7 Steps To Self Discovery

self discovery

What are the steps to self discovery?

To begin with, do you know yourself well?

Are you clear about you want in life?

Do you have a sense of purpose?

What defines you?

What makes you happy?

If you stop to reflect for a second, you may find yourself answering “no” or “don’t really know” to most of the questions above.

Should this be true, you are not alone.

It may also be that while you are happy with some parts of your life, there could be also parts that you do not like. Not being happy overall with your life is an indication that are things unresolved.

Up till now, it is very possible that you’ve not gotten to know yourself very well.  You’ve been running on the treadmill of life. A great proportion of your time has been spent on working long hours, slaving away in a job and filling your days with back-t0-back activities. Your mind is just too preoccupied with things to do.

Unfortunately, not knowing yourself well can result in an unfulfilling existence. Because when you have no clear idea about what your inner values, core beliefs and goals are, you are likely to allow your emotions and decisions to be externally dictated. Instead of making an independent decision, you adopt the values, core beliefs and opinions of your friends, colleagues or parents, as your own. Thus, you would have no clue about what your personal boundaries are, even if they have been violated. While others can count on you for support, you are not sure that you can count on yours for yourself.

How self discovery is related to the law of attraction is obvious. If you have no clear idea of who you are, you will have no clarity in what you want or seek. You send mixed signals out to the Universe. Your desires and intends keep changing from day to day. By virtue of the Law of Attraction, it will be hard to “attract” the outcomes that you want because your intention is not clear enough.

Blockages To Self Discovery

It dawned on me recently, that many of my friends experience the same blockages to self discovery. While they have agreed with me the importance of knowing oneself, they found it challenging to do so. On reflection, I realised that their current state was how it was for me previously. It took me a long time to decide to commit to my personal growth.

So, ask yourself if the following is true of you:

Block #1 to Self Discovery: Fear Of Finding Demons

You fear the process of examining your life under a microscope. There is the fear of discovering that there can be demons in the closet. What terrifies you is that in the process of self discovery, you can come to the conclusion that you are worthless. Or that you are not very likeable. Rather than put yourself in pain, you would prefer to stay unaware about these demons and pretend that everything is fine.

From young, you are also taught to appear strong: don’t cry or display signs of weakness. You are warned that consequences of appearing weak or emotional or needing help can be severe, because you’ve observed that only those that appear strongest survive. And so, you believe that there is no place for weepy Souls on this planet if you want to get ahead in life.

“I am afraid to show you who I really am, because if I show you who I really am, you might not like it–and that’s all I got.” Sabrina Ward Harrison quotes

By acknowledging who You really are, you are afraid that others may find that out the same truths too. You fear losing their friendships. Hence, you prefer that others do not know about any signs of vulnerability or weakness that you have. It can be hard to admit that you are not all that great, especially if you are holding a leadership position. Your ego is at stake here. You prefer to put on a mask rather than be your true authentic Self.

When you avoid the process of self discovery, you are basically in denial of the real You. You appear to be functioning but simmering underneath, are your sabotaging thoughts and beliefs. Well, because you have never confronted your demons, they are still very much alive. You may not realise it but they are probably the reasons why success has eluded you or why you have never been truly happy.

Block #2 to Self Discovery: Lack of Self Love

self-love program: how to love yourself unconditionallyYou may have never been taught to love yourself, from young. How can it be possible to love and accept yourself, if you have been handed more criticisms than encouragement? So you have grown up, not really knowing who you really are or what your strengths are.

There has never been a need to, in any case. Since it has always been about others. You crave for social acceptance. It would seem far better to adopt traits, ideas and behaviors of people who are popular and those whom you choose to emulate. You believe that there is nothing worthy within to find out, based on your low sense of Self.



Block #3 to Self Discovery: It Is Best To Stifle Your Creativity And Dreams

You may have also been taught that it is best to stifle your dreams. “It’s easier to make a living on an Economics degree than on a degree in design,” you were told at the age of 7. You were taught to choose a career choice based on what would be more financially viable by the marketplace than your own personal likes and natural inclinations. Even while you have an innate talent for art, you came to the conclusion that it is best not to develop it.

As you grow older, you have fewer and fewer dreams. After all, dreams seldom come true, you say. The dreams you once had as a child were left to die.

“Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.”
Marsha Norman quotes (American Playwright and Dramatist won Pulitzer (1983) for her play Night Mother. b.1947)

Block #4 to Self Discovery: Too Much Noise

There is so much noise and stress in your life, that there is hardly any time for self discovery. You lead a busy lifestyle, with important datelines to fufill and schedules that need to run like clockwork. You simply do not have the time to find answers that may or may not result in paying the bills for you. You would rather continue life as before. If you have been functioning so far, why rock the boat?

In your environment, you may find that what thrives are mindless gossips, unfair comparisons, snide remarks, and thoughtless comments. If your thoughts are filled with these mental defilements, it will be hard to find the space for more loving and kind thoughts. The process of self discovery is not just about finding negatives about yourself. It is also about finding love for yourself and nurturing yourself.

Steps To Self Discovery

7 steps to self discovery

Step #1 to Self Discovery: Face Your Demons.

Understandably, examining your life under a microscope can be discomforting and an unpleasant exercise. I know. I have been through it. However, you will be grateful for starting the process of self discovery, because rewards unfold when you know more about yourself.

You need to confront your emotional issues and weaknesses, because they reveal the separation from the real You. The real You is an authentic, loving and nurturing self. However, these negative parts add destructive layers to your Being, causing you distress and disharmony.

Negative beliefs tend to pervade every aspect of your life. If you have feelings of low self worth, then you are likely to carry them in the relationships you have at home, in the office, with your friends, relatives and loved ones.

If you find yourself coming up short, do not beat yourself up either. Instead, understand the separation and see if you can make improvements to your behavior, thoughts and emotions. Uncovering answers will help peel off layer-by-layer the negative thoughts that have been imprinted in your mind since ages ago. These negative thoughts and beliefs have been your obstacles to inner growth.

Learn to forgive yourself. When your outer Self is aligned with your inner Being, you will feel happy and free!

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
– Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

Step #2 to Self Discovery: Recognise Your Strengths.

The process of self discovery is not just about unearthing nasty stuff about yourself. It is also about honoring your strengths and abilities. As you become more aware of what you are good at, you lessen the list on weaknesses. Find ways to love yourself.

“You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, “I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself.”
– Mariah Carey (American Singer. b.1970, New York,USA)

A position of strengths can come from knowing what you enjoy. List down activities that you like doing currently or have enjoyed in the past. Find out what makes your heart sing. Find out what keeps you excited. Find out what inspires you. These are the things that define You.

Step #3 to Self Discovery: Ask Yourself: What Is Your Life Purpose?

It is important to ask yourself what you want out of life and work towards it. Aligning with your soul purpose brings about fulfilment. Without a purpose and direction, you are going to feel like a ship going nowhere. I can assure you that if you don’t go through this process of evaluation on what your purpose is, you are going to experience regret while on your deathbed.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne

Hence, start by listing down everything you would like to achieve. The one that stands out is the one that has made you cry or that has resonated best with you. You may also want to use the opportunity to consider your life goals in all aspects: physical, mental and spiritual.

Step #4 to Self Discovery: Clarify Your Core Values.

In the questioning process, ask yourself what your personal values are. Core values will be things like compassion, honesty, love, kindness, loyalty, etc. Clarifying your core values will give you an exact picture of who You are.

When I first went through this process, I had no clear idea of what my core values are. I suspected I had none. To assist myself, I imagined myself in a couple of roles and asked myself what my values were in each case: as a mother, wife, daughter and entrepreneur.

It is important your actions are supported by your core values and fundamentals. If not, you will find yourself in self sabotage. The ability to reach your highest potential is severely curtailed!

Step #5 to Self Discovery: Find Inspiration From Things Around You

Self improvement books have been particularly helpful for me, in discovering more about myself. They include Law of Attraction books, Conversations with God by Neale Donald Waslch and in understanding ego, Eckhart Tolle’s the Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.  These books prompt me to ask questions about myself and how I would want to live my life. Hence, if you still find it difficult to know yourself, look for books and coaches for help.

Being with nature is also a good idea. You tend to connect better to your inner Being, when you are more relaxed. The answers that you seek, while in a state of mental relaxation, surface more easily.

Step #6 to Self Discovery: Spend Time Alone.

To know a person, is to spend time with him or her. In the same manner, to build a relationship with yourself, you need to spend time getting to know more about yourself. You cannot know yourself well, if you are constantly surrounded by lots of noise, friends and family, or if you are always preoccupied in your mind and with things to do.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”
– Oscar Wilde (Irish Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic, 1854-1900)

To kickstart the process of self discovery, it may be a good idea to go on a meditation retreat. This is especially if you find it hard to think clearly amidst the everyday mayhem that is going on in your life. To know yourself intimately, make an exclusive date – away from your spouse or partner, kids, colleagues, boss and parents.

