What is Self-Discovery?
In books and movies, the journey of self-discovery is often depicted as a travel adventure or quest in which the protagonist goes off to "find himself" and through a series of mishaps, hard knocks, and relationship fails, returns wiser and more self-aware. That's certainly one path to self-discovery, but you don't need to hit the road to reap the benefits of learning who you truly are.
So what is self-discovery? Self-Discovery is a process of getting to know your innermost self using self-guided questions and life-coaching techniques to help you dig deep and get clarity. Through self-observation and introspection, you are able to reach your own conclusions about your identity, purpose, and potential, as well as an understanding of your strengths and challenges. The best part of this process is that armed with the right set of questions and some time for honest reflection, you don't need anything or anyone to explore your personality, values, preferences, and beliefs, though there are many people, like intuitive advisors, with additional tools and skills that can help. Whether you embark on a journey of self-discovery alone or in partnership with a coach or advisor, the benefit of greater self-knowledge is the power to deliberately chose the people, circumstances, and paths that will bring more happiness and fulfillment to you life.
Discovering Your True Self
It's nearly impossible to escape first parental and then societal expectations that define who we are supposed to be, even as we learn to challenge these assumptions. Too often these messages are internalized into scripts which exert an unconscious force over the choices we make, influencing our self-talk and limiting our view of what is possible. Left unexamined, these messages become the source of feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy, or our "hot buttons" -- the things that set us off when family members, spouses, work colleagues and others stumble upon those tender spots. In the process, messages about who we are according to other people's definitions get reinforced.
The road to self-discovery is to peel back the layers of external messages, expectations, and assumptions so that we define our identity for ourselves, on our own terms. Many people dismiss the desire to seek greater clarity about who they are as navel-gazing self-indulgence. After all, wasn't the time to do that in your teens and 20's? Who does he or she think they are, to selfishly prioritize time for rediscovering their identity when there are people who depend on them? What is this, some kind of red corvette response to a mid-life crisis?
The truth is that the journey of self-discovery is a life-long one, and that the better we understand who we are and what makes us tick, the better we are able to show up for ourselves and others with our best and most authentic selves. Rather than simply going through the motions, knowledge of who we are and what we have to offer is motivating and empowering -- and everyone benefits.
Self-Discovery vs Self-Awareness
The difference between self-awareness and self-discovery is that self-discovery is a process that leads to greater self-awareness. People who are self-aware have an honest view of their strengths, weaknesses, triggers, and emotional responses. They can identify the shadow aspects of themselves they're ashamed of or had buried, so that when these issues are triggered, they can take ownership of their reaction as coming from their own internal issues, rather than denying them or projecting the cause onto others.
We all know people with varying degrees of self-awareness, so it may be helpful to understand how self-awareness develops. This simplified view of the psychology of self-awareness helps identify how some people get stuck at various developmental points, making the journey of self-discovery unique for every individual.
From a developmental perspective, self-awareness starts with experiencing yourself as a distinct individual, and interacting with the external environment. You can see this process unfold in infants who begin to develop a point of view of cause and effect that is reactive and anchored in their bodies, and in which they are the center -- a kind of first-person, ego-centric understanding of the world that is the first step of self-awareness.
The next developmental phase comes from learning to detach yourself from the externalized context of cause and effect, as you learn to see yourself as the constant -- an actor rather than simply a reactor. It brings to mind the advice that when someone complains that the same thing keeps happening over and over, ie the same trouble with one's boss, or the same issue in every relationship. You're tempted to say to that person, "just look in the mirror -- the other people have changed, but you are the constant!" When you understand you are the constant, you can begin to understand the world outside your ego's place within it and take new sources of information into your concept of self-identity. This is how objective thinking and a concept of oneself over time enters in.
