Self discovery can be defined as a journey in which an individual aims to actually figure out the exact way they actually feel about their life decisions or actually about personal priorities, instead of following the advice of friends, family, neighbors, or peer pressure. In essence, a self-discovery process starts with an individual's desire to find out more about who they are and to clarify their own place in the world. The journey does not need to be a conscious effort on the part of the individual to understand his self-image, values and interests. It can emerge spontaneously without any discernible pattern of behavior or intent to discover something new or different. Self-discovering is an inclusive venture, one that begins by examining one's own behaviors and subjective experiences in the light of current research and available resources.
People who engage in self-discovery or self-awareness practices may feel like they're taking a step backward in time or may experience a sense of anxiety or dread about the prospect of revisiting past experiences. But journaling, speaking to yourself, doing a soul-searching session or seeking alternative ways to understand your own thoughts and feelings is an important part of the journey towards self-discovery. Participating in meaningful conversations with others, sharing your insights with other people and creating lasting relationships can also contribute to self-discovery and the enhancement of your mental health.
Self-discovering is not a "one size fits all" phenomenon. For some, self-discovery will occur when a series of small, yet significant changes occur such as a new interest, a change in work or home routine, a shift in level of involvement in a meaningful activity, a deeper understanding of a core conflict or issue, or a re-evaluation of one's personal development strategies. For others, self-discovery will occur as a result of a more extensive self- investigation or even a prolonged recovery process from an illness or injury. Regardless of the catalyst that leads to self-discovery, the process is likely to be an ongoing one and will likely involve multiple episodes. When a series of small or seemingly irrelevant changes are experienced over time, those changes may begin to shape and define patterns of behavior and thought that had been hidden by more severe adversity.
The primary benefit of self-discovery for those who are undergoing or have already completed a period of self-isolation is the opportunity to begin to understand and deal with deeper, more profound sources of negative emotions. In many cases, this is accomplished by engaging in activities that require the individual to face his/her true inner demons. Conversations with family members, peers or other individuals who are not directly involved in a crisis are an excellent source of learning about the root cause of negative emotions and the need to address them.
When we spend time exploring our mental health, we often discover that we have a number of limiting beliefs and behaviors. These thoughts and behaviors are typically developed through our early years and remain consistent for the life of the person. However, as we grow up, we can often begin to understand that our world is not always like the way it was when we were younger. We may question whether or not we are capable of taking care of ourselves, of taking care of others, of managing finances and managing time. As we engage in self-discovery, we will likely come to the realization that we have some limitations that were not necessarily evident in earlier years. We may want to take action to address these issues but we may be hesitant to do so due to our lack of understanding about our capabilities.
A further benefit of self-discovery is that it can help to enhance our personal development. Perhaps we discovered that we are less talented than we thought we were. This can lead to us making important changes to improve our skills and increase our performance level. This can lead to us developing a stronger sense of self-worth and improving the quality of our relationships. It can also help to lead us on a journey of learning and discovering our own identity.
Finally, self-discovery is a big thing. Just like every journey in life, it can be both exciting and frightening. We can come to the realization that we have incredible potential as individuals, but that we also have some limits. We can take steps to improve ourselves mentally and emotionally or we can push ourselves to move out of our comfort zone and go on an adventure of discovery.
Self-Discovery can be a life-changing experience for some and can serve as a solid jumping-off point for improved mental health. For others, however, self-discovery is just a first step toward improved self care and self-care. If you feel like your life could use a boost, start small by taking time to consider where you could improve mentally and emotionally, and visit your local mental health center for more information and to learn more about the resources available to you. You might be surprised by what you discover