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“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ―Aristotle

Yeah, I mean it is a great quote and it can speak a thousand words but where do I begin right? Most of us will have similar questions; Who am I? What do I believe in? What is my purpose in life? What fills me with happiness? What am I doing here? These are questions that many of us ask when trying to figure out this thing called life. One can admit that getting the answers can be extremely difficult and tiring. But, here are five ways that can start you off on that journey of knowing oneself better.

1. If you had endless amounts of money, how would you live your life differently?

More money more happiness. Right or wrong? Many people think that money is the answer to all life’s problems. “if I win the lottery, I would….” How many times have you said that or heard someone say it? So, ask yourself this question If you did win the lottery how would you live your life differently? Now, this is not about money; the point of this is to think outside the limit we set for ourselves. Obviously, we might not be able to do the exact things but having a look into our desires can expand your thinking and help you plan towards a goal. 

2. If you knew you could never fail, who or what would you be?

How many times have you wanted to change your career or quit your job, move to a new country, study a new subject, and stop because you are afraid to fail? The risk of failing is what stops most people from taking the leap. Now what would happen if no matter what you did in life there was no chance of failure. What would you do?

3. What are your personal values?

Personal values are the things that you believe are important in your life. Characteristics and behaviours that motivate us and guide our life decisions. For example, if you value honesty, you believe in being honest wherever possible and want others to be honest with you. Spending time to think about what values are most important to you can better help determine your priorities and those who share similar values. Understanding yourself starts with understanding what you stand for.

4. What makes you happy?

This one is closely related to the previous point, your personal values. However, ask yourself this question once you’ve really found out what those values are. For example, if family is a value you hold close to your heart, will taking a job that requires a significant amount of traveling make you happy? Then explore this and consider your dreams, current dreams and childhood dreams of what you think happiness would be.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Probably the most annoying interview question you get, that makes you leave questioning your entire life. But think about it, how would you describe yourself in five years? Do you wish to be the same person you are today? Now try to explain the answer so that the person trying to understand it would get a sense of who you are! What you desire in life, what is important to you, your career path or accomplishments.

Stef Gafa’ is a counsellor with Willingness who has a particular interest in trauma, attachment, domestic violence and the LGBT community.