We are lost.
Actually, it worse than that.
We are lost inside our own homes.
What do I mean by that?
Well, our home, of course, is the planet earth. Our been lost is the fact that we do not seem to know who we are, nor do we feel at home.
How do I know we are lost? Well take one look at our culture and it becomes self-evident. One example is our obsession with trying to find ourselves.
It’s a strange journey, that of self-discovery. After all, a dog doesn’t ask “how can I find myself?” A lizard doesn’t wonder “why is my purpose on this earth?” A tree doesn’t wonder if the job they’re in is right for them.
Knowing yourself doesn’t mean that you have a perfectly curated 30-second elevator pitch when someone asks you what you do. Nor is it writing the perfectly balanced Instagram bio. It means there is little conflict between your actions, cognitions and instincts. Knowing yourself is not simply a matter of what you say, it’s a matter of how you move through the world.
However, we are nevertheless modern human beings.
We look at the world through a cognitive filter. So the process of finding ourselves usually starts with a lot of thinking and reflection. Fortunately, if we’re lucky, it usually ends with a lot less of it. When you know who you are, why would you need to spend any time thinking about it?
Whatever the case, this is where many of us are at.
What I’ve composed here are a series of quotes about finding yourself from a wide variety of writers, philosophers, scientists and spiritual teachers.
So without further ado, here are 61 self-discovery quotes to help you find yourself!
Quotes about Finding Yourself!
Finding yourself after a break-up
When people spend months, years and even decades in close proximity, they can become so attached that they develop an identity as a couple as well as individuals. In some cases, the identity as one half of the couple can become so strong, that in the case of a break-up, they feel entirely lost. Everyone has probably been told at some point or another that they’re not ready for a relationship unless they’re already comfortable with themselves. This is good advice because when you’re not grounded in your values and priorities, it’s easy to lose yourself in someone else.
A break up is a good time to reassess these values and priorities, to rethink who you are and what you want to be doing with your life going forward. It’s often hard to see what is often an emotionally difficult experience as an opportunity, however, with the right attitude it can be just that. Though it may require patience, openness and time, many people emerge from breakups and later go on to say that they were the defining moments of their lives, moulding them into the people they are.
“I wasn’t searching for something or someone….I was searching for me.” – Carrie Bradshaw
“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.” – Colleen Hoover
“Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over.” – Guy Finley
“There was a difference between being stuck and choosing to stay. Between being found and finding yourself.” – Martina Boone
“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself as its most brilliant.” – Paulo Coelho
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
“One of the best times for figuring out who you are and what you really want out of life? Right after a break-up.” – Mandy Hale
“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe
“Don’t worry about finding your soul mate. Find yourself.” – Jason Evert
Find yourself in nature
For thousands of years, people have wondered what it is that is so spectacular about nature. Why does it seem that we so often find something out about ourselves when we spend some time in a forest or at a beach or in the hills? The answer is surprisingly simple, it’s because you ARE nature. Our idea that human beings are separate from nature is just a thought that we have – and even that thought is part of nature too! When we pass the time in nature we are returning to an earlier part of ourselves, it’s like seeing a long lost relative.
“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beach of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” – Joseph Campbell
“By discovering nature, you discover yourself.” – Maxime Lagace
“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb
“Going to the mountain is going home.” – John Muir
“Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.” – Lao Tzu
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” – Henry David Thoreau
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein
Finding yourself through meaning and happiness
Happiness and meaning are two of the most often desired aspects of the human condition. The road to finding these existential gifts is not usually very straightforward. This is particularly the case if we don’t know who we are, what we consider important, and what we want out of life. The good news is, everyone has derived some sense of happiness or meaning from their life, however small or fleeting it may have been. These moments of fulfilment are clues that help us paint an accurate picture of ourselves. If, for example, we accumulate material wealth and then realise that we feel unfulfilled, then it’s probably a sign that we are not driven by money or status. On the other hand, maybe we do some volunteer work and we realise that for the next few days there is a vitality that we haven’t seen in awhile, that’s also a sign. It could be a sign that you have a deeper calling to serve others.
