Today I’m talking about how to find your true self for a simple reason.
I remember a moment when I was crying in the shower because I had no idea who I was. Early that day, I came across a woman I just met. She asked me, “Who IS Monica? What’re your hobbies?”
I looked at her dumbfounded. I already told her my title and what I did in my career. But she laughed and shrugged my answer off declaring, “That’s what you DO, but I wanna know YOU!”.
WTF does *that* mean?! I awkwardly laughed… Then her phone rang. — Ah! Saved by the bell. Thank god.
But that night, I went home and cried my damn eyes out.
I felt so stupid. “Who the f*ck can’t answer what their hobbies are?!? Am I only my job??”
I was finally able to answer those questions. After a while, I went through a series of steps that helped me with my own self-discovery, and I uncovered my true self. I also learned that a LOT of women have a hard time answering questions like that, too.
When I ask my clients these questions, I hear the same thing almost every time.
FAT — LAZY — etc.
So, I say, let’s flip the script with this. In this episode, you’re going to see four tips to help you find your true self.
It takes some digging, but once you know your true self, that negative self-talk starts to become smaller.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST EPISODE HERE
True Self Tip #1: Stop Looking at Others
Have you ever thought, “Man! If I were just a little more like her, then my life would be so much better”? I know you have because I have, and so has everyone else.
The comparison trap is real, my friend, and it’s not just something that happens when you’re scrolling on the ‘gram. We’re always comparing ourselves to others; it’s like it’s written in our DNA. Whether it’s IRL like when you’re at work looking at successful co-workers, or in the world of internet like Facebook, you see other people who have their shit together. Then you ask yourself, “Why don’t *I* have everything figured out like them?”
Then it goes on where you change things about your life (and ultimately yourself) to try and “fit in” to what you see around you. This could be small at first, like trying out a new hair color that everyone is rocking. But then it can grow into changing your personality and acting like other people around you.
It’s hard to tell apart the parts of you aligned with your true self, and what you’ve created to be like others. It can seem like you’re so far gone that when you’re alone, you don’t know who you honestly are.
That’s EXACTLY how I felt in my old career (which I’ll be referencing a lot in this episode, so stick with me!).
Ok, so if this struck a chord and sounded like the story of your life, then no worries! We can move past this.
But here’s the realness you may not like… it’s time to stop looking at others (at least for a while).
Now, I don’t mean to sit at home like a hermit and never see civilization again. Obviously, you’re going to see people and interact. What I’m saying is drop as many influencers as you can — both in real life and on social media.
Let’s start with social media first. Set up two weeks (or whatever feels right to you) to delete the social media apps from your phone. You’re not abandoning them forever! But the goal here is to see how you are WITHOUT other people influencing you. This isn’t limited to Instagram stars and “influencers,” but also people you actually know that influence your decisions. Self-Discovery bonus with this: you’ll be surprised at what you learn about yourself when you can’t scroll IG when you’re bored!
How to take a break from people in real life. So real life is a little more complicated than just deleting a few apps. As an adult, you have responsibilities, maybe that means having to go to work and be around co-workers or family obligations. But for those same two weeks we talked about earlier; you’re going to try your best to limit interactions with people. This doesn’t have to be a weird thing that you announce to everyone, but having communication with a few key people is going to be necessary.
Like, if you have family obligations and you see members of your family all the time, you probably don’t know how you are without them in your life. Don’t get me wrong! Having family ties is important, and finding your true self doesn’t mean you have to give that up. But an important part about finding your true self is to know who you are BY YOURSELF. So, let them know something like, “I’m going to be spending some R&R time for myself the next two weeks, so I’ll be a little sparse. But don’t worry! This time away isn’t about our relationship. It’s just for me! I’m excited to hang out again in two weeks”, or something like that.
As far as co-workers, try as much as you can to keep to yourself and not engage in conversation. When you do have convos with other people, keep a journal handy near you. Jot down how you felt during those conversations and bonus points if you can write word-for-word some of the thoughts you heard go through your mind.
Knowing what these thoughts are is GOLD because this gives you an indicator of how you are around other personality types. Did you like the kind of person you were when they were speaking? Did something in you change?
