Have you ever thought about who you are? And what that means?
I’m not talking about your role, or social identities. You can be a friend, a brother/sister, an employee, a son/daughter, a husband/wife, a father/mother, etc. You can be a friend, a brother/sister, an employee, a son/daughter, a husband/wife, a father/mother, etc. Sometimes all of these things happen at the same time, but they are just one aspect of yourself. They do not represent who you are fundamentally inside. Your Being is who you really are inside.
To know your Inner Being you need to know your purpose, values, motivations, goals and beliefs. Not what you have been told by others, but what you have discovered by yourself. Knowing your Inner Self requires a fairly high level of introspection and awareness.
If you are clearly aware of at least half of the above, you probably have a high level of awareness. At the same time, the path of discovery has no end – it is the journey of a lifetime.
You are much more than your identities
Trying to discover your Inner Self can be difficult. You carry multiple identities in your life. Each has its own set of socially defined values, visions, and expectations. Even so, these may not conform to what your self-image is.
For example, imagine you are an employee of an automotive company. As an employee, your mission should follow the company’s mission, whatever it may be.
However, you, as an individual, have other dreams and goals that are different from those of your employer. Maybe you really love volleyball and it is your passion. Your ideal vision is to be a famous volleyball player and then become a volleyball coach, coaching national teams.
This is clearly different from the vision of the company, which expects you to be a mere employee. In the same way, this also applies to your other identities. For each identity, you have a set of goals / values / visions / motivations / objectives / beliefs that are not entirely the same as your Inner Being.
Because everyone is unique, your true Being cannot be limited to a single identity or label. None of these roles in themselves accurately describe who you are.
A good analogy would be a flower. Your Inner Being is like the flowerhead of a flower (the central part where the petals are attached). Your identities are like the petals around your Inner Being.
While the petals are extensions of the head, they are not the head. Similarly, your identities are extensions of yourself, but they do not represent who you are entirely.
The importance of reconnecting with your Inner Being
If you have never really thought about your Inner Self, it is probably because you have defined yourself through your identities. It is common to see yourself in a certain role, such as that of a friend, an employee, a son/daughter, etc. It is not uncommon to see yourself in a certain role. Some people spend their lives building such identities for themselves.
If they are taken away from them, they find themselves completely lost, because they have very little awareness of who they are inside. These people are not able to articulate their own visions, goals and dreams beyond what has been imposed on them through their identities.
For example, someone who has attached himself to his identity as a son will live his entire life as a son. He will act according to what is best for his parents. He will spend a lot of time with his parents, do things for his parents, neglecting everything else in his life if he is to make them happy.
And when he has to make important decisions, such as choosing a career or a husband/wife, he must make sure he has his parents’ agreement before acting. His parents are at the center of his life.
However, his Inner Self is much greater than just his identity as the son of his parents. If his parents disappeared from his life, he would be completely lost. His life would topple over and drift away because the anchor he has been building for himself all his life would no longer exist.
It is as if the capitulum of a sunflower disappeared, all the petals would scatter in the wind because there is nothing to hold them together. When you are too attached to one of your identities, you run the risk of having an identity crisis when it disappears.
This is why it is important to find your Inner Being. You own your life and you live your life for yourself. This life is defined by you, not by your roles or identities. If you are not connected to who you really are, you will live a life dictated by others. Pursuing the goals of others, living up to their expectations and projections, rather than living the way you really want to live.
Knowing your Inner Self is the first step to living a life in full consciousness and according to your desires and decisions.
From the knowledge of your Inner Self comes Self-awareness.
If you do not have a clear vision of what your Inner Self is, it is still likely that some aspects of your Inner Self are already apparent in your daily life, depending on how you manage your identities.
For example, if you often brag about being responsible to your parents, responsibility is probably one of your inner values. If you feel a compelling need to always be there for your friends, reliability is probably an important value for you.
It is perfectly normal not to know your Inner Self. Discovering it and elucidating it is a lifelong process. For example, when I was 10 years old I was not as self-aware as I am now. When I was in elementary and middle school, I didn’t know who I was or what I would be. I think that anyone at that age is in the same situation. Everybody at that age was just doing what they were told to do, whether it was parents, school, society.
At that age it was difficult to be introspective, or even self-aware. It was total fog. As we began to build our own personalities, they were at best just a mass of desires and dreams.
The main reason why we had such low self-awareness at that time was because conformity is highly valued in schools (and even in society for that matter). Being critical or having an opinion is considered an act of rebellion.
Our tasks were generally to process and execute instructions, not to question or choose. If you had different thoughts, you were generally frowned upon and harshly put back on the straight and narrow.