Time alone to meditate and reflect is productive time. You cannot expect to function well physically everyday, if you are out of balance in other aspects such as mentally and spiritually. Very importantly, consider putting aside “me” time on a regular basis. For myself, I choose to spend “me” time meditating, reading books or simply just Be.

Step #7 to Self Discovery: Journalling.

Get to know yourself better through the process of journaling. Consider starting a blog, just like this one. Write about your likes and dislikes, and reactions to your various experiences. As you write, you are connecting to your deeper Self. Your posts can provide much needed clues about your emotions, strengths, weaknesses and areas that you never knew about yourself. They provide an opportunity for you to heal and grow.

“The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment, it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.” – Orison Swett Marden

A Lifetime Of Self Discovery

self discovery 7 steps

Self discovery is not an a one-day or a one-week affair. In fact, it can take a lifetime of building a relationship with yourself. Also, do note that your inner Self is not going to stay constant either. You are evolving all the time. Based on your self discovery at any point in time, you make conscious decisions for changes. Additionally, as you mature, you gain insights that make up the New You.

You become clearer and clearer, in the intent that you sent out to the Universe. Because this intent is in perfect alignment with the real You, you do not experience any conflict or sabotage. The energy vibration of your intent is pure, untainted and strong. By the Law of Attraction, you attract the very thing that resonates well with your Being.

In conclusion, the more you know yourself, the more empowered you are going to be. A clear self understanding results in renewed confidence, centeredness and strength. You Live Purposely and Are Truly Happy!

Love and abundance always,
Evelyn Lim

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Robert Greenshields - May 22, 2008

Some great points. I agree that it’s worth spending time understanding our values. When we know what’s important to us, it’s easier to be who we want to be.

Jonathan Mead - May 22, 2008

#4, 6 and 7 (there was no number 5, btw) really resonated with me. I think it’s crucial to spend some time alone with yourself everyday. Journaling also helps a great deal because it allows your stream of consciousness to flow without becoming inhibited.

Great points Evelyn! =)

[email protected] Life - May 22, 2008

Great article! I think it is important we recognize our strengths as you suggest. It seems that we often just focus on improving our weaknesses, but really we would probably be better off if we sharpened our strengths instead.

Brennan Kingsland - May 22, 2008

Thank you, Evelyn, for reminding me that there are advantages to getting older. It was a long hard battle, but I finally learned who I am, why I’m here, and how to move forward in alignment with my being.

The peace of mind of being inner-directed, rather than outer-directed, makes me realize I have no desire to go back to being that green, young girl I once was (not in this lifetime anyway).

Thank you for sharing the lovely video!

Your Friend,

Evelyn - May 22, 2008

@Jonathan, oops…while copying and pasting, I missed out point #5. I’ve corrected my post already.

@Brennan, it’s great that at some point in our lives, we come to realising how important it is to know ourselves. Of course, it would have been much better if we have known ourselves all along. But then, life would not have been so interesting and the Knowing wouldn’t have cut so deeply.

@Jeff and Robert, thanks for your feedback. The more we know about ourselves, strengths and weaknesses alike and core values, the easier it is to create a life that makes us truly happy.

Kenneth King | Destiny Building - May 22, 2008


I like the idea of journaling. While my blog is a place to share thoughts of a more general nature, journals help us remember where we were and what we did on special (and not so special) occasions.

Hunter Nuttall - May 22, 2008

Great post, Evelyn. You had so many good ideas that it’s hard to know what to comment on. But I especially like the idea of going on a retreat to know more about yourself. I just might have to do that!

Vered - May 22, 2008

“There is so much noise and stress in your life, that there is hardly any time for self discovery.”

I find this to be very true. I like your advice about spending time alone and about journaling. I think both would be very helpful for me. Thank you.

Lorraine Cohen - May 22, 2008

You’re singing my song Evelyn

I’m almost a broken record on how critical the inner journey of coming home to “who you are” in creating the outer reality we seek. The outside world is a reflection of our inner world and where we must look for answers. It takes courage to look at ourselves with an open heart and mind so that we can become the creators of our life.

I resonated with every point you made and it was right on the mark. As always Evelyn, very insightful and rich!



