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Inner Musings: Discovering Your True Self

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Resident mental health counselor, Lauren Eimers-Wangrud, is back with us today—this time sharing exercises and musings on how to get in touch with your unique self—a very Aquarius Season topic. Images via Dreaming Soul.


“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
– Mary Oliver, b.1935

How much of yourself have you become? – Aquarius Season Insight

The past few years have seen a cultural phenomenon of scaling back and paring down one’s material possessions in search of true happiness. Call it minimalism or the Konmari method, this winnowing of possessions has struck a chord with many disillusioned and unhappy individuals. This Aquarius season I challenge you to do the same in the uncovering and discovering of your true self in shedding layers that do not serve your life and fail to reflect who you really are.

Aquarius season is a time for experimentation, progression, and open-mindedness – the perfect time to get better acquainted with your true self. This can be a scary journey to embark on, but in recognizing who we want to be and then pouring our energies wholeheartedly into fulfilling our unique destiny, we begin to get closer to our personal truth.

To start this journey, you’ll want to give yourself at least an hour of solid “you time,” free of your mobile device, computer, television, or distractions. You want to create a space where you can focus solely on yourself. If that means you need a hot cup of tea and your favorite music playing or heading out on a long walk with a small notebook and pen to jot down your thoughts, great! Just find the space and time to allow yourself to let your mind wander.

Next, you’ll want to tell yourself that you can worry about all of your stresses and pressing matters in your life in an hour. You’ll also want to let your inner critic know they can pipe down, at least for a bit, while you work out some important things. It sounds silly, but giving yourself the mental space and direction to process some thoughts is imperative in this exercise. If you find your inner critic or everyday stresses needling into this you-time, calmly tell them to take a seat and you’ll get to them in a few.

Now, time for the digging to begin. You’ll want to imagine a scene where you are completely at ease. It could be a place from your past, a place you’ve visited, or even a place that only exists in your imagination. What does it look like there? Are there buildings? Are you indoors or outside? Is it present day? Who is there with you, if anyone? What feelings or emotions are brought to the surface while you’re in this serene place? Continue looking for details about this place and write down things that resonate with you. Be sure to try and keep that inner critic out of the observation, since this is a judgement-free zone.

After you’ve really mined this scene for details, sit back and look at what observations really stuck with you. These elements that have boiled to the surface is your true self giving you clues as to how to make your way to self-actualization. They could be the emotions elicited from your scene, to people you met there, to the surroundings.

Everyone will have vastly different scenes and details. You could have found yourself in a lecture hall learning something new or in a kitchen whipping up a recipe with a dear family member or friend – the possibilities are truly endless. The key here is to look for themes and elements that really resonate with you.

Once you’ve teased out the themes of your exploration, think of how your life now is mirroring that. Is it on a similar or on a divergent path from your exploration? If you’ve envisioned yourself very differently from your present state, what small changes can you make to start to align with that vision of yourself?

For example, if you imagined yourself in a lecture hall, but aren’t a student, maybe you just need to feed your thirst for knowledge with more books and time to read them. If your life as a chef is restricted to watching cooking shows on Netflix, maybe buying a new cookbook and preparing a meal each week is a way to get closer to what makes you really tick. You may not need to enroll in classes or run a restaurant to find your true self, but these clues are imperative in helping you get there.

Shedding layers of yourself from your past can also help in getting closer to the true you. Don’t let yourself be tied down by perceptions of yourself that are outdated. Clinging to old definitions of yourself is a disservice to you and your growth. Make a promise to yourself to let your present self, and the self you want to become, dictate how you spend your precious time.

Just as Marie Kondo states objects in our life should “spark joy,” so should our pastimes, hobbies, friends, and work. While we may not be able to overhaul our jobs or friends in a weekend of self-exploration, I guarantee you’ll be able to change the way you spend your free time or try a new hobby that excites you in the matter of a few weeks. Starting with small changes is what leads to bigger and more impactful shifts. Use this Aquarius season to dive in and rediscover yourself.

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