My journey of self-discovery has not typical or ideal. It contains speed bumps, obstacles and setbacks. It contains betrayals, fall-outs and heartbreaks. But in experiencing these events, I discovered my true self.

Time and time again, we are told to "be true to ourselves," no matter what happens. However, how can you be true to a self you haven't discovered? When I talk about discovery, I don't mean unearthing the seemingly unknown. I'm talking about the growth and understanding that comes with age and experience.

Over the years, I've realized that we learn the most from ourselves and those around us during the most stressful situations. No, that doesn't mean that you should intentionally put yourself or others in compromising scenarios. However, when placed in such a situation, use it as an opportunity for growth. There are two ways to grow in such a scenario: internally and externally.

Internal growth can come in multiple ways. When placed in a difficult situation, your reaction and ability to cope reveal much about who you are and what you are capable of. For example, let's say you are placed in a leadership position, but you deal with a lot of insubordination and disrespect from your colleagues. Let's say you choose to gossip and become bitter about the situation. What you reveal to your colleagues is that you are not a leader, but in fact, willing to stoop to others' level. However, what if you chose to rise above and walk away? You show that you are on a higher level with an ability to rise above such antics. This is a primary example of internal growth because you are showing maturity and objectivity,

External growth can be defined differently among different groups of people. When I reference external growth, I am referring to the people you choose to surround yourself with. When a stressful scenario arises, depending on how those around you respond, you may begin to view them differently. We've all heard Marilyn Monroe's quote, "If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best." When placed in a compromising scenario, the people who stick around and support you are the keepers. Those that walk away, however, are probably not worth it.

The road to self-discovery involves understanding how you present yourself and who you surround yourself with. Taking the high road may not always be easy, but it shows inner strength. Surrounding yourself with genuine people shows that you know and understand what you deserve.