If you’re like a lot of adults, you tend to define yourself according to external expectations and activities. You associate your identity with things like what you do for a living and the role you play in your family. But if you stop to look into what drives you, this external identity is often not enough.
It becomes especially true when a major life alteration occurs.
Maybe you get laid off or your children go away to college. And you start questioning who you are and what your purpose in life is. Or worse, you could be so busy that you have yet to look inside and acknowledge that you feel a little lost. These experiences, though all unique, can give us reasons to slow down when the fast-walking for many of us starts to take its toll—if only for a moment.
Meditation is one major way that I have found to improve your understanding and appreciation for life and most importantly for yourself. I hope these next ideas will help you in your search to understand who you are and motivate you to embrace a regular meditation practice, if you don't already do!
Turn off your phone. I know it sounds impossible but being bombarded with distractions makes it close to impossible to get to know yourself. Even science has proven that blocking out time to unplug each day is crucial for one's wellbeing. So challenge yourself! Turn off your devices around mealtimes and an hour before going to bed.
Mind your thoughts. Use your meditation time to slow down, go deeper, and find out what’s on your mind. Notice your thoughts and feelings without becoming attached to them. You’ll start to notice a difference between you and your fleeting ideas and impressions.
Scan your body. Do you ever think about your body or only when you are sick or gained a bit of weight? Time to change that. Pay attention to yourself from head to toes. Be mindful of your posture and loosening up. Forget about focusing on your so called flaws.
Reexamine your values. Your principles and beliefs should be at the core of your being. They help to define the kind of person you are and want to be. Ensure you’re building your life around something meaningful to you.
Check your motives. Are you drifting along or making deliberate choices? Meditation gives you the perspective needed to explore why you do the things you do. Through a regular practice, you'll find it way easier to break free from habits that no longer serve you.
Embrace a mindful way of living. Remain fully present in between meditations becomes easier and easier as practice grows. Pay attention to the present moment instead of dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.
Practice acceptance. Embrace yourself for who you fully are. Give up those quick and undermining judgements and harsh criticism. Keep in mind that you are enough and adequate just the way you are.
Say good bye to stress. Show yourself some appreciation by using meditation and other healthy methods as a tool to relieve stress. Doing so will help you strengthening your heart and lowering your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and so much more!
Extend your sense of forgiveness. Are you holding any grudges against yourself? Forgive yourself for any past mistakes. Promise yourself to be better! Take time to visualize a future in which you value learning from experience instead of beating up on yourself.
Acknowledge your progress. Take a look at how far you’ve come. Celebrate the milestones and little victories along your path. Whether it's in your career or your personal life. Let your past achievements inspire and empower you to set new challenges.
Practice gratitude. Count all the blessings in your life, especially the family and friends who have contributed to your happiness and success. But pay also attention to the simple things, having food when you need, being warm in the mist of the winter, being born at a time when we have running water... being grateful will change the way you look at yourself and others with more affection and kindness.
Embrace the power of affirmations. Come up with a list of affirmations - you can also use the ones I share on my meditation platforms - and use them like a mantra while you are meditating. Select words and phrases that motivate you to keep going.
Set an Intention. Aim at ending your meditation sessions with a practical task to complete. Bake yourself a cake, call a loved one you haven't talked to in a long time, or plan a fun activity for the upcoming weekend.
Use meditation to figure out who you are and what you need to do to lead a life that’s meaningful to you.
Exploring your thoughts, feelings, and actions is the first step towards growing wiser and happier. As your self-knowledge grows, you’ll make sounder decisions and enjoy richer experiences.