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Self-discovery: In search of the true self
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Self-discovery: In search of the true self

Antoniya Hasenöhrl
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Become who you are.

Friedrich Nietzsche

The journey to self-discovery is a fascinating and life-changing process in which people strive for a deeper understanding of themselves and their life goals. In a fast-paced and hectic world, where we are constantly confronted with external influences, we sometimes lose contact with ourselves. Self-discovery is an invitation to pause, reflect, and recognize who we really are and what makes us tick.

What does philosophy say about it?

In philosophy, there are various approaches and thinkers who emphasize the importance of self-discovery. The existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre argues that every human being has the freedom to define his or her own existence. He emphasizes the importance of self-discovery and individual responsibility for one’s own life. Sartre emphasizes that we shape our own identity through our choices and actions.

The Greek philosopher Socrates is known for his famous saying: “Know thyself”. For Socrates, self-knowledge was the key to wisdom and the good life. Socrates also encouraged people to master themselves as well as to question their own knowledge.

I think, therefore I am.


Behind this statement lies Descartes’ philosophical approach of radical doubt. He argued that everything we perceive, including our sensory perceptions, from the external world to our own bodies, could be misleading. Descartes believed that our senses can sometimes deceive us. So our self-image could also be distorted.

Buddhist philosophy emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and letting go of the ego. The goal is to realize the true self beyond the illusions of one’s ego. By observing and questioning one’s own thoughts, desires, and identifications, one can come to a deeper understanding of oneself and the nature of consciousness.

These examples illustrate that the search for the self in philosophy is seen as a journey of self-knowledge, of authenticity, and that questioning one’s self plays a major role. Each approach emphasizes different aspects and ways of finding oneself, but ultimately it is about recognizing one’s essence, accepting oneself, and living an authentic and meaningful life.

How does self-discovery work?

Reflection and questioning

The first step to self-discovery is to take time to think about yourself and ask questions. Ask yourself who you really are, what makes you tick, and what your true wants and needs are. Consider what experiences have shaped you and what beliefs may be limiting you. Reflecting on your past, your dreams, and your values allows you to find a starting point for your journey to self-discovery. By looking at your life from the side in retrospective, you can find out a lot about yourself, your motives and strategies for success.

Self-exploration and experimentation

To get to know yourself better, it is important to have new experiences and step out of your comfort zone. Try new activities, hobbies or professions that interest you. Discover your passions and interests by exploring different fields. This step requires openness and the courage to open up to new possibilities. Through experimentation, you can find out what truly fulfills and inspires you. You’ll learn a lot of new things about yourself through making, and if you’re open to feedback, you can explore your impact.

Inner work and personal growth

Self-discovery also involves inner work on oneself. This includes overcoming fears and obstacles that hinder personal growth. Take time for self-reflection, such as through meditation or keeping a journal. Explore your emotions to identify and transform negative thinking patterns. Personal growth requires patience, but it can lead to a deeper connection with yourself and positive change. Through this inner work you gain resilience and mental strength.

Self-acceptance and self-care

An important aspect of self-discovery is self-acceptance. Accept yourself with all your strengths and weaknesses. Learn to love yourself as you are and be patient with yourself throughout the process. Practice self-care by taking care of your physical and emotional health. Take time to do things that bring you joy and cultivate positive relationships with yourself. Be clear about your needs and don’t neglect them. Who in your environment is an energy giver and who is an energy sucker?

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Why should we find ourselves in the first place?

Clarity about one’s own values and goals

Through the process of self-discovery, you can gain clarity about what is really important to you and what goals you want to pursue in life. This helps you make decisions that are in line with your values and act accordingly. When you know what you want, you live according to your ideas and not according to the ideas of others. You are self-determined and take responsibility for yourself and your actions.

Authenticity and self-confidence

By knowing and accepting yourself better, you will appear more authentic and confident. You learn to express your opinions and needs and stand up for yourself. By doing so, you free yourself from wanting to please others and belong. It is a sounding out between attachment and autonomy. If you are one of those people who need harmony, you should definitely work on this and make sure to also separate yourself in order to be able to stand by yourself and meet your basic need for autonomy.

Fulfilling relationships

Self-discovery allows you to better engage with others and build authentic relationships. You develop a clearer idea of what you’re looking for in relationships and what relationships suit you. Through your inner work, you have taken care of yourself and can fully engage with your counterpart: being empathetic, wanting to understand, and showing genuine interest. This creates fulfilling relationships without fear of rejection.

Meaningfulness and fulfillment

By discovering and following your passions and talents, you can experience a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment in your life. You find your own path and create a way of life that fulfills you. A deep satisfaction sets in, which is the motor for your own motivation and frees you from procrastination. If your tasks and your talents match, then you are not working to live, but living to work.

The journey to yourself is individual and unique. Each person has his own history, his own experiences and lives in his own inner world. There is no set destination, it’s all about enjoying the journey and discovering yourself in all your facets. Moving forward step by step at your own pace.

It requires courage, patience, perseverance and the willingness to deal with ourselves. By setting out to find our true selves, we can identify our own needs and dreams and shape our lives according to our own ideas. Self-discovery is a journey worth taking. Dare to be yourself.

About the author

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Antoniya Hasenöhrl, Inhaberin von Selbstbild in Passau, systemischer Coach und Changemanager sowie ehem. Führungskraft (Marketingleitung)aus der Baubranche. Sie unterstützt Menschen und Unternehmen, sich nachhaltig weiterzuentwickeln und immer wieder in den Spiegel zu schauen. Antoniya Hasenöhrl ist von der Tatsache fasziniert, wie viel das Bild, das wir über uns selbst haben, unsere Zufriedenheit und Performance beeinflusst. Lieblingszitat: Love it, change it or leave it!

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