When you give yourself the permission to be who you are, that’s when your life begins to truly flourish.

There was a really great article I read by Marc & Angel recently about the 30 things you should stop doing to yourself in order to keep yourself from being and doing the things you really want to do.

It got me thinking about my past as a troubled teenager going into his early twenties as there were a few things on that list that I personally did time and time again and got me to understand why I was kept back from reaching my true potential for so long.

It got me inspired to write a similar post in the same format, which I believe underlines a key factor as to why a person ends up doing the things listed in that article and will go on to list 20 ways to discover your true self and to prevent you from self-sabotaging yourself from doing the things Marc & Angel lists – In short, this will serve as a complement to the article, which I really recommend you read.

Here is my list of things to think about to get you started:

  1. Stop doing what other people are doing. – One of the worst things we can ever do as individuals are to follow the herd and to do what other people are doing, simply because it’s considered ‘popular’ or socially acceptable. The truth is, you can never really know who you are or what you stand for if you refuse to listen to your own intuition and gut instincts as to what you feel comfortable in doing. It wasn’t until most recently when I realized that what really matters is if I search for things that make me happy and to make my whole life about that. Perhaps it’s what people accept, perhaps it isn’t. But you will never really enjoy your life if you listen to what other people advise you to do.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take risks. – When I look back at the things that made me unsure about whether I will succeed or fail, it was usually during those periods that defined who I was as a person and strengthened my character in a massive way. If you ever feel scared when faced with uncertainty, it’s usually during those times that will build you as a person and make you realize what your true limitations are.
  3. Become comfortable with hardship – Life is hard. It goes without saying, yet so many of us work really hard in order to live an easier and less stressful life. While I don’t dispute the reasoning behind it, the fact is I have very rarely encountered anyone who has matured or grown into the person they are through an easy life. We need challenges to push ourselves and the more of it we have, the better we will be moving forward. Learn to embrace tough times and to realize that in the long term, it will all be worth it.
  4. Become your own judge of character – There will always be opportunities in your life to do things that might challenge your personal boundaries due to temptation and curiosity. It’s during these times that define your true character and whether or not you will give into temptation or go against it. Your personal character assessment is defined by what you convince yourself to do and what you ought to do based on your personal boundaries. Learn to develop strength in saying ‘No’ to temptation as it will make a dramatic effect on your overall dealings with life and other people.
  5. Learn to say ‘No’ more often. – It’s very easy to not want to cause tension with others or to not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. If you want to develop authenticity and congruency, its important to speak your mind at all times. It will be tough in the beginning but it will show and develop a side to you that you never knew existed.
  6. Try things you don’t see yourself doing. – One of the ways I learned about myself was by accidentally doing things I didn’t want to do, only to realize that I actually enjoyed doing it further down the line. It’s never a good idea to put yourself in a box or to limit yourself and will greatly stifle your growth as a person if you choose to live that way. Instead, develop a fascination to try new things and to see what life has to offer. It will open up opportunities and glimpses into new ways of looking at things.
  7. Stay in touch with your emotions. – We are often ridiculed by society and the people around us if we’re seen as too emotional. The truth is, it’s the only way to feel completely connected with your true nature as it’s very healthy to experience a range of our emotions at all times. Learn to be sad as well as happy, or angry as well as remorseful. Never feel it’s a reflection of your weakness but merely a reflection of your true character as a person.
  8. Express yourself in as many ways as possible – There’s simply no reason to avoid being true to your own thoughts and feelings. Regardless of what your friends or family would feel, it will only make you feel better knowing that what you expressed was congruent. I can’t remember how many times I avoided saying what I really wanted to say only to feel worse for not saying it at a later date.
  9. Live and do things alone – This is an area that I’ve lately tried to do more and more as I approached the end of my twenties. Having traveled to a few places in Europe, I realized just how resourceful I became while I had nothing to familiarise myself with due to being in a foreign country. It’s the best way to learn about yourself as it puts you in survival mode. A trait that is ingrained in all of us.
  10. Become a nomad. – One of the worst things you can ever do is to tie yourself down. We are taught by society to buy a house, get married, and raise kids when we really have a choice whether to stay in one spot and follow a conventional script or to live in other ways. Some of the wealthiest people I’ve ever met were all the ones that were never in one spot for any given period of time. They traveled from place to place and developed an abundant source of knowledge by simply going out and experiencing the world firsthand.
  11. Live a minimalist lifestyle – Through living modestly for the last 5 years, I learned to appreciate not having anything in my life which in turn got me to understand my own value. We’re easily seduced into believing that we’re a sum of what we own when the truth is, it is all down to us. We are a result of everything we do and have in our lives, and the best way to really embrace this is to learn to appreciate life with little resources.
  12. Do something that scares you every day. – The only way you can ever grow is to do something challenging every day. Whatever it is you do in your life, find ways to challenge yourself and to push your boundaries. The worst thing you can ever do is to feel comfortable.
  13. Stay in touch with your sexuality. –  As taboo as society likes to make it, we are by nature sexual creatures. We’re designed to connect and create new offspring, which stands to reason that being sexual without shame is the healthiest thing you can ever do. Don’t be afraid to express this side of yourself because it’s what we’re designed to do.
  14. Learn the art of ‘giving’ – You can never experience true abundance without being willing to give something back. It can be anything from kindness, appreciation, care, or even knowledge. The feeling of happiness you receive in return can never be valued with money and yet can be obtained freely. Learn to give more of yourself to society and the world and you’ll begin seeing a level of abundance that you’ll have never seen before.
  15. Become versatile. – It’s quite common for people to give other people labels like ‘Dave the Doctor’ or ‘Julie the Hair Stylist’ and can’t imagine seeing them do other things. Learn to become flexible with your skills by doing a range of things that are unrelated to one another. Suddenly you’ll no longer fit a particular mold or a label but will merely be a sum of ‘who you really are.
  16. Develop a fascination with learning. – There is really no such thing as knowing everything there is to know about the world. Our time on this planet is very limited and can be best spent reading books and learning as much as you can about a range of things. Become curious about the world we live in and seek out to learn and see things from different perspectives.
  17. Learn other cultures and languages. – One of the best ways to learn is to actually go travel and to see the world for yourself. The thing I learned was that while every culture was different, it was also pretty much the same. our fundamental nature and overall behavior as a species is hardly ever different and is the same with every country you visit.
  18. Learn a new foreign language. – My dad used to always tell me that learning a new language is like being a different person. It’s true in a way because every language has its own nuances and ways of expression that are unique and not seen in other languages. Your world will also shrink since you’ll be able to connect with people who are unable to speak your native language.
  19. Develop a close relationship with the family. – The older and more mature I’ve become, the more I’ve begun to value my family since I’ve realized that as many friends I make or as many things I experience, there is no one else who will ever provide you with complete safety and security as much as your family. It is unconditional and non-negotiable. You realize as you grow older that the friends who you thought would be with you forever begin to disappear as they move on to form their own lives. But the only people who will always be there for you are your family. Learn to embrace them and to spend as much time with them as possible as they will not be around forever.
  20. Love more often. – Above all else, love as much as you can. It takes great strength to stay vulnerable and will open yourself to hurt from others. But there really is no other way to truly experience the power of love and is good for your soul and general health. Learn to give it unconditionally and to above all, feel good about it.

Onder Hassan
Onder Hassan

Onder is the founder of Dawn of Change. He spends most of his time in the discovery of his own potential, building his self-confidence and using his experiences to share and teach others how to do the same.