We try to work on ourselves all the time. Trying to improve our knowledge. Trying to make our marriages better. And trying to make ourselves better leaders or employees.
We work, work, work on ourselves… Yet, the sad reality is, so few of us know who we truly are.
We work on the person we believe we are. We fail to work on the person we are.
This trying to improve upon the mythical image we have of ourselves often drives us to depression, frustration, and regret. We work on something that we are not or are not yet and we struggle to make sense of why things aren’t working.
Our methods for improving ourselves aren’t working because we’re not working on the right person. We’re working on something that’s not real or true.
But what would happen if we discovered who we are… Especially for the first time? I know things will change.
Finding Yourself For The First Time (Or Again)
You can’t effectively work on improving yourself if you haven’t found yourself. You’ll be working on an abstract being. One you may hope to become but one you are not.
To improve yourself, you have to find out who you truly are. For most of us, this’ll be a round of self-discovery we’ve never had before.
It’s not because we haven’t desired to know ourselves. It’s because we have had our minds clouded and distracted by the visions and dreams of other people.
From bloggers telling you how to make your next million dollars to the author telling you how you can improve your marriage in 3 simple steps, people love to tell others how to live your life. This sends mixed messages to you and about you.
You can find yourself though. I truly believe this. To find yourself, try this:
1. Step away from social media:
While I love social media, the images and stories told on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will give us a false sense of who others are. In turn, we begin to lust after these false images.
We begin to become consumed with trying to keep up with the Kardashians, Hyatts, Goins, and others of the online world. While some of these personas you see are true, others are not. You cannot chase after other people while trying to find yourself.
You have to step away. You have to choose to silo yourself off in this arena.
Instead, take the time you would spend on social media and use that time to reflect inwards. See if you can discover who you are by looking at yourself and your true desires.
2. Put down the books:
I think I heard you audibly gasp at this one. I know, it’s shocking to hear me say this but you need to put down the books.
This past year, I rarely picked up a book. It’s not because I didn’t want to learn. I put down books this year because I knew I needed time to discover myself once again.
The constant pressure of living up to what authors have told me I needed to be almost drove me crazy. I felt like I couldn’t live up to the message they’re laying out. So I laid down their books and went on a journey of self-discovery.
And what do you know? I found more of myself in living out my life without the constant input of the latest self-help guru or even Christian author telling me how to better love God.
3. Get yourself outside:
Looking back on my teenage years, I feel like I was a hermit. I spent so much time cooped up in our basement playing on our Hewlett Packard computer that I rarely saw the outside world. I was that bad…
Now I know something I didn’t know then. We need to get outdoors. We need the sun and the fresh air and the feel of the ground on our feet.
Our lives weren’t meant to be lived inside of four walls. We were meant to be outside, in nature.
Find ways to reconnect yourself with the outside world. Go outside and go for a run. Or a walk with your wife. Or with your daughter. Just get outside.
4. Take time out for yourself:
Our lives are packed with activities. Date night with your spouse. Your child’s choir concert. Volunteering at your local church. The committees you’ve volunteered for.
All of these take time away from spending time in solitude.
Yet, I believe, we do this because we can’t stand to be alone with ourselves. And this solitude is one of the best ways to find yourself.
You will hear your inner thoughts (good and bad). You will discover ways to entertain yourself. And you will be able to dive deep into who you truly are.
Finding yourself, especially for the first time, is a challenge. Yet the challenge is one you must take up. You need to discover who you are and why God created you.
Take the time and make the effort to dig into discovering the truth about yourself. Your time spent on this will be well worth it.