A question was posed to me: "How do people know who they are?" The individual speaking to me repeated this question, then added, "I want to become a better version of myself, but I don't even know how. I know it's a strange thing to say, but I just don't know how to understand myself."
Only, this question isn't strange at all, in fact it's a completely reasonable question to ask. How do you even begin to understand yourself? More specifically, how can you come to understand yourself better just based on the actions you complete everyday?Start simple. Break yourself down into terms that you yourself can understand. Break yourself down.
WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?
In order for you to understand who you are, you must know what you are. Ask yourself this question: "What do I want to be?", and list off adjectives that you aspire to have.
WHO DO I WANT TO BE?
WHO ARE YOU?
Below your written adjectives, start writing down all that you've done this past week. Ask yourself, "What have I done?", and walk through your daily routine and write down everything you have done- and things you meant to do but didn't get to do. List them in the present tense.
WHAT HAVE I DONE?
I go to bed at 2:00 a.m.
I clean up after my breakfast, lunch, and dinner
I didn't make my bed
I play games on my phone for three hours straight
I tutor George in science
I walk my dogs in the evening
I fix myself a coffee during my break
I sing in my car during my commute to work
I binge watch Game of Thrones by myself at night
I eat potato chips and drink Sprite for my snack at work
I don't gossip with others
I tuck my children in at night before bed
LOOKING AT THE DATA:
By creating this second list, you have to think about and become more aware of your daily habits and actions. You have to become aware of what your doing to change yourself to become better, as what you want to be doing in life should come out the same as what you're actually doing in life.
Look at the actions you wrote down. Next to the statements you've written, write down what adjectives come to mind when you read them.
"I tutor George in science": Caring, helpful, thoughtful, knowledgeable
"I eat potato chips and drink Sprite for my snack at work": Unhealthy
Adjective answers are subjective, but nonetheless important. Are the adjectives you wrote down matching the adjectives that you wrote under your desired traits? If not, ask yourself why, and if there is a way you can change your lifestyle so your adjectives match. For instance, change your Sprite and chips to an apple and water to become healthier, or go to bed earlier so you can get more rest. By using this method, you can create assumptions about yourself, and in turn learn how to create a better you.
Thank you to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson for being the inspiration of this article.