One of life’s greatest tragedies is losing your sense of self and becoming a version of yourself that is only acceptable to others, says Dr Asma Naheed…
Becoming confident about who you are is not easy. Building a solid sense of self is a lifelong journey. It’s about figuring out who you are and what you value.
But it is particularly hard to know yourself in a culture that sends endless messages about who we should be and what we should think. Distinguishing between our needs and others’ expectations is tough, as is finding our voice amid many dominant ideas and opinions.
To know ourselves and others, we must learn how to hold on to our values, beliefs and truths. Make choices for our life instead of looking to others to make decisions for us.
Are you tired of wishing you had the strength to say no? Overwhelmed by living the life that others expect? Wishing you didn’t have to work so hard for approval? You need to learn to express yourself with an authentic sense of self-awareness.
This is how to get started: Look within: Separate yourself from your surroundings and be conscious of your identity. Before making life-altering decisions, figure out your needs and wants. Self-aware people are the best decision-makers.
Connect with yourself: Stay in contact with yourself. Be a silent, nonjudgmental observer of yourself. When a situation occurs, don’t react immediately. Take a step back and consider your process, thoughts and feelings.
See challenges as an opportunity to know yourself: Difficult experiences may be hidden treasures.
Consider the facts: In every situation, work hard to balance your feelings with your logical mind.
Sit with discomfort: Practise the patience to not satisfy your desires right away.
Think about your values: Participate in conversations, but don’t compromise your values – and don’t force them on others.
Identify your true intentions and build your life accordingly: See challenges, situations and people as opportunities to express who
you are, who you want to be, and how you want to realise your true self.