6 Things You Need To Do Now In Order To Find Yourself

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If you want to know how to be happy with your life, you need to learn how to find yourself — your true and real self.

Finding yourself means becoming aware of those around you, what makes you happy and what does not, and when you feel good about yourself and when you don’t.

They don’t teach this in school, so how are you to know how to do something you have never been taught?

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"Who am I? If I don't know who I am, what am I missing?"

To begin with, you are missing some of the best things about yourself!

What makes you happy? Sad? Fulfilled? Excited? Angry? Frustrated? Scared? Hits your funny bone? Makes you burst into tears? What kind of people do you want to be with and are good for you? How do you bring joy to your life? What makes you feel you really make a difference?

This list can go on and on, but I’m sure you get the drift of what you are missing when you don’t know how to be your true self.

So, don’t be so hard on yourself if you're feeling lost or have no real identity. Look around you and inside yourself and you will begin to find your true self with the right process and map.

Here are 6 ways to find yourself so you can finally be happy.

1. Identify what affects you in a good way.

Notice what you are doing or who you are with when you feel good.

You may want to be around people who are kind, spiritual, playful, or maybe avid readers who love talking about their books. Or, you may prefer people who want to continue to grow. You may feel good when interacting with others who share the same hobbies, hopes, or dreams.

What makes you feel good might be people who laugh a lot. Making plans might feel better to you than not having plans or vice versa. Maybe certain music really touches you and makes you feel really good.

2. Know what affects you in a negative way.

Surrounding yourself with people or events that don’t fit you can easily drain you and put you in a bad mood. These outcomes indicate what does not fit your true self.

A consistently late friend can easily cause your mood to fall, especially when you’ve talked to them many times about being late and that this really bothers you. Really negative people can be very emotionally draining to be around.

Having to go somewhere without proper directions can cause you anxiety and create negative feelings about going to a particular event. Controlling people can cause you to feel stifled and annoyed that your needs don’t seem to matter.

The unknown may negatively affect you and you feel uncomfortable if plans are sketchy as to time, activities planned, or where the event will take place.

3. Think about what makes you happy and gives you joy.

Knowing what makes you happy is as important as knowing what doesn’t. You may feel joy being at the beach or looking at the Full Moon. Or little kids and puppies may bring you joy. Helping people in need may give joy.

The mountains or nature may bring you joy and happiness. Maybe you're happier when you're making a quilt or rebuilding an antique car. How often are you doing things that give you joy?

4. Think about what you admire about yourself.

Strengths, talents, and values — do you know what these are for you?

Feeling good about yourself is different than just being happy. It means you recognize something that you do well or makes you feel like a good person inside. It is a sense of feeling worthy and that you matter and can make a difference in this world. These are some of the things that shape your true self.

Maybe you are honest, a gifted painter, very intelligent, generous, or have other good qualities you admire.

Feeling good about yourself is also about liking who you are, how you treat others, what you are talented at doing, etc. So how do you feel about yourself? Do you like this version of your true and real self?

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5. Know the signs of emotionally healthy peoplee.

Emotionally healthy people tend to hang around with other healthy people.

People who are usually in a good mood tend to be healthy and those who seem to truly enjoy their life likely have found their true self and live it. When things in their life no longer work for them, they make positive changes.

Setting healthy boundaries with those around you shows respect for yourself. Instead of getting annoyed that your friend is consistently late, let them know that this bothers you and ask them to make a concerted effort to respect your time as well as theirs.

People who use alcohol or marijuana (where it is legal) in moderation may be making healthy choices with that use. Friends who respect your privacy and keep your secrets are making a healthy choice.

Recognize those who make healthy choices about food, jobs, and relationships and try to learn from their choices.

6. Recognize unhealthy people you know.

People tend to choose friends with about the same degree of emotional health as themselves. So, take a look around you. If your friends do not make healthy choices, do you?

Examine this window into your true self by determining if the choices you make really work for you. And if not, will you make some changes?

People who don’t value themselves tend to make unhealthy decisions. Those who complain a lot about other people tend not to feel good about themselves.

When a friend pushes you to do something because they want to do it, and don’t care what you want, they signify that their needs matter more than yours. They are emotionally unhealthy.

When you've finally discovered your true and real self, how do you put it all together?

Most people often judge themselves harshly. You are not alone if this describes you. Sometimes parents inadvertently teach their children not to value themselves. And, likely, the lesson came from each generation before them.

This may mean that as a child you did not receive a true picture of your real worth. When a parent does not have healthy self-esteem they tend to treat their children as they were raised, which may likely have been unhealthy.

I don’t think it happens on purpose, but it’s important to separate a negative childhood upbringing from your true self, or at least, who you want to become.

If you don’t know who you really are, then look at the above things and see what fits you and what doesn’t. Which people make you feel good and encourage you to feel good about yourself? If the people around you are not healthy, will you make changes in your choice of friends?

If you find you still don’t know what truly fits you inside, don’t be afraid to seek out a psychotherapist who can support you while they guide you through that process. Knowing your true self is a journey. You will likely continue to change in the future.

Don’t be afraid to be who you really are. The right people around you will truly want you to be happy and healthy.

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Susan Saint-Welch, LMFT, is a marriage and family psychotherapist who has been practicing in-person and online for over 20 years, helping radiant, single men and women get unstuck and find the lasting love they deserve.

This article was originally published at LifeandRelationships101. Reprinted with permission from the author.