Finding You

Finding you within - here are 4 practical steps to find the you within.

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.
You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

~ Lucille Ball

finding you

Have you ever wondered why you are able to accomplish so much and yet you still feel empty?

Haven't you marveled at the thought that you are able to quickly grow your circle of friends from social networking sites and yet you are still plagued with loneliness?

Does helping the people around you no longer give you a sense of fulfillment?

If you've answered "yes" to these questions, chances are your personal growth has taken the back seat of your priority list. Convenient living, a fast-paced life and a throng of obligations can easily upstage your personal life if you're not too careful. This article is designed to keep you from straying away from your lifelong journey to self-growth and happiness.

Here are four practical tips to help you find the you within:

1. Tour your bookshelves. Your bookshelf may be home to a couple of graphic novels, comics, books. magazines and short stories. Whatever the genre, your choice of reading materials will remind you on what the real you is truly interested in or curious about.

A tour of your bookshelves is a purely solitary pursuit. You won't need outside approval to satiate your curiosity or your thirst for pleasure, wide vocabulary and knowledge. In fact, a 2005 survey by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) reveals that people who read for pleasure turn out happier and more likely to engage in charitable endeavors.

Review the titles. Recall the plots. Remember which dialogues made you laugh or cry. The answers you seek about yourself or your happiness may just be in between the covers.

2. Look through your photos. Find time to revisit your past. Your good-old photo album is a great place to start. If you're into soft and paperless memory keeping, then scour your computer for archived pictures, videos and slideshows. The people who surrounded your life during your most documented moments have much to tell about the real you.

Search for common faces and common themes in the images: flowers, sunshine, pets, water, blue skies or balloons, for instance. You tend to be closer to the things that attract you the most.

At times, you may notice that you've accumulated photos that remind you of more bleak situations than good ones. Instead of pulling out a new box of tissues, give your analytical skills and memory some warm-up exercises. Try to figure out why you are magnetizing so much negativity in your life and what you should be doing differently. Your journey to self-growth begins with a reflection on these things.

3. View your most visited websites. Technology can make a slave out of you, but it can also be a valuable ally in your pursuit for self-growth. As you face your computer screen and browse the news, update your Twitter status, or check your inbox, don't just mechanically surf the World Wide Web. Instead, make a conscious effort to take note of your interests.

Self-discovery is an active process. Communication studies suggest that you tend to absorb media messages by default. If you're like a sponge that takes in everything passively, you could end up being molded by the expectations created by the outside world.

As early as today, find out why you are drawn to particular types of messages. Check the sites you've bookmarked. List the blogs which you regularly visit. Know the usual topics you're fond of researching on. Ask yourself, "Am I really filtering the content I'm consuming? Or am I just following what the rest of the world is doing?"

4. Indulge in the things that help you relax after a really stressful day. Imagine one of your worst days at work or one of the longest days at class for your masters in public administration. You come home after 8 p.m. Your house is a mess. You haven't had a bite. Your head hurts.

What's there to be thankful for? A lot, actually. You have a job and a home. You have a body that's capable of working and healing. Counting your blessings does not take a great deal of effort on your part. The more appreciative you are of your blessings, the more you grow as a person.

Just like reading, determining the things that give you relaxation is pretty much a solitary pursuit. Keep a list of these proactive solutions, and look forward to stress-filled days as an opportunity for you to show yourself some loving. Here are a few ideas:

  • Receive the undivided and genuine affection of your pet: a welcoming wag, an affectionate meow, a sincere and joyous welcome.

  • Treat yourself to a no-cooking night. Have pizza or Chinese food delivered straight to your doorstep.

  • Listen to your favorite music, play your favorite tracks as you soak in the tub, or sing your heart out in the shower.

  • self acceptance
  • Talk to your plants. Your garden is always attentive to your tales of glory and tales of woe. The plants and grasses are all ears but zero mouths.

  • Practice your hobbies. Play the violin. Sketch your pet. Brush up on your typing speed. Remind yourself that you won't be the complete package anymore if you let go of your talents.

  • Pour your thoughts in a journal. Your journal is your ideal confidante. It'll keep your secrets safe and won't retort that you're overreacting or you're overanalyzing things.

  • Remember: The people or things around you can be one of your sources of joy, but you can never be truly happy if you take yourself for granted.
    Love yourself.
    Find time for yourself.
    Let the real you shine.
    Everything else will follow.

    About the Author:

    Mikki Hogan is a work at home mom in Southern California and home-schools her four youngest children. When she's not reviewing lessons she enjoys relaxing with a good book on the sofa or just hanging out with the family.

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