Self-discovery sounds so easy. Just focus on yourself and before you know it, you will know who you really are. But unfortunately, it’s not that easy. In reality, we erect defenses against a lot of what we think and feel. Often, we can be quite blind to ourselves.
Worse, other people telling us what we cannot see just doesn’t work. 21st century psychoanalysts long discovered that interpretation doesn’t necessarily work. Instead, we have learned to prepare our patient’s minds for self-discovery.
Here’s what you can do to prepare your own mind:
1) Stoke your curiosity. You may prefer to push away thoughts and feelings that you believe don’t serve you, such a worry, anxiety, confusion or frustration. But actually, it is precisely what you are impelled to push away that you should get more curious about. That’s where the mysteries live.
2) Seek to be heard, not improved. No matter how seemingly despicable, disgusting, useless, negative or just plain wrong you think your feelings are, don’t talk with the goal of changing what you think and feel. You won’t learn as much about yourself that way. Stop solving and start evolving. Remember: you didn’t ask to have these thoughts and feelings. So just process them without that dreary urgency for change.
3) Search for new perspective on your old narratives. I’m always amazed by the dead-end stories people have about how lazy, passive, loud, or whatever else they are. And I always find a story for why the person had to become what they did. Look for that alternative narrative yourself. A better story. It may be the best way to prepare your mind for further self-discovery.
When you focus on strengthening your mind, instead of changing it, you’ll be amazed by the new possibilities that can naturally emerge.