There's another phase of developing self-awareness that is social; it comes from recognizing and understanding the emotional experiences of others as distinct from oneself and learning to use this information in relating to them. Drawing on your own self-awareness, you begin to see similarities and differences between yourself and others. This can further develop into the capacity to put yourself in their place, based not just on your own experience, but also on the information they are providing about their emotions, needs, motivations etc. This social exchange influences how we perceive of ourselves as well; we are all persons operating in a social environment that both reflects and distorts how we think about who we are.
What does all this mean for the process of self-discovery? It means that there are layers to self- awareness; it is not like someone does the work once and gets a self-awareness badge. The journey to self-discovery lies in peeling back the layers that have formed over time, factoring in new information and attaining greater clarity. Counseling professionals, from therapists to life coaches, spiritual advisors to intuitive professionals such as psychics, are helpers and guides in supporting this growth process, but the journey is ultimately one we decide to take on our own.
Self-Discovery and Growth
There's a saying that in nature, everything is either growing or dying. How many of us find ourselves going through the daily grind, feeling like we're simply existing? But if simply existing is not a valid option in the natural world, and dying is not the way you want to spend your precious lifetime, that leaves growth, and there's no better way to grow than to approach your life and the world around you with a sense of wonder and curiosity.
The beauty of it is that because we're designed to grow, for as many interests as we've identified, there are so many more we have yet to discover. The journey begins with self-awareness and expands to explore personal interests, aspirations, and desires. Purposefully embarking on a journey of self-discovery will expand your thinking, uncover what really motivates you, and help you find new ways to grow and thrive.
The Benefits of Self-Discovery
Achieving higher levels of self-awareness through a process of self-discovery offers several benefits. While no one will argue that among Maslow's hierarchy of needs, basic drivers like the need for food, shelter and clothing, safety, and love outrank 'higher order' needs like self-esteem and self-actualization, cultivating self-awareness can have a positive impact at every level.
Address Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Self-sabotage often stems from deep feelings of inadequacy, a discrepancy born of comparing the life you have with the life you really want to be living or that you think is expected of you. To the extent that self-sabotage can play a role in your ability to meet your most basic physiological needs, self-discovery can yield insights that can enable you to turn a corner, be it in addictions recovery, chronic work challenges, or money issues.
A history of physical or emotional trauma leaves scars that influence your ability to feel safe, one of the primary needs identified by Maslow just after the need for basics like food, shelter, and clothing. The process of self-discovery can help you shine a light on these issues, so you can work with a counselor, coach, or guide on a path toward healing.
Improve Your Relationships
Self-awareness builds better relationships, both with yourself and others. It takes a degree of courage and commitment to yourself to put the time and effort into getting to know who you really are at the core, and when you're willing to be patient, kind and self -forgiving, it becomes an act of self-love that improves your confidence and self-esteem and helps you feel less alone. The willingness to embark on the journey says a lot about your character and will help you attract fellow travelers who are also discovering who they are. You may find yourself making better decisions about who to invest your time and energy in based on their degree of self-awareness and willingness (or capacity) to look beyond the surface.
To manifest effectively, you must get really clear about what you want and be so convinced of how good it will make you feel that you can feel it and be grateful for it before it ever materializes. Your ability to feel worthy, clarity around your feelings and desires, and your ability to have trust or faith in the outcome have a huge impact on how well you manifest. The journey of self-discovery surfaces these issues so you can shore up any areas that need some attention.
Find Your Purpose
When you understand your abilities, your strengths and weaknesses, and the many unique factors that make you tick, you can assess how you spend your time and energy and decide if it aligns with what makes you most passionate and alive. Too often we go through our careers and our lives on autopilot, aware that choices we made long ago no longer have meaning, but unsure of where to start making changes, or fearful that change can topple our house of cards. When we're no longer connected to purpose, we lose sight of where we're going. To quote the former NY Yankee's catcher Yogi Berra, "If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else."
The journey of self-discovery puts you in touch with your foundation, your identity and values, and your core sense of purpose and meaning. It allows you to examine your choices from a variety of angles and perspectives so that you're back in the driver's seat, fueled by passion and purpose, deciding where you want to go in life.
