308: 7 Steps to Get to Know Your True Self
Hosted by Rima Danielle Jomaa
The secret to being happy in life and in love is to know exactly what you want, like, need, desire, whatever. But getting to know yourself can be one of the hardest things for some people. For others, spending time alone and being independent comes naturally. For those that don’t feel this way, being alone can feel like the scariest thing in the world. When we don’t know what we want, like or need, it’s impossible for us to advocate for these things in our relationships. We lose ourselves in the relationship. We put the relationship and the other ahead of our own needs. When we don’t take time to take care of ourselves, we burn out and we can become sick, mentally and physically. Long term, this spells disaster. We explore 7 steps to get to know your true self.
What You’ll Hear…
What I find often in my work with clients is a fear of being alone or a fear of unstructured time. If you feel this way too, you aren’t alone. The simple concept of taking care of one’s self can be extremely alien to many people. When I suggest ways to do so, the excuses come out of the woodwork. The most common excuse? “I don’t have time…”.
Yet upon more digging, I find that these individuals usually spend a great deal of time with others - significant others, friends, family/kids, co-workers, and the like. So they DO have the time - it’s just that they don’t choose to spend it on themselves.
What this signifies to me is that the person does not find themselves to be a priority or worthy of their own time. When we don’t even know what we would do with free time, that’s a big wakeup call. What does this mean though? How does this negatively impact our relationships when we don’t value ourselves enough to take time to heal and take care of ourselves? How can we show up fully for others when we aren’t showing up for ourselves? How is it that we can spend so much of our time with other people but then don’t leave time to get to know ourselves?
This behavior can lead to us seeking approval and love from external sources, which we intuitively know can be trouble. It can lead to us feeling “less than” and like we aren’t enough. We allow others to take advantage of us, to use us, to take power over us, and we settle for less than we deserve. Simply because we don’t realize that we deserve so much. We have a fear of being alone and therefore not being validated and loved, which turns into us having overall unhealthy relationships.
Simply put: when we don’t know what we want, like or need, it’s impossible for us to advocate for these things in our relationships. We lose ourselves in the relationship. We put the relationship and the other ahead of our own needs. When we don’t take time to take care of ourselves, we burn out and we can become sick, mentally and physically. Long term, this spells disaster.
The reason that people in recovery programs are required to be single for one year is because it takes work and focus to become whole and healthy. And it’s very difficult to do when trying to navigate a relationship. Others are a reflection to us so it’s hard to get to know yourself while reflecting the energy of others. You need to have clean energy, a blank slate, to then be able to read and feel your own energy.
The secret to being happy in life and in love is to know exactly what you want, like, need, desire, whatever. But getting to know yourself can be one of the hardest things for some people. For others, spending time alone and being independent comes naturally. For those who don’t feel this way, being alone can feel like the scariest thing in the world. When we don’t know our value, self-worth or what it is we like to do with our free time, we tend to look to others for validation, for approval, for fulfillment and for love. When we aren’t fully and totally in love with ourselves, we risk becoming needy and desperate in our attempts to find this love from external sources. It’s one thing to be in mutual love with a partner but it’s another to need their love to fulfill your sense of self.
Being in a conscious relationship means choosing and loving yourself first so that you can be whole and complete. Then you can be fully present and aware in all of your relationships, romantic or otherwise. You can be a sense of support and a solid foundation, being available for yourself and others, no longer needing their affections or attention to feel good about yourself.
1. Prioritize your self-care
Number one on the list is to take care of yourself! Whether it’s medical appointments, spa treatments, time in a bath, reading, cooking… take time each day to nourish yourself. Even if you can only spare 5 minutes, take the time to slow down in a quiet place and breathe deeply to let go of some energy or tension from the day. Take regular breaks in whatever you’re doing and make sure you’re getting enough rest. Making good choices throughout the day leads to positive feelings which build up and encourage us to continue making good choices for our self.
