Self-help gurus and personal development experts recommend authenticity as a core tenet of becoming your best self. But what if you don’t really know who you are? Before you can dive deep into becoming the best, most authentic version of you, you have to learn about who you are. Fortunately, there are some powerful, albeit unconventional tools that can guide you to learn more about yourself and just how much potential lies on the path ahead.
1. Turn to alternative schools of thought.
If you subscribe to popular self-help methods, you may be interested in the more metaphysical topics under this umbrella; if not, bear with us a moment. Name numerology, astrology, and similar concepts can give you unique insight into who you are and who you can become. Say, for instance, there’s a woman named Jane Doe. According to numerology, her destiny number would be four; within this, her active number would be two, hereditary numbers would both be eight, soul urge number would be nine, and personality number would be four. This could tell her that she’s the kind of person who can manage and organize others. A numerologist might say that she’s destined to make the world a better place for future generations. Even if she doesn’t believe this applies to her, figuring out if it does can help her to look inward and find traits that do apply.
The same principles can be used when considering astrology. If Jane Doe is a Pisces, her zodiac sign would mark her as a sensitive, intuitive woman. Jane is compassionate and caring, often rooting for the underdog. She experiences other people’s realities just as strongly as her own—so much so that she might overlook her own feelings in the process. Like with her numerology number, these traits may lead her to new realizations about her innermost self, even if she’s not sure these particular qualities apply to her.
2. Do something that scares you.
Whether or not they’ll admit it to others (or even to themselves), everyone is afraid of something. What would happen if you said yes to confronting one or more of those fears? Perhaps Jane Doe has always dreamt of living in Arizona, but as a lifelong East Coast girl, she’s terrified of going so far out of her comfort zone with such a serious change. After giving it a lot of thought, Jane decides to confront her fears and starts researching moving companies in Phoenix. In the process, Jane fulfills her dream and realizes that she’s a lot stronger than she ever could have imagined.
She could do the same thing with most fears—and so can you. Whether it’s skydiving to confront your fear of heights or reading Stephen King to stop being so afraid of clowns, facing your fears can make you more confident and give you fresh insights into your deepest self. With more abstract fears, you might have to do some extra work to determine what works best. Or, if you’re dealing with a severe phobia, you might be better off working through your fears with a licensed mental health professional.
3. Stop and sit in silence.
This concept may go against your educated instincts. After all, we’re taught to take to learn new things, whether that’s through studying or more experiential lessons. But sitting in silence or practicing meditation can tell you a lot about yourself, even as a comparatively passive process.
When you meditate, parts of your mind are still working. Most importantly, your subconscious is able to connect with your truest self and uncover deeper truths about who you really are. Then, it’s just up to you to put those realizations into practice.