Introspection and self-awareness can be quite difficult. We live in a digital age where people can put out different personas of who they think they are, or multiple versions of who they want to be for the world to see. Furthermore, with increasing globalization and international travel, people can also lose touch with their roots, their heritage, and their culture. Understanding who you truly are and where you come from helps shape your values and guide your moral compass. The issue with self-reflection is that you can easily confuse who you want to be with who you actually are. While getting to know yourself can be challenging, it is feasible.
Here are 4 unusual ways of getting to know yourself better.
To know who you are, you must know where you come from. Your family can have a very meaningful impact on your core values and helps determine what you hold dear. The way you are raised shapes your identity, but this isn't limited to immediate family. Your familial lineage impacts your personality and character just as much. Think about it, your parents, who help mold your personality, have their personalities shaped by their parents, and so on and so forth.
Multiracial people, people from immigrant families, and descendants of the first African migrants may all struggle to understand where they came from properly. However, with modern technology, you can easily trace your heritage. You can find a genealogist for hire who will conduct oral interviews, examine historical records, and conduct genetic analyses on your family to determine kinship and uncover your true roots. This can be an excellent way to study your familial past.
You can get very technical when trying to know yourself better, and with modern technological advances, you can affordably study your genetics. Many companies now offer DNA and genetic analysis for those curious about their body. Such studies have the participant provide the company with a sample of their DNA, and then receive a report detailing an extremely wide variety of topics.
The report can examine genetic ancestry, listing in percent, how much of your DNA comes from different regions in the world, and construct a timeline of it. It can examine over 30 different physical traits ranging from your susceptibility to motion sickness to your misophonia, which is your hatred for the sound of chewing. Some information gathered from such tests can help you determine how different foods will affect you in different ways and how different medicines will affect you; which will be more potent and which may not have the desired effect. Your genetic makeup can determine aspects of who you are that you thought you could never know.
We all have a stereotypical perception of what therapy is and what it offers. The famous trope of a patient lying on a couch talking about their childhood and mother while a doctor takes notes and asks them how they feel has been depicted through the media for decades. But, as with all stereotypes, that is not the case.
Therapists and psychologists can help you understand the root causes of why your character and personality are the way they are. Key moments in your life can shape you in ways that are impossible to fathom at the time. They can have you react impulsively to certain situations. You are likely subconsciously reacting to triggers created in your psyche as a child or teenager and are unaware of them. Trained professionals can probe to better understand these issues and explain them to you. They can provide you with the tools to manage any negative aspects and guide you to a better path. Many therapists today are affordable and covered by health insurance. Therapy is a sure-fire way of getting to know yourself better.
There are many ways to know yourself better; personality quizzes, introspective questions, and asking the opinions of close friends and family, which can reveal things you can't see yourself. But there are also definitive, scientific ways to find out a plethora of information as to who you truly are. Many of these methods have become relatively affordable, so go ahead and discover your true self!
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist