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Questions of the Soul

The Road to Self-Discovery

Many times, people endure difficult lives without realizing their own thoughts, feelings, and habits are contributing to that bad life. By taking the time to honestly analyze your life and make necessary changes, you can improve yourself and begin on a new, more positive path. Use these self-discovery practices to help you create a better life experience for yourself.

Enter a State of Mindfulness

Engaging in certain relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or meditation, are great ways to get into this frame of mind. The goal here isn’t to just relax, however. You want to spend a few minutes out of each day looking inward, so you can examine yourself without criticism. Just learn to be in the moment and consider your place in the universe. One obstacle people encounter in their quest to figuring life out is that they fail to consider how they affect their surroundings, and vice versa.

Avoid Self-Recriminations

Most of us look inward many times throughout each day, but the problem is that we only see the negative and tend to focus on what we’ve done wrong. We compare ourselves to the progress of others, without considering that they may have struggled to get where they are at that moment. Instead of making comparisons that lead to you to feeling like you’re not good enough, take these opportunities to look at the progress you have made. Many times, focusing on what you’ve already accomplished will help to motivate you more than trying to compete with your peers.

Confront Your Inner Demons

While it’s counterproductive to incriminate yourself for failing to live up to unrealistic expectations, that’s not to say you shouldn’t criticize yourself at all. In fact, you should look inward and identify your weaknesses. For instance, low self-esteem can affect your personal relationships and your ability to advance your career. If you tend to give up in confrontations without strongly stating your beliefs, or feelings, this can also interfere with your ability to reach your goals. By identifying your weaknesses, you can begin to make changes that will help you overcome them.

Focus on Your Strengths

Just listing your weaknesses can leave you with an overly negative and inaccurate view of your life. Also, take the time to identify your strengths. These can be aspects of your personality, positive behavioral habits, or skills and hobbies that you enjoy. Taking an inventory of your strengths and identifying things that make you feel fulfilled can help you get a better image of yourself. This type of evaluation defines who you are at this moment and who you will become, as you continue to evolve and grow.

Associate with Those Who “Get” You

While personal insight isn’t a shared experience, that doesn’t mean the path to self-discovery should be traveled alone. To the contrary, associating with people you consider to be in your tribe will help you advance along the way. These are people, who support your dreams, goals, and personal growth. They respect your skills and strengths, while helping to mitigate your weaknesses. Supportive friends will help you by pointing out your failings in a constructive way, so you can improve upon yourself.

Embrace Change

Finally, learn how to embrace the changes that come into your life. Partly, this means making deliberate changes that can help you become the person you want to be. Additionally, embracing change means to surrender to the moment, instead of fighting change that you know is inevitable. The world is constantly evolving and resisting new changes, even those viewed as bad or negative, can create more turmoil in your life. Once you accept that something is changing, you can learn how to adapt your strengths to deal with it.

Taking the time to commit to a journey of self-discovery can help you improve your life, when things seem stagnant. If you can identify and compensate for your own weaknesses, you’ll be better prepared to utilize your strengths to help you deal with any situation. Looking inward at ourselves helps us to change how we interact with the world and how we go about achieving our goals.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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