But first, a quick story that illustrates how not knowing yourself enough can hurt you.
When I was 18, there was this guy in college that had a crush on me.
We were friends, and when he told me he liked me, I said I wasn’t interested without giving it much thought.
What I didn’t know was that he was far from a quitter.
He was a persistent and somewhat annoying young man who wouldn’t take no for an answer.
He tried everything from sending me love messages to following me around after class to spend time with me.
Even though I didn’t like him that way, he was a good friend. Looking back, I can see why I couldn’t show how annoyed I was by him: I felt guilty. So I finally gave in.
I ignored my intuition and said yes.
We dated for almost five years, out of which three were sort of the most miserable years ever.
I’m not gonna say I’m regretful for all of that. I know that experience was necessary for my growth.
However, when I look back to that experience, I see that I didn’t know myself well enough to understand what I wanted, what I needed, and how to get it.
I ignored that feeling in my gut telling me to stay consistent with my no’s because I thought saying yes was what I was supposed to say to someone who was that persistent.
To me, at the time, what he felt for me and how he showed it was far more important than what I wanted. It was more important to be polite than to be honest.
I didn’t show up for myself.
If you’re going through something remotely similar, I get you.
And I want to tell you something really important: Don’t be hard on yourself. There’s a way out, but you’ll need self-compassion to make it work. That way out is called self-discovery.
In this post, I list all of the top reasons why self-discovery is so important.
Self-discovery is a fundamental pillar of self-growth; it’s a journey that takes you from unaware to owning your own power, knowing your true potential, understanding your feelings, preferences, style, motives, and more.
To me, an intentional life starts with self-discovery.
I hope you’ll find the missing piece in your life in this list and start devoting more time and effort to knowing yourself.
19 Top Reasons Why Self Discovery Is Important
Self-discovery helps you:
- be more in tune with your gut, your intuition because it helps you be more self-aware
- name your feelings and understand where they come from
- speak up and stand up for yourself because it helps you increase your levels of self-worth
- stop comparing yourself with other people because it helps you see how unique you are and how unique everybody’s journey is
- set boundaries in relationships because it helps you understand your values, what you stand for, and what you’re willing to tolerate or not
- understand what holds you back when it’s time to make important choices
- know what you’re afraid of so you can get ready to face your fears when it’s time, instead of letting them control you
- identify your negative self-talk so you can reframe your thoughts and turn them into empowering ones
- improve your levels of self-love because it helps you make peace with yourself and show yourself compassion
- diagnose bad habits and work on them
- build better habits that allow you to take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally because the more you understand yourself, the more you understand what you need
- set more meaningful goals because it makes you see what you want your life to be
- recognize your strengths and weaknesses, so you can leverage what you’re good at and seek help when you need to
- uncover your biggest dreams in life
- live more intentionally, according to your own personal values and beliefs
- nurture your relationships and build better ones
- understand your past and make peace with the choices you made when you didn’t know better
- see where your self-esteem is falling short, so you can work on the things you can improve and accept those you can’t change
- figure out what you want to do with your life.
What happens if you don’t know yourself
Many subscribers have told me, and I quote:
“I feel so lost. The hardest part for me is making big decisions or committing to a specific path.”
“I don’t know what the next step is. I know I am not entirely happy with what I’m doing, and I want to change that. I just don’t know the next steps.”
My response is basically the same every single time: You need to spend more time knowing yourself, facing the hard questions, thinking, and analyzing. Meditate. Journal. Practice mindfulness.
Here’s the deal…
Wanting to get your life together without knowing where you’re standing is like wanting to make it to a desert island on your own without a compass.
You can have the map; you can know exactly which steps to take to get where you want to be.
But if you don’t know who you are right now, how can you know where you need to improve to get what you want?
Heck… how can you know what you want if you don’t know yourself?
Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t about being free of doubt all the time and always making choices in a heartbeat, no matter how hard they are.
You’re going to feel full of doubt from time to time.
However, the more you work on your self-discovery, the better prepared you’ll be to make the best choices for you, overcome your fears, and ultimately build a life that works for you.
Not knowing who you are takes you down paths you’re not happy with.
At the end of those paths, there’s confusion and discontent.
How to Start Your Self-Discovery Journey
Check out the Self Discovery Bundle if you want to start harnessing the advantages of self-discovery.
Filling it out with honesty will help you feel more at peace with yourself, more confident in who you are. It’ll give you clarity.
This is a bundle made of beginner-friendly mini workbooks.
It’s designed to help you know your goals, dreams, levels of self-confidence, feelings, beliefs, mental blocks, and fears.
In it, you’ll find prompts and journaling exercises to help you make sense of your past, understand what’s holding you back, look through your self-talk, and much more.
You can also check out the free Stop Feeling Lost workbook, which is a lot about self-discovery but way shorter.
It doesn’t cover as many topics as the Self Discovery Bundle, but it’s a good starting point.
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The Bottom Line
Self-discovery will transform you into your best self.
But don’t forget it isn’t something you do once.
Becoming aware, waking up from living on auto-pilot, takes time; it’s something that must be a part of your routine.
As I said, it’s a journey.
If you want to boost your growth, increase your self-awareness levels by making mindfulness, meditation, and journaling part of your daily routine.
Checking in with yourself is fun!
Make it part of your day to see how you’re feeling and why, your expectations about certain situations, how much pressure you’re putting on yourself, and to keep your negative self-talk at bay.
Take 5-10 minutes a day to journal your thoughts and do special journaling exercises every once in a while to go a little deeper.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You got this.
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” ― Albert Einstein