Getting to Know Yourself
How well do you know yourself?
I think I know myself pretty well at this point, but that wasn’t always the case.
When I was 19 years old I decided to do something strange.
I had just finished a two-year culinary arts diploma program at an Alberta technical school and knew that I didn’t want to become a chef. The trouble was that I had no idea what I wanted to do.
So, I decided to take a year to figure out who I was.
I came up with a wacky plan – I would follow my curiosity wherever it led me and hope to find some answers. I figured along the way, I might discover what I wanted to do with my life.
Over the course of the next year, I did a lot of interesting things. I was working a couple of part-time jobs to pay the bills, but in my spare time, I did anything and everything that interested me.
I took violin lessons.
I took a course on mutual funds.
I took sign language classes.
I volunteered at a local inner-city elementary school.
I went indoor rock climbing every Wednesday night.
You get the idea…I just tried things.
I learned a lot about myself along the way. It turns out I was not destined to become a violinist or a mountain climber, even though those things were fun.
One day, while volunteering at the elementary school with a young fifth grader I had been paired up with, her teacher asked me if I could help her with math. I happily agreed, and by the time I left for home, I knew what I wanted to do – I wanted to become a math teacher!
I enrolled in University shortly after that, and three years later, I was in a classroom of my own.
The point of this story is that I spent time getting to know myself. I often find clients come to me with some central questions about who they are and what they want in life. I think getting to know yourself is a fantastic investment of your time. Of course, you don’t need to take a year of your life to devote to getting to know yourself.
Here are some tips I learned along the way. Let them guide you in your own self-discovery.
- Ask yourself questions and listen for the answers. I asked myself a lot of questions that year. Do I enjoy this? Do I like the people I met today? Do I want to take the next class in this, or is it time to move on? And I listened to my answers.
- Let your curiosity guide you. If something seems interesting to you, go ahead and look into it. You might be curious about a different type of book music, or coffee shop. Follow your curious mind!
- Don’t be afraid to find out what you don’t like. Along the way, I discovered just as many things I didn’t enjoy as things I did. Anything you learn about yourself is a good thing.
- Observe yourself. What do you do when you have free time? What do you do when you have a few extra dollars of cash on hand? You might learn something about yourself by watching what you already do.
- Even small discoveries are important. If all you find out is that you love your morning coffee and you feel a bit bored with your evenings, it’s a place to start.
- Start with time. Getting to know yourself is a lot like getting to know someone else. If you wanted to get to know someone else, you would spend time with them. You’d ask them questions, and you’d pay attention to the details of their life. You can do the same things to get to know yourself.
Knowing yourself contributes to your mental wellness in countless ways. You are more likely to spend your time in ways that fulfill you if you know what you like and how you feel. You will be more empowered to set boundaries and say no to things you dislike. You will attract others who feel and think similarly if you know yourself. You’re even likely to be more confident.
So get out there and find out who you are! You might as well get reacquainted with the person you spend the most time with.Back to Blog & Videos