Starting Your Journey of Self-Discovery
Are you ready to hit the road? Let's talk about what you can expect as part of the process. First, this is a self-guided journey. While you may choose to get feedback or support from a trusted friend or advisor, the process is designed around self-questions and self-reflection. In other words, use our worksheets and/or your journal, carve out some private 'me time,' and identify a spot indoors or outside, where you feel safe, relaxed, and inspired. By examining your own thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the prompts we provide, you will reach your own conclusions about who you are - your character, values, purpose and potential.
Spiritual Self-Discovery with Psychic Source
Gone are the days of psychic fortune tellers. If you've been a client or follower of Psychic Source over the past 30+ years we've been in business, you know we're all about intuitive guidance from a metaphysical perspective. Our gifted advisors have backgrounds in psychology, life coaching, ministry, new thought philosophy, yoga, and energy work, to name a few. When you choose to read with one of our psychics, you open the door to receiving deeper information about yourself and support for your journey.
With that in mind, we created this program based on life-coaching principles and practices, guided by the belief that only you have the power to look within and understand your innermost self. The program is designed to help you meet one specific goal you define for yourself based on an introspective look at your needs. Speaking with an advisor is not required but may help you get past any speed bumps if and when they occur.
It's not an easy task defining yourself, including your dreams and goals. "What makes me happy?" is a question we're all looking for the answer to. That's why, with the help of Psychic Source, you can finally find the answer. You won't be alone on your journey. We are with you, in tangible and intangible ways. It's our collective journey, and we are so glad to be traveling with you.
Download Our Self-Discovery Worksheets
This free self-discovery workbook is developed around 7 worksheets, for you to work through at your own pace. There are 7 worksheets included in this ebook.
Worksheet: Discover Who You Are
Worksheet: Wheel of Life Assessment
Worksheet: Set Your Goals
Worksheet: Visualizing Your Success Through Meditation
Worksheet: Overcoming Obstacles with Manifestation
Worksheet: Using Positive Affirmations
Worksheet: Practicing Gratitude with the Wheel of Abundance
Download the worksheets or use the prompts in the workbook to write in your journal. Take as long as you need to work on a chapter but try to give yourself at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time so that you're not rushing through. Creating a sacred space as part of the process helps you view the journey as an act of self-love rather than as 'work'. Lighting a candle, for example, or smudging with sage or palo santo, are rituals that elevate the ordinary so that the moments stand apart and feel special. You could also start and end with a prayer, or set an intention, that your journey is divinely guided and that the truth within is revealed.
Worksheet: Discover Who You Are
Who are you, really? Where are you at in life? What do you want from life?
Defining yourself is an inner process, for which there are no simple answers. We are all unique spiritual beings having all sorts of human experiences! To start your journey, consider a place that feels peaceful and meditative, where you won't be interrupted by children, work or the notifications on your phone. Maybe it's outside in a garden or park bench, or maybe there's a room you can retreat to for an hour. Clear the energy of the space, say a prayer or state an intention, and use this worksheet with a special journal or pen that you designate for this practice. We also suggest having a crystal or amulet on hand for motivation and support. The amulet should be your anchor; a guiding physical presence.
Ready? All you have to do is print and write, with no care for grammar or self-editing. No one will see your answers if you don't want them to. Don't judge yourself, just notice the areas you need to explore more.
How would you describe yourself?
What makes you feel better when you're facing a difficult situation?
If you could rewrite your past, what would you change?
If you could relive one scene from your past, what would it be?
Which area of your life do you think you need to improve?
If you could write a book, what would the title be?
Are you living your life to make you happy or other people happy?
How do you see yourself in one, five, and ten years from now?
What makes you truly happy?
How would you describe a perfect life for you?
What makes you change your mood for better or worse?
What do you need in order to feel complete?
