As life moves on, do you find yourself staying the same or have things evolved in your outlook, your values, your connection with the world?
In his 20s, Gary was all about having a good time, discovering his limits, being part of the gang. But as he moved in to his 30s, he started to notice these things mattered less to him. He didn’t always need to be out to feel alive, and he started to question some of his choices and needs.
Some bigger questions about the meaning of his life and his purpose started to trouble him. He wasn’t sure about his job or what it stood for any more. He saw things happening around him in society and the environment that left him quite uncomfortable. He began to crave deeper and more meaningful experiences in his life.
Most people of whom I ask that question about being the same or different as they age, would say a bit of both.
At heart, you might say you’re the same person but some things may have evolved. For example, you might say you’re easier going, or clearer about what you want and need from life.
However, I sometimes hear a much more challenging position.
Losing touch with yourself
Someone will say they’ve lost touch with themselves, or never really known who they are.
If you’ve experienced parental narcissistic abuse or childhood emotional neglect, you may never have had that profound self-knowledge. Because you had to hide it so deeply to keep safe with your parent, to be what they wanted you to be, rather than being your true self.
That loss of sense of self can be profoundly disorientating and unsettling. As Gary was starting to realise, who he thought he was no longer felt safe or particularly welcoming.
When that happens, it’s as if you don’t have a compass anymore for your decisions or needs. How can you put down a marker or really know what you stand for when that idea of what’s at the core has been lost?
Psychosynthesis counselling really helps with the rediscovery of that inner compass. Amongst other things, it’s a psychology of the soul and can support you with those deepest questions about your meaning and direction in life.
You don’t need to be in counselling to explore who you are in this world.
10 questions to discover your true self
Here are some things you can do yourself (with thanks to Brian Graham for sharing these questions) if you want to do some deep soul searching. Ask yourself the following:
What do I most deeply long for?
Have I ever felt connected to something greater than myself?
How do I connect deeply with others?
When have I felt the most free?
If I had to name something that seems to speak or call to my deepest self, what would it be?
Who has deeply inspired me and what qualities do they embody?
What makes me feel most alive?
What art or music has most deeply touched me?
When have I felt a sense of awe?
In what ways do you nourish your soul?
These questions are all different routes into that sense of self which can’t be easily described or put in a box, but speaks of a longing and resonance that each person, if they listen deeply, yearns for.
Everyone’s response is different and unique. Often when they start exploring these questions, their thoughts turn to their creativity, and however that is expressed, or their connection with others in the world. Or maybe they’re drawn to nature and the animal world as their place of deepest connection.
The process of (re)connecting with this deeper sense of self, is profound, powerful and moving. When it’s happening, often I’ll hear people say that they feel more grounded, or centred, their energy comes back or they have a sense of the ‘rightness’ in their choices and actions.
So if you have a feeling of uneasiness about your life, which is about your relationship with yourself more than anything, starting with these questions of deep exploration can really help bring you back home to yourself.
If you’re looking to reconnect with yourself
I offer a safe space to explore and reconnect with your deeper longings, your sense of identity and who you are in this world. I provide counselling and psychotherapy in Totnes and online. Why not get in touch for a first appointment?