Discover Your Truth Through Self-Reflection

ERL Reference Library - TRUE SELF


Who are you? Not the stories you tell about yourself, where you’re from and where you’re going, or the roles that have come to represent you life – mother, daughter, employee, father, doctor, lawyer, entrepreneur. Do you have a sense of who you really are underneath all the labels?

If you can’t easily answer that question you certainly are not alone. The age-old question of “Who am I?” is for many people like an itch they can never seem to scratch enough. As one reader so eloquently put it, “How can I ever figure out who I am meant to “be” in life if I can’t figure out who I am now?!”

The truth of life is that all of your experiences up to now, each decision (the good and bad) the heartbreak and triumph, each time you chose not to risk, and each time you found the courage to try new things and push your boundaries to experience greater understanding … you have actually been creating your “self” in the process.

One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being true to yourself. ~Shannon L. Alder

Discover the Benefits of Self-Reflection

Regardless of the logic behind the notion of the creation of “self” as an ongoing process, for some people, this concept seems wholly inadequate. As a result, they continue the search for something tangible to wrap their minds around that will provide that missing sense of identity. Unfortunately, the more you look for an external answer to discover who you are; the more insecure you are likely to feel about yourself.

The problem is all that other stuff that clutters our thinking, like the baggage we carry from our personal history, insecurities, and limiting beliefs, the various roles we fill such as mother, father, spouse, employee, sister, brother, etc., Then there are the fixations with how people perceive us, all the ways in which we have set up false fronts in order to fit in and avoid conflict and feel secure.

So if you think about it, the real question should be “Who do you think you are?” and this is where self-reflection can help you. Self-reflection is taking the time to give serious thought to where you are in life now, your beliefs and values. It is an invaluable process of identifying and bringing clarity and focus to the consequences of the choices you are making, to identify inner roadblocks and fears, as well as desires, and it is one of the most important things you can do to get in touch with your true self.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where taking time, absolute uninterrupted free time, to simply think is considered by most to be a rare self-indulgence. When was the last time you just stopped – not for a few minutes but a few hours – to consider your life as it is now? Do you have a clear vision of the future you are creating for yourself? If you continue on your current path with the choices you are making, the actions you are (or are not) taking, day-after-day, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Regardless of your circumstances or age, it’s never too late to choose to make the shift from passenger to the driver in your life journey. But first you need to understand who you are now, and that requires focus and the willingness to be 100% honest with yourself.

Carefully constructed questions have the ability to help us focus our attention and uncover what’s really going on in our minds and hearts. As soon as you ask a question, your mind immediately begins searching for an answer. The challenge is our lives are so busy that unless we take the time to listen and reflect, we miss the answers.

For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?

Following are a few questions to explore the process of self-reflection. Hopefully, it goes without saying that you’ll get out of this exercise as much as you put into it. Give it a try and you may just find yourself going to some pretty unexpected places.

  • Beyond the titles (mothers, daughter, manager or friend) that others have given me, who am I?
  • What self-limiting beliefs have I been hanging on to?
  • Do I have healthy boundaries or do I let people take advantage of me?
  • Have I been settling for just “good enough” in my life?
  • Who do I need to forgive?
  • Do I judge myself by the way others treat me?
  • Am I doing what I really want to do with my life?
  • What is my biggest fear? What do I need to do to overcome it?
  • What (or who) am I tolerating that I really don’t want in my life?
  • What one thing always makes me happy? How can I have more of this?
  • Do the things (and people) in my life reflect who I really am?
  • What drains my energy and how can I change it?
  • What are my top 5 personal values? Am I living these values every day?
  • How do I respond to unexpected change?
  • How stressful is my life on a daily basis? Does it need to be?
  • What am I hanging on to that I need to make peace with and let go?
  • What worries me about the future? What can I do about it?
  • Do I honestly express my opinions or do I hide my feelings to avoid conflict?
  • One year from today, how do I want my life will be different?

Reflection is a marvelous practice to develop self-awareness, but beyond the internal work, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to stop trying to put your “self” in a neat little box with a predetermined definition of who you are, and begin to think of yourself a precious work in progress.

And there is a key difference between the two viewpoints because looking outward for a finite definition of who you are is self-limiting in terms of your future growth – whereas accepting that you are a work-in-progress brings the responsibility, joy and rewards right back to you as the creator of your own reality and life experience.

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