What has to happen to make you feel successful?
Is your happiness dependent on others or yourself?
Are you more concerned with how your life looks or how you really feel?
Who do you truly have to forgive: someone else or your own self?
Are you really focusing on what brings fulfillment for you?
What message does your future-self have for you?
What is your deeper soul trying to tell you?
Are you focusing on what you want rather than what you don't want?
Is what you're doing in the moment getting you closer to where you want to be in the future?
Do you feel comfortable with yourself?
What would you tell your old self in one sentence?
Are you focusing in the moment or living in your past or future?
What can you do now to reach your biggest dream?
If a question doesn't resonate with you, skip it. If you find yourself staring at your paper unable to focus, you may need to contemplate your crystal, the candle flame, or some point in the horizon to move into a meditative state that is open to receive. Know that the answers are within you, and don't judge yourself if they need a little time and safety to reveal themselves. If you need more time to answer each question, extend this process as long as you need.
Reread your answers over the next few days. Do they still feel accurate? Is something missing? Take your time with this process and see what other information pops up as you allow the thoughts to marinate a bit. While it's often true that our first instinctual responses are the most accurate, it's not unusual for a deeper awareness to take some time. No need to rush; all you need to know will be revealed.
Worksheet: Wheel of Life Assessment
The Wheel of Life helps you to see assess areas of your life that need some attention, that perhaps have felt like obstacles keeping you from happiness. Using the Wheel of Life worksheet, you're going to get very specific about what is working and not working for you.
Consider each of the categories represented in the Wheel of Life. Fill in each piece of the pie by rating each category on a scale from 0-10 for based on your level of satisfaction.
Example: Say you are lacking when it comes to money management, but you are moderately happy with your current income. You might shade in the piece for "money management" up to the number 2, while you shade in the piece for "income now" up to the number 7.
There is no judgement in the assessment. Those problems which you may have seen as obstacles point you towards your goals. When you focus on the problem, you might be asking yourself: What is wrong? Why is it a problem? Whose fault is that? Why hasn't been resolved yet?
But when you shift your focus to a goal, you'll ask yourself: What do I want? How can I have this? What am I going to do to make this happen? What resources do I have? What's the next step?
If you catch yourself feeling any disappointment, judgement, or blame, close your eyes, hold your crystal or amulet, and tell yourself, "thank you for reminding me of this area to work on. There is no judgement here, only love that moves me forward."
Worksheet: Set Your Goals
Make a list of specific goals based on the parts of the Wheel of Life that have the lowest scores.
Example: For example, if you shaded "money management" only up to the number 2, one of your goals might be to create a budget you can stick to. Be as targeted as you can. Your goal might be "Create a budget and save at least $200/month." If you also scored low in relationships, you might set a goal to "Open yourself up to new opportunities to meet a partner" instead of just "Start a romantic relationship." Read your goals aloud and check off the ones you believe truly come from within. Close your eyes and see yourself reaching each goal. How do you feel when you reach the goal? Accomplished? Joyful? Complete? Consider whether reaching the goal feels like something you can simply check off your goal list, or a feeling that you want to linger.
Is it going to make me happy, or leave me wanting more?
Is it going to make me feel successful, or is it a means to something more?
Is this my goal or someone else's goal for me? If you're unsure, ask a psychic for advice on this part. Don't be afraid to pick a lofty goal -- dream big, then break it down into small, realistic steps. But don't shortchange yourself by aiming too low. Keeping your big goal in mind, next, choose a small, "smart" goal that'll help you reach the other ones. Use this well-known acronym to assess your "smart" goal.
S - Specific
A - Accessible
R - Realistic
T - Timely
Once you've chosen a SMART goal, define the time frame. Write down an exact date. Give yourself enough time, but not so much that you lose sight of the rewards at hand.
