Based off a psychological study, the "true self" are internal characteristics that make up who we actually are. The belief of identifying who your "true self" is a shared perspective among many cultures, who recognize the authentic self is both good and moral. With this belief, it emphasizes that anyone can grow and change for the better, no matter your past, to eventually succeed in achieving well-balanced mental health and happiness.
However, discovering your true authentic self is can be difficult when you're a parent, since you're on a personal journey but also guiding and loving your children. The beauty of self-discovery is that you must incorporate your loved ones to help you fulfill your best human potential. Here are 10 ways to develop your truest self through parenting.
10 Be grateful
When we're grateful, we're able to form new social relations and strengthen old ones. Our brains become conditioned to seek and identify the positives, which becomes a great coping strategy when we become faced by stressors.
Parenting and life, in general, is hard. With so many ups and downs, it can be hard to isolate what exactly we should be grateful for. However, children are naturally mindful in the way that they are genuinely curious and excited about life. Parents can reflect on what their children are grateful for, to help be reminded of how beautiful life really is.
9 Set goals
When one thinks of goal setting, they might think of the generic steps of becoming academically or professionally successful. It's easy to think of success in terms of finances or getting material things. But setting goals in order to achieve happiness can be an influential motivator to help you discover your true self throughout parenting.
Most of us think that in order to be a good parent, our personal needs should be placed last, after the children and spouse's happiness. However, in order to be your best self, it's important to take the steps in acknowledging what you need and value, and then make the goals to follow suit.
8 Chase after what feels real
Our bodies and minds are the best allies in helping us determine what our true-selves yearn for. Emotions and feelings are a valid and justifiable response to the circumstances we put ourselves in. This is why "talk therapy" can be a powerful tool. Sometimes we focus so much on negative behaviors that we ignore our internal responses, filtering out was unpleasant so we could continue to people-please or avoid reality.
Wearing a perfect facade not only hurts you but can influence your children to believe that being real is something to be ashamed of. There is only one of you. Discovering your true self is loving your strengths and your imperfections, even when feelings seem ugly.
7 Personal Awareness
Parents are intuitively in tune with their children's emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual needs. Right from infancy, parental instincts naturally kick into full gear, so we know how to recognize and adapt to our child's growing needs. What most parents might not realize is those instincts that are working in overdrive to help us care for our children, are the same ones that can be used in our own personal awareness.
Emotional intelligence helps us to recognize and understand our body cues, emotions, behaviors, needs, and values while being aware of how it impacts us and our loved ones. Once one recognizes, understands, and expresses needs in a healthy way, is when the parent can begin to identify their true self.
6 Be mindful of who you surround yourself with
Whoever is a part of your social circle and family dynamics definitely plays a big factor in determining the success of your self-discovery journey. Our conception of self is highly influenced by our social self, which is what strives for connection and interaction with others. Whether your circle is big or small, it matters.
Parents warn their children about the dangers of negative peer pressure, and how one could be encouraged to do risky behaviors that can be physically and mentally harmful. Although adults generally don't associate to succumbing to peer pressure, many of us do. Becoming mindful of who you spend your time with, and how, can make you become aware of who deserves a spot alongside you.
5 Always have a purpose
Sometimes, a parent might feel like they've lost who they were, or feel stuck. In order to keep moving forward, it can be helpful to be reminded of how special being a parent really is.
Yet sometimes "just being a parent" doesn't feel meaningful enough... and that's okay. Discovering your true self implies finding what your own personalized purpose is, and then pursuing it. Whether it's financial or professional success, altruistic work, traveling the world, or advocating for a cause: this purpose belongs to you and no one else.
4 Find a reason to laugh daily
Laughing truly is the best medicine in helping us feel good, be authentic, and being comfortable with ourselves. In fact, The Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute states that our brain releases neurotransmitter chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins each time we laugh.
Finding a reason to laugh daily isn't as difficult as you might think. Parents can look to their children, the experts of silliness, for a dose of comedic relief. There are also more sophisticated ways to attain a few giggles throughout the day: being silly with your partner, exchanging funny one-liners with your co-workers, or turning on a comedy special on Netflix.
3 Be kind to yourself
Self-discovery seems like an exciting and joyous adventure when you think of your true-self as being good and moral. What you might not realize is that becoming your true-self can be hard, time-consuming, and intimidating as it is becoming vulnerable and comfortable in your own body and mind. However, we can take a page from our own parenting handbook, when we realize how we've already encouraged our children to love themselves.
Relapse and regression is an essential part of The Transtheoretical Model, otherwise known as the stages of change. Sometimes we can be so consumed by the journey of moving forward, that we don't realize how important it is to fail or make mistakes. Be kind to yourself because although growing can be messy, you are only human after all.
2 Make time for you
Now that you've begun to realize your true potential by acknowledging your true self, you might feel like it's time to hit the ground running. With so many ideas of how to apply your purpose, chasing after what feels real, and setting personal goals, it can be an intoxicating feeling.
However, as great as it feels to be on top of the world, it's essential to maintain a healthy consistency of doing things solely for your well-being. Even when you feel like everything is going right, whether personally or along your parenting journey, it's important to keep in mind: "you can't drink from an empty cup." Self-care should be your focus whenever possible.
1 Love as much as possible
Throughout your life, you may have experienced unconditional love, a love that has no limits.
According to Keirsey, idealists tend to be giving and trusting individuals focused on personal journeys and human potential. They pride themselves on being loving, kind-hearted, and authentic. They are enthusiastic, trustful of their intuition, and seek to find their true selves. Therefore, by loving as much as possible, we as parents have the capability of learning who we really are despite the full-time parenting job.