Strolling down memory lane and I almost couldn’t recognise myself. If I was to go and stand in the middle of Oxford Street today and ask passers-by how well they know themselves, probably 99% would say very well. But what is your understanding of getting to know someone? And does the same guideline apply to getting to know yourself too?
Looking back at a photo of myself from 15 years ago, the way I appeared, my interests and dislikes – not a single ounce of that version remains with me today. That’s why there must be more to getting to know the inner you. Physical changes and interests are your variables in life which is no different to a science experiment. But what about the constants?
Here’s how I try to build a meaningful lifestyle every single day.
There is always an opportunity to meditate in a way that best defines you or one that you feel most comfortable with whether it be religious, cultural or independent. Your route doesn’t matter, but what does is your ability to quiet your mind, embrace your inner peace and find a sense of balance.
My main form of meditation stems from my practices within my deen (Islam). Whether it be praying Salah or performing a ritual known as Dhikir. The practices stimulate mindfulness and train my minds to become more disciplined and connect with Allah. It’s a process where I’m getting to know me better. I also love practising mindful cooldown straight after intense workouts where I unwind with stretching and guided meditation.
Focusing on my breathing helps me to concentrate, destress and improve my flexibility.
Don’t let temporary and spontaneous changes in your life define your identity.
The truth is I can’t even relate to some things I do from as little as 24 hours ago. Therefore, it is inevitable that I am mostly likely going to dislike the mindset I had way before that. You should be flexible with yourself.
Get yourself a diary
Not one with lines, but one with colours and boxes. One that has room for self-reflection and to go back to being your own critic. Yes, you got it right. Self-reflective journals are the new trend to identify, analyse and evaluate yourself – just like your PEE paragraphs from your English essays which you probably don’t want to remember. Not only are wellness journals more practical in today’s day and time, but they also help you specify your intentions, help you plan for the day, monitor yourself and track your mood. It’s one of the best ways of getting to know myself.
A spot for gratitude
How do you thank yourself or express things that you are thankful for during the day? How often do you gift yourself? It does not have to be anything that has a cost to it. It could be a simple treat that you have deprived your body from for a very long time if you have been trying to lose weight. Or even thinking about someone who has an important role in your life. Why don’t you go and approach them and thank them for their unconditional love and support. And if you can’t for whatever reason, take a moment to close your eyes and send your message from your heart.
Creating extra time for thoughts and feelings is what would set the foundations of getting to know the true you and your strongest emotions.
You must track your mood
You can’t force yourself to feel a certain way or act a certain way otherwise how will you ever be your own best friend? Don’t coat your feelings when they’re out of control. Express them. You must always listen to your mind and balance it with your body’s energy and activity levels. Don’t force yourself to go to places you don’t want to. Give yourself a day off from the gym if you’re simply not feeling it. Disconnect from people when you need to but always shine your way back to attract positive people, situations and experiences.
How often do you slap on a face mask? Or read a book before going to bed? It’s easier to follow yourself when you’re having a moment of relaxation. Remember, your likes and dislikes are not things which define you. It’s your emotions and how you act upon them. Things which make you happy, excited, amused, surprised and joyful. These things never change within you even if they do by form of practice. A mask could make you feel happy and a book could get you excited.