Download your goal sheet as a guide for your first two months. Consider your goal and create a milestone for each week of your program. For example, if you have set a lofty goal of becoming more healthy and fit, and a SMART goal of losing 10 pounds in the next two months, you may set milestones for each week that can help you get there. Perhaps your goal for week 1 is to weigh yourself daily and track your weight in a notebook; for week 2 to record everything you eat; week 3, to have a salad for 2 meals per day, etc. Write these milestone goals in the worksheet.
When you feel you have chosen the right SMART goal for you, find a peaceful place and sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and envision reaching your goal. Imagine your feelings when you look in the mirror and see happiness on your face. See this in your eyes and smile. Feel the excitement and weight lifted from your shoulders.
Before finishing this worksheet, take a moment to thank the universe for the information, and for setting the wheels of manifestation in motion. Get ready to co-create your new reality.
Worksheet: Visualizing Your Success Through Meditation
You wake up on Sunday morning with the warm sun shining through your window. You slowly get out of bed, stretch, and walk over to your journey calendar. You're about to plan your next steps for the week when you realize you've reached your goal. The past several weeks have finally paid off and your journey is complete.
How do you feel? Proud? Gratified? Like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders?
One of the most important parts of the Journey of Self Discovery is the moment when it all pays off. If you can visualize this, you can keep going to the end.
Meditate and reflect on what you need to feel motivated. During your meditation, focus on the following thoughts:
How will you feel when you reach your goal?
How will you look when you reach your goal?
How will people react to your changes?
Whenever you're feeling discouraged go back and read through your journal for motivation. You can seek validation from an intuitive advisor, or ask the Universe for a sign. Keep following the steps you've defined. You can adapt them if need be, but make sure you're staying on track.
Worksheet: Overcoming Obstacles with Manifestation
With every great challenge, especially a life-changing one, there comes a point where you feel like you've hit a wall. It's certainly not getting any easier and you're just about ready to give up. Don't! This is the time for deep reflection. Think about what's holding you back. Do you have limiting beliefs?
Here are 3 common roadblocks and how to overcome them:
1. Do you trust yourself?
Often we have the capabilities to achieve what we want but we don't believe in ourselves. Use this as a challenge---think, "I am stronger than this! I know I'm better than this!" Only you have ultimate power over your own mind and body. Use it!
2. Are you subconsciously running from yourself?
Many people have dreams of being chased or trying to escape from someone or something. Don't just ignore these dreams. Instead, look closely at what it is you're running from. It might help you pinpoint an obstacle you're facing.
3. Do you have enough time/are you planning accordingly?
Time is a huge roadblock for people but it's not an excuse. If you can make time to work late on a project, go out with friends, or relax and watch TV, then you can make time for your goal as well. Planning your days or weeks ahead of time will make it a lot harder to back out of a scheduled event. If your goal is to budget money, set a date and time on your phone calendar to sit down and do this. If your goal is to become more physically fit and healthy, set a workout schedule and plan all other events around it.
4. What are your supporting goals?
Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure because our lifestyles don't support our goals. If you're not eating healthy but you're working out more, these activities don't align. The same idea applies to a goal regarding your love relationship. If one thing you and your partner argue about is chores, your goal might be to communicate better, but if you don't have a goal around who does which chores you'll still fight about them. Define the issues that are holding you back and set supporting goals.
Use this worksheet to list out all the things which are holding you back. Look for pattern of limiting beliefs that underlie each obstacle. For example, if your roadblocks are all about not having enough time or money to succeed, you may have limiting beliefs that these are limited resources, that you have to choose, that you can't have it all. Pay attention to the language of your thoughts. You can see an example of how limiting beliefs can block abundance in this video on manifesting abundance.
Finally, write down ways you can reframe each limiting belief into a positive statement. For example, if you find yourself identifying roadblocks around time (There aren't enough hours in the day; I don't have any time for myself after I take care of everyone else; By the end of the day I'm too tired, I can't find an extra hour for myself in a day etc.), you may be operating with some limiting beliefs around putting your needs last, how you prioritize time based on what's most urgent versus what's most important, etc. You can then try reframing your limiting belief to be something like "Even if I only can find 30 minutes each day, I'm committed to my goals and will use whatever time I have towards meeting them."
