To grow into your own means to become the person you want to be. From the moment we are born, expectations and guardrails guide — and sometimes confine — us. We may follow the path that others set for us for many years before getting in touch with our own goals, wants and needs. Perhaps you have been moving forward in a career or life path that fit you well at one time but now doesn’t interest you or is starting to feel constricting.
Wherever you are in your life’s journey, the present moment is the best time to reassess what you want, what’s important to you and what you hope to achieve. Would you like to cultivate greater empathy, leadership, adventurousness, risk-taking or something entirely different?
The next step is getting from where you are to where you want to be. You’ll need to tune in to your inner self: What sparks your curiosity, interests, joy? Where and when do you feel most alive? Has a new activity piqued your interest? Uncovering these feelings can point the way to the path to your authentic self. Take the time for self-discovery, a process of learning more about who you are.
Some suggestions to get you started:
- Begin by visualizing your ideal self and life. Think about your passions and dreams. Your focus needn’t be a career goal (although it can be that); it might just be things you enjoy doing.
- Take time to observe your experiences and thoughts as you embark on this journey. Journaling can be a big help in this process.
- To sharpen your self-awareness, make lists of your strengths and weaknesses, the character traits you admire, things you like and don’t like to do and skills you have or would like to develop.
- Get out of your comfort zone and explore new activities.
- To get to know yourself better, do things alone.
- Show compassion equally to others and to yourself.
- Stop and smell the roses: Appreciate the small, joyful moments in your daily life.
- Think of various ways of growing — physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually — and how you’d like to approach each one.
- Activate your sense of social justice and work to contribute to a more just world in a way that feels meaningful to you.
- Practice acceptance: Learn to work with the reality you’re in, even when it’s not to your liking. Setbacks are part of the process and give you the opportunity to try again in a different way.
- Remember that growth is not always linear; it can come slowly and expand in all directions.