Self discovery is anchored in consistent curiosity about yourself and an intention to pay attention. It is a daily practice of getting to know yourself.
How frequently throughout the day do you ask yourself questions? Simply posing questions for yourself is a highly effective way to create greater self awareness.
Ask yourself why you feel drawn to something.
Why something bothers you.
Why something excites you.
Why you do the things that you do.
Ask yourself what your motives are, WHY you think/feel/react in certain ways. What are the results of those thoughts/feelings/actions?
Probing yourself by constantly asking yourself 'why' helps to uncover the hidden beliefs and underlying patterns that are running your life.
For example, let’s say that a coworker asks you for a simple favor and your immediate reaction is to feel annoyed. Ask yourself, why does that bother me so much? Is it because I don’t like helping people? Probably not. Is it because my own need for support is unfilled so providing support for others feels unfair? If that is the answer then you can ask yourself in what ways you feel a lack of support and furthermore, how can you go about getting that support. Maybe you need to ask for support from others or maybe you need to take a minute to give back to yourself in some way.
Or let’s say that it is not the favor that bothers you but the individual asking for the favor. Okay, why does that person bother you? Maybe the way they ask for the favor reminds you of how your sibling used to ask you to do something and that triggers emotions from when you were younger.
To take is a step further you can examine your thoughts and ask yourself questions regarding them.
Ask yourself, is this thought true?
Is this thought helping or hindering my success?
Is this thought productive or destructive?
Is this thought purposeful or habitual?
Is this thought original or redundant?
The majority of the thoughts that occupy your mind each day are just old stories stuck on replay. The past conditioning you acquire from your environment dictates an alarmingly large amount of how you think and behave. The more you are be aware of what those habitual thoughts are and how they impact your attitudes, beliefs and behaviors the more freedom you will have to change them.
They key to self discovery is to simply get curious about yourself. Pay attention to the thoughts you allow to run through your mind all day and why you do the things you do. Ask yourself questions. Ask yourself anything and everything. Then pay attention to the answers.
Journaling can be an excellent way to work through these questions and give yourself some space to explore what is going on in your mind. Talking it out with friends and loved ones or going for a walk while you think are other helpful tools for enhancing your self-discovery process.