That’s why we never really thought the way we wanted. We were more like robots who foolishly applied what they were taught, or rather sleepwalkers as I often refer to it here.
As I entered high school and even more so university, my self-awareness grew. This came about because of the increasing freedom that one had, such as choosing certain courses or curricula.
This pushed me to make decisions and thus triggered more intense reflection about what I wanted to do now and in the future. Of course, many of the activities I was doing on the side helped me to develop in different ways – for example, one of my passions is web design, I was already the webmaster of a number of sites before this one. I also took part in various extracurricular activities, etc.
In recent years I have been able to find my vocation and thus get to know myself better. Every day is an opportunity to learn who I am and where I am going. The more I discover about myself, the more I am able to live consciously.
Who is really behind your identities?
Let’s do an exercise to discover your inner self.
Start by mentally removing all the different identities you have accumulated since the beginning of your life. This means stopping thinking of yourself as a brother, a colleague, a friend, or whatever identity you are used to associating with. Just think about being yourself.
Using paper and pen, write down everything that comes to mind when you read the questions below:
- What is my purpose in life? What purpose do I think life should have?
- What are my future prospects for myself, independent of anyone else?
- What goals and dreams do I have for myself for the next year, 3 years, 5 years or even 10 years?
- What are MY motivations in life? What drives me to move forward, day after day? What am I fighting for day after day? What do I feel passionate about?
- What are my values? What qualities are important to me?
- What are my beliefs about the world around me? What are my views on the world?
If this is the first time you have done this kind of exercise, you will probably find it difficult. Some of your answers may come from your social identities.
For example, if you are very family-centered, you may find that your answers are completely focused on taking care of your family. It’s okay to have such answers, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that comes up.
Start by thinking beyond your family. What are your prospects for yourself outside of your family? What are your personal motivations in life?
Don’t worry if you have trouble finding things. Even if you feel like you’re writing on a blank page, there is a real YOU behind all these social identities, waiting to be discovered.
Here are a few steps that I think are very helpful in discovering this Inner Being:
- Learn and evolve constantly, in all areas.
- Immerse myself in new situations, and get out of my comfort zone to learn more about myself.
- Constantly introspecting myself.
- Looking beyond what I am offered or told, to discover what I really want for myself.
- Listen to my instincts as they are expressed.
By way of doing this exercise, you have got already brought about the quest system. No matter how deeply rooted your Inner Being is in you right now, this search will slowly but surely expand to stir the depths of your soul.
You will begin to become more aware of your thoughts and actions. Soon you will be able to get a sense of who you really are inside. Eventually you will get to the point where you know clearly who you are as a person.
How to align with your Inner Self
As you discover your Inner Self, you will probably find that your identities do not fit with your Inner Self. There is a conflict between who you really are, and the expectations that are placed on your shoulders. If this is the case, everything is fine. This is the first step to finding out who you are.
The next step is to live in alignment with your Inner Self, as best you can, depending on the situation. At the same time, start making long-term plans to live completely aligned with your Inner Self.
For example, someone who would work as an employee in a beauty marketing department, means that he or she must be good at creating new marketing strategies to get consumers to buy. But since, in my opinion, the beauty industry acts on a very low level of consciousness (on the level of desire, the fear of not being attractive), this identity is therefore not aligned with the Inner Being (high level of consciousness) in each of us.
There is clearly a conflict between the role of employee and the Inner Being. We can, of course, go back to sleep and pretend that this discomfort does not exist, or we can choose another path.
Of course, resigning is sometimes not an option. So, the best thing the person can do is to try to live as aligned as possible with their Inner Self, and plan long term a way to pursue what they are passionate about.
Although it is difficult to change the nature of the work being done, this person could – for example – build strong relationships with colleagues. This would also allow them to raise their consciousness, by discussing what they are passionate about, until an opportunity arises that would allow them to change jobs to pursue their dreams.
Every action you take should be in accordance with your Inner Self. If there are identities that do not fit with the representation of your Inner Self, there are two options available to you.
First, try to find some common ground between these identities and your Inner Self. This may involve modifying these identities to better fit with who you really are. Saying, “I’m not an employee of X, I’m employed by X for such and such a task.” This simple change of terms is important, you are no longer a possession of the company but you are providing services to that company.
If that doesn’t work at all, the other (more drastic) option would be to remove or change the identity completely. That is, for example, to leave the employee identity to become self-employed, or to cut off any relationship with your friends who are pulling you down.
All this will allow you to grow as a person, and become more accomplished in your life. All of your identities must revolve around and be aligned with your Inner Being. And this can only happen through a conscious effort, gradually changing your identities until they form a coherent whole.
Focus on finding your Inner Self, and then gradually live in alignment with it. This is how you will begin to live an enriching and conscious life!