Evelyn - May 22, 2008

@Hunter and Lorraine, the points really represented my journey. Without going through the noise, soap operas, and difficulties myself, I would have found it impossible to share them. Thanks for your feedback. As always, I value your friendships.

@Vered, we are all journalling on the web, not just to garner a readership but also to explore our inner thoughts, aren’t we? Spending time alone is crucial indeed. I have a pact with my husband, to allow me time every week for deeper meditation and inner healing work. This extra time is in addition to the meditation that I do almost every day. I’m grateful for this extra time because I’ve gained the most insights from it. Not only that, I was able to share much of the insights on this site.

In Loving Abundance,

Evelyn - May 22, 2008

@Kenneth, love your sharing on your site too 🙂

Shilpan | successsoul.com - May 22, 2008


It’s a great read. Not loving yourself and not finding purpose are two major pitfalls of life. Thanks for reminding me.


Tom Volkar / Delightful Work - May 24, 2008

Evelyn this is a very well written and comprehensive post on self-discovery. I’ve done a lot of exploration in the past on bringing light to my dark side and I relish the nudge to do so again. Thank you.

It’s also comforting to see a writer recommending time alone. Our times of self-reflection and self-celebration are essential to healthy living.

This is a super post.


Effortless Abundance » Blog Archive » The Effortless Abundance Blog Carnival - first edition - May 31, 2008

[…] Lim presents 7 Steps To Self Discovery posted at Attraction Mind […]

Travis Morgan - May 31, 2008

I’ve discovered that “self” is but the product of ones accumulated experiences and how ones unique biology and chemistry reacts to those experiences. As long as one is alive and is subject to experiences, then one’s “self” continues to evolve and change. As soon as we think we’ve placed our finger on our ‘self’ it has changed again due to that experience of discovery. It’s like trying to step on your own shadow, as soon as you move to step on it it moves away by your own movement.

Evelyn - June 1, 2008

@Tom, thanks for your lovely feedback. It’s nice to know that this very process towards self discovery that I am outlining here is validated by more than one person (me).

@Travis, I like the way you presented about how we keep evolving all the time. As we move towards being more and more alignment to who we really are, it is as if we are in this beautiful dance, leaving a trail of new shadows as you described it to be.

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Alberto Cortes - April 5, 2010

Your advice is very helpful, I am having trouble trying to understand who I am and this article is really helping. but how do you know that you have discovered yourself???

Evelyn Reply:

Hello Alberto,

Indicators show up in your life experiences. Are you experiencing more joy, fulfillment and peace? Self discovery is not a one-stop destination to reach. It is a path of unfolding who you really are. You peel off the layers to reveal the hidden essence of who you are.

Hope the above explanations help!

All the best,

Jeremy Johnson - April 7, 2010

Wow – I can tell that you put a lot of thought and effort into writing this. Let’s see, where do I begin?

I think the quote (which I will paraphrase). “We fear that we are powerful beyond measure.” rings true here. Most people stick to what they are doing because it is at least predictable. Even if it makes them unhappy.

But if you do what you are meant to, what you really want to inside, then it means you might have to get uncomfortable, take risks, and possibly fail many times. It may mean effort, sorrow, and pain to get there. That is part of the fear of being powerful – the path to your true self.

I’d say my biggest demon for me, having a family, is my full time job. It’s a good job. It pays great and has superb health benefits. But it is not what I am supposed to be doing. So I am in a constant battle with this demon. And I am gaining the upper hand lately. The biggest fear I have is, “What do I do for income after I’ve left.”

It just comes down to the vision board I am making that you so expertly helped me decide to do. To create all that is fulfilling to me in picture with my wife. And then go after it relentlessly.

Thanks for this article and your website.

Judith Akatugba - July 22, 2010

i must commend you for the great job you are doing! the links you created and openness to vital resources is alarmingly helpful. keep up the great job

Knowing myself well has been a challenge as I have the ability to function in more than one field which makes me appear like a jack of all trade master of none even the psychometric test i took reveals it.

i have discovered my primary life purpose, but im in a fix right now because i seem not to have a starting point. i will earnestly await your response and will further keep this discussion with you to see how i can successfully get on the right track if i am not in it at the moment.

i will appreciate it if this is not published.

hanks for been there for folks like me.


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[…] may be uncomfortable to face one’s demons head-on, but it is vital to do so in order to clear up the channels […]

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