self
As you uncover more of your inner self, you will probably find your identities do not match to your inner self. There’s a conflict between who you really are and who you are expected to be. If that’s the case, it’s fine. It’s a first step to have already discovered who you are. The next step is to live in alignment with your inner self, as best as you can, within the situation. At the same time, start making long term plans toward ultimately living in full alignment with your inner self.
Focus on finding your inner self, then start living in alignment with it. That’s when you start to live a conscious life.
Let’s start by giving the true you a chance to stand out.