2. Spend time alone
It’s obvious but it still needs to be said. If you want to get to know yourself, you HAVE to spend time alone. And I’m not talking about grocery shopping or running errands. I’m talking about taking yourself out on dates. Go alone to your fave restaurant, take your favorite hike or walk, go to the movies alone… whatever! Doing things alone gives you the opportunity to check in with what you truly want to do. Think about it - we usually do things in a pair or a group so we are never really getting to do all of the things we want. We have to compromise and make sure everyone’s needs are met (which is great!) but it’s also great to be able to do something alone and really tune in to what your heart desires. What movie do you choose? What restaurant? What route do you take? It’s all up to you, and try to have fun while choosing!
The true benefit of this is taking time to listen to your inner voice. When you’re able to make choices without fearing what others will think or want, you’re able to start to truly listen to your inner voice.
3. Put “Me” time on the calendar
How do you ensure that you actually make time to spend alone, take yourself on dates and engage in self-care? Put yourself on your calendar! I’m serious. At least one time per week, schedule yourself in. The more, the better. Let unstructured time be “you” time. You can be creative with the time… whatever projects, activities, or adventures that fill your soul up, make sure that you’re setting REGULAR time aside to indulge those desires.
Imagine you’re scheduling a work meeting or a coffee date with a dear friend and maintain that level of importance around this event, meaning you can’t just cancel it because you feel tired, prefer to “check things off the to-do” list or feel like vegging out. Prioritize yourself and your meetings with yourself - you are worth it and this is important!
4. Find new activities
When was the last time you tried something new? Whether it’s zumba, pilates, tai chi, or whatever, find a class or something new to try and go alone! Maybe go on a yoga retreat alone. Show up in a place where NO ONE knows you and start interacting with people. You’ll experience being able to show up as whomever it is that you want to be without the judgements and preconceptions of people who know your story. This can be refreshing as you tune in to the person that shines through. You won’t necessarily be spending time alone but you’ll get a lot of information about yourself.
5. Be a solo traveler
Traveling alone might be the most intimidating thing to do on this list but it’s also the most rewarding thing if your quest is to find and know yourself. Similar to what I’ve mentioned already, imagine the feelings you’ll get when you get to choose your destinations, explore the options of things to do with your time, and get to choose in each moment where you will go or what you will do. A whole side of you will emerge that will fascinate and amaze you. You will tested to your limits but you will also have amazing experiences with people from around the world. You will get to be who you want to be, and not who others think you should be. You will truly get a crash course in getting to know your true self! And you might not want to travel with anyone ever again!
6. Take time to journal and ask yourself questions
Whether you use prompts or you freeflow journal, take a few times a week to jot some things down. There’s no better way to get in touch with your feelings and emotions than to sit down and write them out. You might be surprised with what flows and it will be interesting content to read later down the line on your journey. It gives you both the time and the space to reflect and process, and it encourages you to follow this process through to different stages. I highly recommend it! You can find many amazing journal prompts on-line if you simply search for some in conjunction with the theme you’re going for. Try a search for “journal prompts to get to know myself” and see what comes up!
7. Yoga, meditate, breathe
I can’t say enough for personal practices that involve yoga, meditation and breathing. There are millions of on-line resources when it comes to any of these topics as well as practitioners in your area to assist you with learning. I won’t go too in depth into the healing benefits of these practices as that’s not our focus today but I will say that any time spent alone in practice or self-discovery will lead you far in getting to know yourself. Yoga gives you tons of information about how you react to certain situations and where you store your anxieties, fears, worries in the body. This information can be taken off the mat to help you gauge your reactions in everyday situations and to show up in ways that honor yourself and those in your life.
I’d love to hear your favorite ways for getting to know yourself.
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New on the #Podcast: 7 Steps to Get to Know Your True Self | The secret to being happy in life & in love is to know exactly what you want, like, need, desire, whatever. But getting to know yourself can be one of the hardest things for some people https://t.co/RymQx7FFEs #selflove— Rima Danielle Jomaa (@rima_danielle) November 7, 2018