I used to get told a lot that high school was where you discover yourself. And then college. And then life after college. And I really and truly thought that this would be a huge epiphany moment where I sat up with wide eyes and said, I know exactly who I am, what’s important to me, and what I want to do with my life.
Ah…wouldn’t that be easier?? Easier than feeling like I was struggling to get to know myself for years, certainly. But at the wise, ripe age of 23 (ha), I am realizing that this is a process that never, ever ends. You’re always learning new things about yourself, because your life is always creating new things to learn about yourself.
This realization has been comforting to me because now I know that I’m never truly done learning about, well, me. However, there’s a ton of things you can do to expedite the process.
HOW TO LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF
Take a personality test. I love this one by 16Personalities because it not only gives you your Meyers-Briggs personality type (hi, other ENFJ’s!) but it gives super detailed descriptions about you, from strengths to weaknesses to how you form relationships. It’s a super handy tool for not only self-discovery, but for finding a non-cheesy answer for the classic job interview question, “What would you consider to be your greatest weakness?”
Browse your own photos and social media. Are there any people/places/things that show up a lot? Anything that seems to make your smile even bigger? Any kind of common theme can reveal tons about what you value or even what your personal style is. It also helps reveal some things about what makes you feel driven or happy. I used to think that the best photos of me required makeup, the perfect hip pop, and good lighting, and clearly the above photo has none of those things – but I know that my smile is genuine and this moment was hilarious. For some background, I believe I donated money to a friend’s college organization for the change to throw a pie at his face. Money well spent. My point is, images can reveal a lot about your life and who you are, especially if you take time to let memories come back and search for a theme.
Phone a friend. I actually did this as part of a branding challenge that I recently took part in, and it was incredibly informative. It’s one thing to think about your own personality traits, but another to ask a friend how he or she sees you. Note: It’s important to ask a friend that will be honest, but not brutally so. I asked my best friend about my strengths the other day, and she gave me amazing feedback without empty flattery AND without pointing out a bunch of flaws. Granted, sometimes I want friends to tell me where I have room for improval (which L has), but explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it to get the best feedback. Sometimes, outsiders have the best information because they watch you living life and you can be too inside your own head.
What’s something you’ve learned about yourself in the past few weeks/month/year? Is there anything you’d like to learn more about?