When it comes to attaining a better sense of self, there is no exact right or wrong way to do it. It’s more important to realize that understanding your sense of self can mean something different to every person.
If you’re still struggling with finding your sense of self, the following strategies can help you narrow the gap in understanding yourself.
Stop Striving to Get There
As an influential e-commerce marketer, many young and eager entrepreneurs look to me for guidance on how to become successful. My most important message for them? Forget about getting there.
You’ll get to what you thought this imaginary place was one day and realize that you’re actually further away from what you actually want than you ever thought. As you grow, you learn more and discover that there are always more opportunities. With these opportunities comes the possibility to open up your mind to things you had never even thought about before.
“There” is an ever-changing end goal.
Take a moment to reflect on who you were at 18, and who you thought you would be when you were older. People create various ideas in their head about what it means to be successful. As you grow older, you’ll learn that these benchmarks don’t truly dictate your inner happiness and self-value.
This can be a trying realization for many. You may internalize the notion that you’re failing if you haven’t gotten that raise, bought that house, or built a family.
Though they can overwhelm you with fear and anxiety, these narrow societal benchmarks do not actually feed your sense of self: they feed other people’s perceptions of your sense of self.
Though it might sound a bit cheesy, once you learn to enjoy the journey, you’ll begin to fulfill your sense of self. If all you are focused on is getting to the destination that you have in your head, once you get there, you’ll realize that you’re actually farther away from where you really want to be.
This struggle exists because you’re trying to make it to the end, but… there is no end.
Your whole life is a journey. Even when you’re 60, you’re going to want more. No, not necessarily more material items, but perhaps a deeper love for your family or a more spiritual connection with yourself.
There is no destination, so stop rushing towards one.
You can’t just sit in bed in the morning and think about how to be happy — that’s never going to work. You have to get out and do certain things that will make you happy. Becoming disciplined takes practice and patience.
You can’t just wait for motivation to show up — that’s not how it works! Set up a routine and work at sticking to it. Luckily, self-discipline isn’t something that some are born with and others are forced to struggle with. If you do the work, you’ll gain the willpower to live a happier life.
If you currently struggle with taking control of your habits and choices, author Deep Patel shares several action items that will help you master self-discipline:
- Know your weaknesses
- Remove temptations
- Set clear goals and have an execution plan
- Create new habits by keeping it simple
- Eat often and healthy
- Change your perception about willpower
- Give yourself a backup plan
- Reward yourself
- Forgive yourself and move forward
To be sure, finding discipline can mean something different to everyone.
Once you find your source and routine, try and stick with it. It’s about doing the things you need to do to put yourself in a state to succeed. Planning specific things, big or small, will help you remain motivated. Plan your week in advance on Sundays. For bonus points, plan out each day in terms of what time you want to wake up, work out, and eat breakfast.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Good Morning
How you start your morning can determine the quality of the rest of your day.
For example, if your alarm goes off and you think, “Ah, I don’t want to do it”, that attitude will set a negative tone for your whole day. You’re sending a negative message to your body that will affect your work.
In order to prepare yourself for a successful and fulfilling day, consider these morning routines:
- Wake up early
- Get up immediately (no alarm snoozing)
- Drink water
- Enjoy a little exercise
- Eat a balanced breakfast
- Meditate or read something inspiring
- Review your goals
- Take on the day
Work on building excitement for your day to start. Set one alarm and motivate your mind and body to positively react to that alarm. Tell yourself that you will get up no matter what.
Remember: it is healthy to push yourself to function slightly outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis. This is one of the most straightforward paths towards growth and, as a result, strengthening your sense of self.
Be Grateful for What You Have Right Now
Learning to become happy in the present moment is a powerful tool that can foster success, happiness, and a positive sense of self. Everyone has something to be grateful for, even if you are living in a small apartment or driving a crappy car.
In today’s digital world with carefully curated social feeds, it can be difficult at times to value and appreciate what you do have. It’s easy to be constantly comparing yourself and your achievements with those you see around you. At the same time, it is important to remember that self-worth and happiness have nothing to do with status.
It might feel like someone else’s life is perfect, but that just isn’t the case. As humans, we are built to keep striving for more. But having more does not correlate to happiness and inner fulfillment.
Find those moments and opportunities you can be grateful for. If you stop to take a look, you’ll see they are all around you.
Final Thoughts: How to Strengthen Your Sense of Self
To find success, determine what is important to you and then empower it to happen. If you want to travel, then discipline yourself to make small spending changes in order to afford that trip. If you want that promotion, work for it.
Stop picturing your five-year plan and focus on what you can do to find happiness within yourself during your current work week.
What specific struggles are you dealing with when it comes to improving your sense of self? Share your thoughts in the comments so that we can work together to find success!Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.