“Money isn’t the solution to your problems. It only lets you carry your unhappiness around in style.” – Shannon L. Alder
“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.” – Rick Riordan
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” – Albert Einstein
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton
“If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.” – James A. Michener
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
“Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” – Kristin Hannah
Finding yourself through self-discovery
We tend to have a few misconceptions in our culture when it comes to the idea of self-discovery. Firstly, it’s often considered a process that is achieved by accumulation. We accumulate experiences by travelling around the world, ideas by studying a ton of books and wealth by working for what we believe we want. Self-discovery, however, is actually a process of peeling back the layers of our experience. It is something that is deconstructive. This is a journey that happens moment-to-moment, often over the period of a lifetime, by looking directly at how we act and react to the world. Why do I want to go to Peru? Why do I want to study existentialism? Why do I want to build my own business? Diving deep into our motives with these types of questions prevents us from going down roads we need not travel. Self-discovery, however, will only be true if it is done in the spirit of complete honesty, until then, our actions and answers will be tainted by the conditioning of the world around us.
“If you truly want to find yourself don’t seek new answers, seek new questions.” – Ben Fishel, Project Monkey Mind
“The greatest discovery in life is self-discovery. Until you find yourself you will always be someone else. Become yourself.” – Myles Munroe
“The journey toward self-discovery is life’s greatest adventure.” – Arianna Huffington
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison
“To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates
“We shall not cease from exploration, And the end of all our exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Eliot
“Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” – Epictetus
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
“Do not wait for the green light. You are the green light.” – Dr Jacinta Mpalyenkana
“If you’re not comfortable enough with yourself or with your own truth when entering a relationship, then you’re not ready for that relationship.” – Steve Maraboli
Finding yourself by accepting yourself
It may seem like a paradox, finding yourself requires that you do some work, and accepting yourself will stop you from doing that work, right? Well, yes and no. What accepting yourself does is that it cuts away the fat from your personality. When you fully accept who you are, you act as you should act, without unnecessary influence from your own insecurities or those of the external world. Accept yourself and you will act from a place of honesty, and from that place, you will see who you really are and what you truly value. This self-acceptance doesn’t always come naturally and is actually difficult for some people. However, this effort requires courage and may be considered the necessary effort on what is actually a more direct path to finding yourself anyway.
“Accepting yourself fully is not an excuse to concede to your vices. It’s a concession to the unavoidable reality of what is, right now. It’s a reason to let go of the weight of unnecessary guilt and use the newly found energy to co-create a better you.” – Ben Fishel, Project Monkey Mind
“You are already that which you seek.” – Ramana Maharshi
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – May Sarton
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau
“I found power in accepting the truth of who I am. It may not be a truth that others can accept, but I cannot live any other way.” – Alison Goodman
“The longest journey is the journey inward.” – Dag Hannarskyjojd
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
“You have no need to travel anywhere. Journey within yourself, enter a mine of rubies and bathe in the splendour of your own light.” – Rumi
“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realising who you are at the deepest level.” – Eckhart Tolle
Finding yourself by improving yourself
Though self-acceptance is important, there is also room in our experience for growth and development. When we challenge ourselves we may actually find that our strengths and weaknesses aren’t what we once thought they were. The human body was designed by evolution to be pushed, occasionally to its limits. There is a deep fulfilment and an intimidate self-knowledge that comes with difficult experiences, both self-imposed and presented to us by the universe.
“The key to happiness is really progress and growth and constantly working on yourself and developing something.” – Lewis Howes
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” – T.D. Jakes
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something that one creates.” – Thomas Szasz
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley
“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” – Jean de La Fontaine
“You’ve got to find yourself first. Everything else will follow.” – Charles de Lint
“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Finding your inner truth
Everyone has their own unique experience of some type of inner truth. But at its core, all this wisdom comes from the same place. Sometimes this voice is so quiet we can barely hear it, at other times it is so clear that we can do nothing but to follow it. When we are able to be led by our inner truth, we may feel more authentic and even joyful. This isn’t always the case, following your truth may also it may also be painful. It is, however, as the late great psychoanalyst Carl Jung said “the privilege of a lifetime.”
“We all have a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” – Jane Austen
“Bliss and joy come in moments of living our highest truth – moments when what we do is consistent with our archetypal depths. It’s when we are most authentic and trusting, and feel that whatever we are doing, which can be quite ordinary, is nonetheless sacred.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen
“Your soul is the place within you that is timeless, ageless, and eternal: it is the ultimate core and essence of who you truly are.” – Mateo Sol
“We anxiously try to rebuild ourselves, instead of deconstructing ourselves and allowing life to build us back up.” – Ben Fishel, Project Monkey Mind
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu
“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” – Rumi
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – Carl Jung
What does it mean to find yourself to you? What kinds of experiences have allowed you to find yourself? Let us know in the comments!