Who am I? And why does it matter?

Coaching for self discovery

Finding out who you are and why this is important for you. (listen to my podcast if you prefer to listen)

Have you ever wondered who you are deep down and what you stand for? If not, you’re not alone.  Taking time to dig a little deep and work through some questions to find out who you are, what makes you tick, what your purpose is, what brings joy (and sadness) can bring so many benefits.

The ability to question yourself, spend time to follow thoughts, identify what is important, can bring self belief, confidence along with making decision making and interacting with others a lot easier. It is a conversation that comes up regularly in coaching, and if you read on, you’ll find some questions to help you start the process.

Why get to know yourself?

Think about when you’ve spent time with someone and got to know them better.  How has that affected the relationship? What has that brought or changed?

You will have found out more about them, what they like, dislike, their opinions perhaps (and whether you agree or disagree), you might have found out what makes them laugh, what they feel strongly about, what they enjoy doing.  All this means you’ve got to know them better and hopefully feel closer and more loyal to them. And this is why it’s good to do this with the person you spend the most time with – you!

There will of course be occasions where getting to know someone better has given you insight into parts of them that you don’t like. If you have an open and trusting relationship you will be able to discuss these aspects and decide whether you can accept them as a part of them and move on, or whether they are things that you can’t get over and mean you move apart. Through discussing, hopefully you both learn to respect other opinions, unless they are non-negotiables.

Similarly, getting to know yourself and noticing parts you don’t like or agree with, is a useful exercise as you have the power to change these parts and decide what you want to do with them.  You are the only person you can fully change and control and this brings a great feeling of power.

Knowledge brings power 

They say knowledge brings power and this is so true when building up your knowledge about you. You find the power to feel comfortable in your own skin, need to apologise less for yourself and reduce the need to please everyone. You get to understand what you stand for, how you want to be with others. You will start developing a feeling of greater certainty, less regret as you will be making decisions consciously according to what you want, as well as needing less external validation i.e seeking praise from others and being able to feel happy with yourself.

Where to start?

This is not a one off exercise.  This a gradual process of awareness of self, where you keep on discovering new parts of yourself.  Ten years ago, you may have been different in any ways, depending on environment, both people and place. Ten years’ hence, you will likely be different again, as you will have more life experience and knowledge. However, your core purpose and values will probably be similar, if you really get to know yourself and have consciously chosen these.

Start with some questions.

What are my strengths?

What are my weaknesses?(if you find this hard, consider what others might say about you – this can be useful as a pointer / to start the thinking)

What do you like doing?

What do you dislike?

What are you interested in?

What did you love doing as a child? Does any of this still interest you? Would you like to rekindle some of these interests?

Who do you like to hang out with?

What sort of people do you warm to? / want to move away from? And why?

What makes you happy / sad?

What brings you joy?

What makes you nervous?

What do you dread?

What brings you exhilaration?

What energises you?

As you work through these, observe how much of the answers are what you truly think or choose and what you might have picked up from others, through parental / peer  influence or competing with others.  Be mindful where your actions / interests / choices are as a result of comparing self to others and not truly wanting them yourself.

As I said earlier, this is the start, and many of these will change / or you will choose to change them. And this is where the power is.  You start to make conscious choices around what you truly want.  Just like a great film or play, you will keep discovering new aspects of yourself and start understanding yourself better.

What are the benefits of knowing who you are?

You will realise your own value

The more you know about your skills. strengths and qualities, the more you’ll realise what you have to contribute.  You’ll feel more confident and valuable.  When you come across weaknesses, you will feel strong enough to choose to change them.

It’s easier to know what you want

You will make decisions with clarity as you won’t be overloaded with self doubt and questions. If things don’t work out, you’ll have the ability to be kind to yourself and know you did your best with what knowledge was available to you and see if as learning. Having an inner confidence around what’s important to you and your own values, will bring more ease to so many aspects of life, from work and career to family and relationships.

You can be more mindful of who you want to be

We are all made up of so many influences from childhood onwards.  So much so that many of us don’t know what we want or who we want to be.  By getting to know yourself, you can start to build a picture of who you want to be and start working towards it.  As they say “where attention goes, energy flows”.  If we don’t shine a spotlight on this and put some work in, we will lack the knowledge and power to do anything about it.

Life becomes more interesting

By keeping up the self discovery, you will find new aspects of yourself and will keep learning.  You will approach all with curiosity and look forward to the next discovery.  You will be able to apply this to your relationships with others too.

You will reduce the influence of others on you and your decisions / behaviour.

You will consciously choose to do things because they align with your own wishes and values. Not that of others. You will be mindful about who you choose to hang out with, which activities you select.  You will feel confident setting healthy boundaries underpinned with respect for others and the belief that others must respect you.

You will be less of a people pleaser

Sometimes we please others because we don’t stop to think what we really want ourselves.  It’s often easier to do things for others and keep everyone happy as working out what we want / like / feel good about isn’t clear and we don’t take the time to work it out.  Wanting to help others is good but not at the expense of your own wellbeing / confidence.

None of the above is about becoming selfish or demanding.  There are so many benefits to creating equal, respectful relationships and not giving in to others’ demands without considering whether you truly want to or not. It works both ways. Your thoughts and behaviours will become more conscious as you get to know who you are and what you want.

Make a commitment

If any of this speaks to you, choose to make the commitment now to taking the time to work through the questions. Do this without judgement or criticism.  See it as a fascinating exercise ad approach with curiosity.  Keep coming back to these thoughts as you increase your awareness of who your really are and who you want to be.  There is no perfect way to do this.  It will be imperfect.  Accept this and be patient. Keep on coming back to it and notice how things become clearer.

Coaching can help

If you need any support with this, get in touch.