I am so obsessed with this post from Maxie. I honestly go through intense periods of “finding myself” where I do (or try to do!) everything Max has laid out here. I wish I had known to do it much, much sooner in life, though. It’s an important practice to get yourself in the habit of doing.
What Knowing Yourself Actually Means
Guest Post by Maxie McCoy
When we’re moving through life, there are a million voices telling us which way to go or what things to care about. There are messages on every platform telling us what to buy and who to be. Parents and loved ones have their opinions and friends have an impact, too. None of those inputs are negative on their own. However, when they start to become the voice inside of your head, muting your own, you’ve got some work to do.
Knowing yourself is what happens when you turn down everyone’s else’s opinions and projections and turn up your gut, intuition, and voice.
The trouble, though, is that it’s doled out as casual advice. You just have to know yourself. At face value, it’s like of course, duh, yes I need to know myself. That agreement, however, is quickly followed by questions of what that even means much less knowing how to do it. Knowing yourself doesn’t “just happen.” In the same way that you have to get to know a new friend in your life, you have to put the same effort into the budding relationship with yourself.
Because here’s the deal: I ’ve been on both sides of knowing myself – the side that couldn’t have been farther away from who I really am and drowning in messages of what I thought I should be, and on the side I currently sit of knowing who I am – and I can tell you the latter changes everything.
Here’s a few question to ask yourself to become a step closer to knowing who you really are…
What comes naturally to you? When you’re able to do something well with very little effort, these are your talents. And knowing what those things are is a huge asset. Here’s why – your talents bring you energy, lots of it, so the more you’re operating in those talents, the more you’ll feel like the highest expression of yourself. My favorite assessment to find out your talents is StrengthsFinder.
What do you want? Your big huge desires are key to getting to know yourself because they help characterize what path you’re on and why. What’s important is to focus not so much on the “whats” and more on the “why.” If you’re struggling with what your big vision is, I’ve got just the workbook for you – I created this vision setting exercise to help you figure out what you want.
What do you like and hate? Likes and dislikes are important. Maybe you hate your major but were doing it to please someone. Maybe you love your curly hair but wanted to fit in. Start tuning in to what YOU (and only you) like and dislike, instead of what you “should” like or worrying too much about what looks good.
Are you listening? To your voice inside of your head. Is that voice YOU or is it society’s and the cultural constructions around you? Next time you have a decision to make, try tuning into how you feel. What’s your gut saying? What’s your body saying? My favorite way to do this is to get really quiet and lay on my floor with my hands on my chest and tummy. It sounds weird (I know!) but it helps me get away from everything else other than what my heart, body, mind, and gut are telling me.
Remember, knowing yourself is a process. No matter where we are, we all have to continuously push away messages and expectations around us to tune into what we want and who we are. With these questions, however, you’ll be off to a great start.