Worksheet: Using Positive Affirmations
Think about your best friend in the world, the person you'd give anything for. How do you treat this person? You are loving and supportive; you're devoted and compassionate. This is how you should also treat yourself.
Instead, we tend to be our own worst critics. We punish ourselves for wrongdoing, internally scold ourselves or put ourselves down. We feel disappointment when we screw up and even hatred when we fail. This isn't how you would treat your best friend, so it shouldn't be how you treat yourself.
But how do you break the habit?
1. Always remember and often repeat to yourself why you are doing what you're doing. The intrinsic motivation that pushed you to make your goal in the first place can drive you forward. Whatever it is that you were unhappy with can and WILL change if you make it happen.
2. Reward yourself. Positive reinforcement is a heck of a lot more powerful than negative reinforcement. Tell yourself out loud how proud you are of yourself. Go ahead and brag about your accomplishments. Ever hear the saying "Those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter"? It's true. Only keep positive people around at all times.
3. Continually use positive affirmations. There are a ton of phrases you can use. Feel free to make up your own, use our Positive Affirmations Generator, or try some of these:
I have all that I need within me to reach my goal.
The Universe is in my favor.
I'm open for new and wonderful opportunities.
I am being guided to my best and highest good.
I am worthy.
I deserve happiness.
I attract the right people into my life.
I am ready.
Download this worksheet to make note of the positive affirmations that feel most resonant to you. Say the appropriate phrase(s) to yourself each morning when you wake up, each night before bed, or even when you find yourself ready to give up. And keep going! You've made it this far, there's no turning back.
Worksheet: Practicing Gratitude with the Wheel of Abundance
We get so caught up in everyday life that we forget to be thankful. The power of gratitude goes a long way and you'd be surprised at how much it affects your happiness. If you're open and grateful, you're more able to see the glass half full and dismiss negativity. If you change your thoughts, you change your life.
Download the Wheel of Abundance for a tactical approach to this concept. Using this model, you'll learn the steps you need to take to bring success into your life.
The Wheel of Abundance consists of four important parts:
1. Declare: Use the positive affirmations about yourself to create vision. Examples are "I am loved," "I am competent," or "I bring success into my life."
2. Ask: What is your life plan? Ask what you want from the Universe. Always use positive wishes rather than negative ones, such as "I want to be successful" instead of "I don't want to be miserable."
3. Take Risks: Channel all that positive energy into taking the first step and putting your dreams into wishes into action. Focus on your goal and the benefits it will bring when you achieve it.
4. Be Grateful: Always thank the Universe/God/Spiritual guides for providing you what you've been asking. Give thanks for each achievement and the gift of life.
By thinking through the process in a formal way, you're better able to structure your goals and turn them into achievements.
Reflecting on the Self-Discovery Process
I Completed My Goal
Congratulations! This deserves more than a pat on the back; you need to reward yourself. And it's perfectly OK to brag a little as well. Did you lose 10 lbs? Go ahead and cook a feast for yourself and your loved ones. Did you land a new job? Take your best friend or significant other out to dinner.
Evaluate your accomplishment(s), no matter how big or small. If your goal was larger than you realized but you made significant progress, it's still worth celebrating. A little bit goes a long way, and this will only motivate your to keep going. Don't lost sight of the fact that there's a larger goal at stake--your happiness. Some options include starting the journey over with another small, more realistic goal in mind, or starting a new journey with a separate goal in mind. You've come this far so why not keep going?
I Didn't Complete My Goal
Quiz: Identify and Break Free From Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are negative messages you tell yourself that prevent you from moving forward and accomplishing your dreams. Take this quiz to identify and break free.