journey of self-discovery

Self-help: The only way to uncover the jewels within you

The road to self-discovery goes through self-help, but it is not an easy journey.

Life and problems go hand in hand. Wouldn’t you agree? No matter who you are or how much money you make, you will always have certain concerns, some problems to solve, or a few crises to deal with. Life is incomplete without challenges, and the only way around them is through them. While a lot of people are trying to find that elusive ‘way’, the self-help book genre has struck gold chasing this reality. With the slogan “promise a solution for every problem and the world will follow”, self-help books have become the therapist, counsellor, teacher, and friend, all rolled in one, who gives the best advice for all those who need it.

Such books seem to have all the right tips for how to get through the teens effectively, fall in love, have a happy marriage or handle a break-up, build a successful career and live life happily ever after. Yet, they are hardly ever permanent solutions, given that our lives are ever-evolving and passing through various phases. Depending on the phase you are in, only you have the power within to help you out of the situation or find the answers to the questions in your mind. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Big Magic, “we are all walking repositories of buried treasure” that can help us find our own happiness.

“Look within” is a phrase you must have heard before. The Buddha said it thousands of years ago, but it holds true even today. When you start looking inward for the answers—about life, career, family, or relationships—your journey of self-discovery begins. You learn things about yourself that no book can ever tell you. Why you are the way you are, why your relationships fail, what makes you happy and what doesn’t—everything starts unravelling, one after another. Your life becomes an open book for you.

The road to self-discovery goes through self-help, but it is not an easy journey. Many people tread this path, and some lose their way along that journey of life, thanks to distractions—your phone, social media, weekday blues, weekend getaways. With so much going on in the outside world, you forget about the inside world. You lose touch with yourself, with who you are and what makes you feel alive. To take care of yourself, you need to make changes in your life that may seem impossible in the beginning, but the long-term returns help you see life in a new light. Once these changes start turning into habits, each habit takes you one step closer to healing yourself, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Here are some changes that might help you make that start.

For instance, rather than saying “I can’t come for the movies”, say, “I don’t want to come for the movies”. It reflects confidence and assertiveness.

Find some free time for yourself

By free-time, it doesn’t mean you should give fewer hours to things that matter. Instead, it means you must stop spending time on things that don’t, such as your smartphone. If you just reduce your screen-time by 10 percent daily, in a week you will have hours of free time to invest in things that are important.

Distribute your free-time

Give time to everything that is important—family, friends, your partner, and, above all, yourself. When you spend time by yourself, sitting on a park bench, walking along a shore, doing things that you like, you begin to relax. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling. It means, you enjoy your own company, which is one of the best ways to self-help.

Stick to your plans

Sleep early. Wake-up early. It is the age-old mantra of taking care of your body and mind. However, what you do between sleeping and waking up, how you plan your day, is equally important. You can start your day by exercising, by reading a book, or listening to old classics—anything that hits a chord with you. In the evening, do something that brings you joy, like walking your pet, painting, art classes—anything that is not your profession. The idea is to make a plan to do things you like and stick to it.

Express gratitude   

Say thank you more often. Be grateful to everyone who helped you in your journey. Not just humans, but animals as well, who support you in their own selfless ways. You may not be satisfied with what you have today, but instead of being unhappy or frustrated, appreciate and be thankful for whatever you have at the moment. Celebrate your present, and prepare for your future.

Get out of your comfort zone

Ah! The good old comfort zone that keeps you warm, safe, and, sometimes, miles away from success. American football player Ray Lewis says, “Before anything great is really achieved, your comfort zone must be disturbed.” You will find proof of it in every athlete, businessman, or actor who found success outside their comfort zone. So, it’s actually about losing that winning streak from the comforts of your zone. Don’t just choose to be risk-averse and not take chances. Be ready to fail many times, knowing each failure will take you one step closer to success. Of course, it depends entirely on you. Life only changes once you start doing new things or test the untested waters, otherwise it stagnates.

Say the difficult no instead of an easy yes

Most people say “yes” to things they either don’t agree with or want to do under social pressure. Irrespective of whether you are shy, introverted or obsequious, saying yes can lead to undue emotional stress and an unwanted burden on your shoulders. Self-help means you are the priority for yourself and saying a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ is a matter of personal choice. Recalibrate your assertiveness to get comfortable saying no. One simple way to do so is to follow what Professor Patrick and Henrik Hagtvedt suggest in their study. Replace “I can’t” with “I don’t”. For instance, rather than saying “I can’t come for the movies”, say, “I don’t want to come for the movies”. It reflects confidence and assertiveness.




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