How To Find Out Who You Really Are

January 9, 2013

Last week I asked you on my Facebook and Twitter: “This time next year, what would you regret not accomplishing or experiencing?” and you had some great answers, one of which was “Find out who I REALLY am“.


Most of us come to a point in our lives where defining ourselves can be a bit hazy, or even down right anxiety riddled.  Only a couple months ago I was caught in a whirlwind vortex of anxiety about what I’m all about and I had to hit rock bottom emotionally to gain some clarity.  That’s why sometimes I’m ok with suffering from bouts of depression, there is aways a lesson to be learned from them.

Discovering who I am was a trial and error process and it really is a project that never ends.  Being in my 30’s makes it easier to know who I am, but I had to go through a lot of experiences to gain that knowledge.  I had to try a lot of things, kiss a lot of frogs, cry many, many lakes of tears and read a mountain of books to discover what was true for me.

I think the best way to go about it is to strip everything away, strip away man made things that define you, like societal “shoulds” and definitely religious beliefs.  Go back to being a human. Before you are anything, you are human, what does that mean for you?

Who are you when you aren’t being defined by religion?  Who are you when you aren’t being defined by how the people close to you want you to be?  Who are you when you don’t need anyone else to show you who you are?  If you didn’t have to work, who would you be?  If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?  If you could do, be and have anything at all, right this minute, what would you choose?  Who would you need to be to fall in love with your magnificent self?  Who would you need to be to really be able to look in the mirror?  Who are you when you stop using magazines, newspapers and whatever is on the TV to tell you who you are?  When you’re on your deathbed and thinking back on your life, who do you want to remember yourself as being?

It’s important to enter into a relationship with yourself.  To have conversations with yourself so that you an be openly honest about the things you’ve done, your failures and your accomplishments.  I find knowing what I do and don’t like helps me define myself and that takes honesty, both with yourself, and with those around you so you can set the standards of how you want to be treated.

If you were to write a short story about yourself, 3-500 words, how would you describe yourself right now?  Do it.  Write that story, as you are, right now.  Then read it, sleep on it, and read it again.  How does it make you feel?  Do you feel good?  Can you accept what you’ve written?  Do you need to make changes or do you feel let down and disappointed? Your emotions are your guide.  Feel what you need to change or accept.  Make sure you really accept and feel good about the positives.

What needs to happen for you to feel like you have a good idea about who you are?

For me, it has taken all my life to come to a place where I feel like I could describe myself.  I had to have a lot of life experience to figure myself out, which isn’t to say I have myself figured out.  I still constantly surprise myself.  I put myself in new situations, go on adventures to have new experiences and along the way, I learn about myself.

While volunteering on that guest farm in South Africa last year, I learned a whole heap about myself.  I learned that I like things done just so, that I naturally fall into a managerial role if need be, that I am short tempered, that I need to be obeyed and that I’d probably make a good mother.  I reacted to things in ways that really surprised, and kind of scared me, I had to ask myself where that came from.  I saw myself through the eyes of a 13 year old girl who idolized me and a 48 year old woman who loved me and regarded my bull-in-a-china-shop stubbornness with quiet amusement.

The animals I worked with showed me who I really am, they are not skewed by societal political correctness, they see you and treat you exactly as you are, the animalistic human that gets confused and irate when we hold on too tight.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you how you define yourself.  How other people define you is only a perception and you can choose to accept it or not.  Just do yourself the kindness of accepting the positive comments more than the negative. Remember, you define who you are.

The image above is available to purchase from here.

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  • Dara January 9, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    This is a great post! Defining oneself can be really confusing sometimes, because I think we’re made up of some core elements that probably remain fairly constant, but other parts that can change (if we want them to). Sometimes I think we get conflicting messages – stay true to yourself! But also change yourself to become your best self. In the end, you’re right – we get the final say about who we are!

    • The Dame January 9, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      “stay true to yourself! But also change yourself to become your best self.” – sounds like a contradiction but actually makes perfect sense! 🙂

  • Phil January 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Terrific post. Really leaves one open to realize who we are warts and all. Strengths and shortcomings. Bottom line is we have to honest with ourselves to grow, evolve, and be happy with who we are. I don’t listen to those that try and categorize me. Just be you!

    • The Dame January 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      Something I heard the other day “don’t take judgements and criticisms from anyone unless they are genuinely happier than you are”. 🙂

  • Nadya January 26, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I think the powers that be; whatever/wherever “they” are, meant for me to come across your blog. I was searching for fashion blogs, and came across your article about fashion bloggers—very good btw. Then I clicked on “Advice”.

    Everything that you’re touching on, particularly with this article is incredibly relevant to me right now. This article drove me to tears, because I am in a really weird/off place right now, and I definitely am feeling as if I don’t quite know who I am or what I want (out of life).

    I think it is incredible how self-assured you are and it’s awesome that you have been involved in a number of career paths and are excited to continue searching and growing.

    I am a perfectionist and am way too hard on myself. If you google my name “Nadya Rousseau”, you can see some of the things I’ve done/am involved in. I moved to LA from a small town in Maryland at nineteen (I just turned 26), in pursuit of an acting career. I had already been offered a contract so was headed in the right direction. My significant other and I got a part time job to pay the bills, a car, an apartment, and I delved into classes and auditioning. Since then I’ve been on a number of TV shows, co-produced a short that went to a film fest, and have done a number of modeling jobs.

    Since arriving, I’ve dodged a sickening number of scam artists, and sadly got swept under the rug a few too many times. Currently, I still do the acting thing part time although I’ve lost the same passion for it that I once had. I haven’t had any desire to look for a new agent, I’ve been too discouraged/depressed. This town is incredibly draining, disheartening, and all around shallow. Friends are hard to come by. I work by day as a paralegal now and the place I work for is driving me mad—the work, although challenging for some, for me is mostly an exercise in monotony.

    I have decided to finish my degree in English, as I’ve always had a passion for writing, more so than acting, and begin class next month (only taking one this semester). In the meantime I work this job, write on my blog (link attached—and the site needs work) when I find time, and just feel really depressed and at a loss.

    Like you, my significant other comes from a very abusive past and received no financial support whatsoever from her parents. I have also been financially independent since a young age; it was just how I was raised. My parents are academics-both retired professors. But when I was 18 and accepted to NYU school of Journalism—they said “Nope”—too expensive. It was then that I decided to “take the leap” and move to LA.

    I know my rant is probably becoming a bit chaotic now, but at the point is I feel very much in a rut, depressed, and hostile most days…lately. Your entry was inspiring and I want to dig into some of the resources you provided. You have found yourself a loyal subscriber.