There’s nothing more attractive and inviting than someone who is confident in who they are and what they believe in. There’s a grace and ease about them. Better yet, when you can live that way, you can share that grace with others and life is more fulfilling.
Contrary to that is someone who doesn’t know him or herself well, someone who depends on other people’s opinions for validity, or titles and roles for identity. These types of people are unsure of their values and purpose. When that person is you, it can be confusing and painful.
Can you identify with both scenarios?
The biggest problems arise when you look outside of yourself for gratification, praise, and identity. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves, and have deep, meaningful relationships and a purposeful life. However, if you don’t really know yourself, it’s impossible for others to know you, or for you to know your true purpose.
The major key to peace and joy is to know yourself at your deepest level of being, and to remember your true spiritual, multidimensional nature. This leads to a certain steadiness in life. Unlike being dependent on outside influences, you’re guided by your inner truth. This gives you strength for all that life has to offer. You’re able to be present, live with passion, and more fully experience the whole spectrum of emotions, from great joy to great sorrow, and still remain at peace. Sound like a worthy goal?
Here are five keys to nurture self-knowledge and embrace the power of being you. As you start to adopt them in your life, notice how your view of yourself and the world become brighter, more meaningful, and more magical.
1. Deepen your spiritual practice.
A spiritual practice means taking time to look inward and experience your true nature. Examples of spiritual practices are meditation, yoga, chanting, being in nature, doing something you love, studying ancient sacred texts, sitting in silence, or even immersing yourself in sound. It can be anything that inspires you to be, observe love, and feel. Ideally, your whole life will become a spiritual practice as you experience and realize your true nature.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." –Buddha
2. Be willing to feel.
You cannot think your way out of a situation that your thinking or judgments got you into. Your emotions are the bridge between who you think you are and who you really are. Many people go to great lengths to avoid their feelings, using drugs, food, and other distractions to ease their pain or fear. This only leads you further away from yourself. Substitute these destructive coping methods with journaling, prayer, meditation, inspirational reading, or activities in nature. Spend time with trusted friends, dance, sing, and play. Let all emotions move through you and inform you. The only bad emotion is a stuck or ignored one.
"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” –Khalil Gibran
3. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmative thought.
If you’re like most people, you speak to yourself in a way you would never talk to another. This keeps the reality of who you think you are in place and precludes your accessing the reality of who you really are. Gather some affirmations and write them down. Whenever you realize you’re being unkind to yourself, reward yourself for noticing with one of the affirmations. An effective remedy is to use an opposite statement. For example, if you catch yourself saying, “I am so stupid.” Replace it with, “I am actually brilliant.” Feel the difference in your body, mind, and spirit when you do this. Accept your true identity and personal excellence. Be your own best friend.
“Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” –Dalai Lama
4. Know and live your values and principles.
Take the time to determine clearly what you believe to be your most important values. What MUST be present in your life for you to feel good? Write 3 to 5 of them down and why they are important to you. Then, start to observe your thoughts. Take note of how you make decisions and take actions that are congruent with your values. Make your values your guide to action.
“Your values become your destiny.” –Mahatma Gandhi
5. Use your unique gifts and talents to help others.
We are all one and at the same time each individual is unique and has a specific place in the universe. You have been given talents and skills that are unique to your journey, but you must relate to others to survive and thrive. When you heal your own misunderstanding about the truth of your existence, everyone benefits. And when you help others, you help all. Choose peace, compassion, gratitude, and love, beginning with yourself and then sharing with others.
“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” –Deepak Chopra