After the two weeks, grab your journal and write what that time looked like for you, what you learned about yourself and what you want for your true self!
“Character is who you are when no one is looking”
Tip #2: Drop Your Stuff
I’m talking about your titles, material goods, or other things outside of you that you’ve been using to define yourself. This is step number seven in my 7 Steps for Self-Discovery, and it’s my favorite for sure.
The idea is not to let things like family roles (I’m a mom), job titles (I’m a marketing director), religious beliefs (I’m a Christian), and material things (I’m a jeep owner) be what defines us. All of these things may be important to you, but they make up just parts of your life, not your entirety.
You are more than what you are to others, what you do, and what you have.
I’m met with resistance when I talk about this idea with my coaching clients. Usually, because they either think I’m telling them that who they are to their family or what they believe isn’t significant. Let me clear that now! These are important, but they are what you do, not who you are.
You may be a loving mother, and a devout Christian and not connected with your true self.
The idea here is to get a sense of who you are at your core. Not just who you are in relation to other people.
I like to use core values to help clients define who they are. They’re like personality traits that make up who you are. So maybe that’s loving, caring, adventurous, brave, kind, etc. The possibilities are truly endless here.
If you’re drawing a blank on what your core values are, then I encourage you to download my free Core Values Journal to help you!
Tip #3: Remember it ain’t like the movies
More specifically, remember that life doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes you will fail, or shit will hit the fan. Sometimes life will seem like everything is going wrong.
When things go really wrong like this, it’s a great time to see who your true self really is. You don’t know who you truly are if you’re only thinking about when everything is going great. Just like how you can’t see who you are when you’re too busy looking at other people. For a looooong time, I felt like I didn’t know my true self.
I felt lost after a childhood of poverty and spending my adult life trying to widdle away at my flaws to fit into a career that wasn’t right for me. When I knew I wanted to leave my career, I felt like I was spinning out in deep space. I identified as my job (just like true self tip #2), and since I was giving it up, I had no idea how to define who I was.
I was so hyper-focused on one aspect of my life, I didn’t think about the hardships I went through when I grew up on government assistance with no running water or heat. I didn’t think about the strength I had to cultivate to rise above abuse from my step-father.
A while after I quit my career and started my website, I decided I needed to look back at my life with a fresh set of eyes. I wanted to redefine myself, and this was a significant step for me. When I went wayyyyy back, I saw how intelligent I became when I had to come up with creative solutions to clean myself without a shower. I saw how tenacious I was when I got my first job at 15 to support my mom and I. The list went on and on.
So, even though I have running water and heat in my house today, I know I didn’t lose any of these traits that make up my true self.
Think back in your past when things didn’t go right. What did you learn? What personality traits did you develop during this time? As I said, it’s when things don’t go right that we see who we really are.
Tip #4: Get Real About the Fakeness
I’m not going to lie, this tip is going to suck to do. You’re going to feel pretty slimy and probably get upset with yourself for a while, I know I sure did.
To get to know our true self, we’ve got to be able to point out when we were a fake version of ourself. It won’t be too difficult to do. Think back on a time when you said or did something that wasn’t aligned with your core values or personality. What was it? What did you feel?
Why am I suggesting you bring this up?
Well, when we get real about when we’ve been fake, we can make a conscious decision NOT to be like that again. I’ll give you a quick example.
When I was in my career I hated, I often tried to be like my co-workers, especially the ones I thought were cool. And just like how we are in high school, the easiest way to do that is to talk trash about a mutually hated co-worker. Even though I thought of myself as a kind person, I would join in on the trash-talking when my peers were around, so I didn’t seem out of the loop.
I’m NOT proud of that.
Even though I feel gross about doing that and I don’t like thinking about myself doing that, I needed to reflect on it. When I do, I can make the decision not to do that again because I know it doesn’t feel right. It’s like my body and true self trying to scream to me not to do that again.
So what about you? What is a time you don’t like thinking about? What can you learn from it? How can you avoid doing that same action again?
WHAT TRUE SELF TIP ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram (I’m @MonicaChats).
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