It can be difficult to take care of yourself and figure out who you are between family, children, work, errands, and everything else we do each day. When we look within, we help ourselves see who we are and what we want out of life. With the practice of introspection, we reap the benefits of learning our true, authentic selves and get ourselves closer to happiness.
Looking within ourselves gives us a chance to know our true selves and align our thoughts and actions with our beliefs. When everything is in tune, we keep ourselves on the right path for us. Practicing exercises including meditation, yoga, time in nature, and journaling can help.
How do you know that you really know your true self? What are your inner beliefs, thoughts, and goals, and are your actions aligned with them? How do you look within yourself?
What Is Looking Within?
Looking within is a way to get to know your true self. It gives you an opportunity to know what you think, what your beliefs are, and whether or not the things you do and say match who you are on the inside. It’s also about making sure that what you do day-to-day and long term are aligned with your morals and beliefs.
When everything is working together, what you do with who you are within, it propels you towards your goals in helping you find happiness. It’s intentionally turning your attention inward and reflecting on your thoughts, emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. Lookin within in an ongoing journey of self-discovery and understanding who you are, who you once were, and who you want to become.
What Does it Mean to Look Within?
When you look within, you look at your likes and dislikes, what makes you happy or sad, and who and what are most important to you, along with many other things. You look at what has happened to you throughout your life and the person you’ve become as a result of those experiences.
To look within yourself is to examine your beliefs, desires, needs, and wants to make sure what you do and how you work puts you and keeps you on the right path. When you look within and examine all of these things, you help ensure you keep doing those activities that make you happy and maintain your self-worth and self-esteem.
To look within yourself is to examine your beliefs, desires, needs, and wants to make sure what you do and how you work puts you and keeps you on the right path.
Benefits of Looking Within
There are so many benefits to looking within and getting to know yourself. When you look within, especially on a regular basis, you achieve the following:
- Finding out what works for you and what doesn’t
- Figure out what aligns with your morals and what doesn’t
- Determining how you really feel about things (i.e. work, family, friends, life, etc.)
- Identifying your physical and emotional pains
- Figuring out what fits in your life and what doesn’t
- A soul search to see where you’ve been and where you’re going
- Visualize what has changed and how it’s made you better or worse
As humans, we change so much over time. We go to school, learn new things, start new jobs, make new friends, lose loved ones, and after a while we decide whether to stay or go.
We are sometimes offered opportunities to move and change, which calls for a chance to look within and see what is right for you. Through this process we make those decisions and grow and change and learn. This is what makes us who we are and what we believe in.
How Do I Look Deeper in Myself?
There’s no wrong way to look inside yourself, as well as to look even deeper within yourself. As long as you start somewhere, you’re headed in the right direction. Let’s look at some ways you can try looking deeper in yourself:
- Start with thinking about your morals. What do you see as right and wrong? When you identify those things you see as right and wrong, you get better in touch with your moral compass. Then you can align your work, friends, and actions with your morals to stay true to yourself.
- Think about your values. What is most important to you? What and who do you value in your life? When you look deep within, you figure out what’s most important to you-your family members, your pets, your home, your hobbies, etc. In turn, those important people and things bring value to your life as well as help you figure out what you value in life.
- Consider who you identify as your true self. Are you being your authentic self? Who are you, deep down? When you look in the mirror, who or what do you see? Are you happy with what you see? Are you being true to yourself, of is it a façade? What is your authentic self? When you align your inner self with your outer self, you’ll be much happier!
- Am I where (or who) I want to be? If not, how do I change things? We all make goals in life-college degree, job, promotions, house with a yard, family and children, so on and so forth… Have you achieved your goals and have they propelled you to where you thought you’d like to be? If not, look deep within to re-evaluate yourself, your goals, your plans and start making some changes!
- Stop comparing yourself to others-it’s about you! There’s not enough font power to stress this-comparing yourself to others will NOT help you look deeper within yourself. Social media especially is a terrible way to set goals for yourself-what you see is (most likely fabricated or photoshopped) someone else’s happiness, someone else’s life.
Now that we’ve covered the thoughts and what’s behind looking deeper in yourself, let’s discuss some ways you can work on looking within.
There’s no wrong way to look inside yourself, as well as to look even deeper within yourself.
Practices and Exercises to Look Within
There are so many ways to look within yourself. It doesn’t have to be an active process, but it should be something you can see yourself doing on a regular basis and something you truly enjoy. Here are some ways you can look within yourself:
- Spending time outside
- Spending time with animals
- Spend time alone in silence
- Focus on self
- Look in the mirror and smile!
Doing these types of activities will help you connect with your mind and your body. Keep in mind – working these into your every-day routine doesn’t happen overnight. But try a couple of these activities for a week and see which work best for you.
Once it starts coming naturally, try incorporating another activity in addition to what you’re already doing. The more you practice these things, the better you can understand yourself and become a more compassionate and understanding person.
Here is an insightful video on how to journey inward:
How Introspection Can Help One Find Happiness Within
Once you start practicing these and other exercises to look within yourself, you gain a better understanding of who you are. There are five steps to introspection that will help:
- Self-awareness: Know who you are, what you are feeling, the current state of things.
- Self-reflection: Look at where you’ve been, how you’ve acted, and how events made you feel.
- Consider the “whys”: Why do I feel this way, why did I react in that manner, why did I say that, etc.
- Start using the answers to the “whys”: Look for solutions – make changes!
- Stop asking “what if”: What if I had taken that job? what if I hadn’t said that? what if I had stayed?
Not only will you get to know yourself better, but you’ll discover new things that help you grow, learn, and even find happiness. You may even find that over time, your self-esteem improves. When you look within, you find out what your dreams are, what’s missing, and what’s conflicting.
Sometimes those conflicts are that you’re practicing something you don’t believe in or agree with deep down. So chase those dreams, fill in what’s missing, and settle and remove conflicts. These things can all help you find your happiness within.
Examples of Looking Within – From Real People
I asked 5 family/friends what top 4 practices they would consider when trying to look within. Here is what I learned and what they shared:
|Example of Looking Within
|# of People
|Playing with my dogs
|Coffee in the morning
|Spend time with myself
|Arts and crafts
|Care for animals
- Looking Within – My Successful Experience with Reflection
- Affirmations – Guide to the Practice with a List of Ideas
- How To Forgive Yourself – Being Your Own Best Friend
- Self Validation – Learning the Most Powerful Source of You
- Positive Mental Attitude – My Guide to Life Changing Ideas
- Essentialism – What’s Truly Necessary for Identity
- Intuition – Understanding Gut Feel Without Reason
- Collect Meaning – Living a Life of Depth and Happiness
- Intuitive – Those Who Feel and Perceive Deeply Around Them
- Id, Ego, & Superego – For Understanding and Self-Reflection
Getting to know yourself by looking within can be done in several different ways. The most important thing we can do is try and see what helps us the most to get to know our true selves. If you take the time on a regular basis to practice at least one method to look deep within yourself, you improve your chances of finding peace and happiness.