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Last Updated on October 25, 2018

How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide for a Better You)

How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide for a Better You)

Chances are, you’re busy hustling between the 40 hours a week you need to work, the family you need to provide for, and the bills that need to be paid.

As the years pass by, you’ve begun to feel the burnout from all the needs and expectations required of you. You don’t feel like you are in control over your own life. In fact, it feels like the circumstances in your life are controlling you.

What if there was a way for you to be able to have better control of your life and create all the positive changes you’ve been aching for?

This can be done through self-realization.

You’ve probably heard of this concept before, but you’re not really sure what it really is or how it can help you.

I’m going to dive into what exactly self-realization is and the exact steps you can take to attain it for yourself. Read on if you want to learn how to unlock your potential and find a way to decrease your stress and anxiety, and gain crystal clear clarity about who you are and what you’re capable of.

What self-realization really is

Self-realization has a few big definitions.

In the Western world, it’s generally defined as the activation of one’s full potential of talents and abilities.

How psychologists see self-realization

Humanistic psychology also follows a similar train of thought about self-realization.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow has named people he considered to have reached self-realization such as Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to name a few. His famous hierarchy of needs theory states in order to achieve self-realization (or in this case, Maslow uses the term “self-actualization”),[1] one needs to have a certain set of needs met before achieving it:[2]

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    For example, self-realization cannot be achieved if you are struggling financially and too caught up in worrying about how to pay for the rent and provide food for your family. Unfortunately, this is usually the case for many people, which leaves little opportunity for them to maximize their abilities.

    How religions see self-realization

    In religions, the concept of self-realization is taken from a different perspective altogether. Connecting with your truest self has a lot to do with transcending your own mind and body. This self is often considered as an eternal being that is not confined to the physical space that your mind and body take up. Many recognize this part of yourself as the soul.

    To put all of these definitions together, self-realization is ultimately learning the answer to the foundational question, “Who am I?”

    The answer lies from understanding that you are not your emotions or your thoughts. Who you really are is not even your body or your mind. These are all things you as a self experience, but they are not you.

    And when you are too caught up in these things that are not yours, that’s when you fall victim to and get stuck in your negative experiences such as stress, anxiety and fear.

    While your thoughts, feelings, and physical body always changes, you do not.

    I know this concept can be a bit confusing to understand, so here’s a great video that explores who you really are explained by Prince EA. It was a video made in response to a bizarre interview session with Comedian Jim Carrey at the red carpet interview at the 2017 New York Fashion Week.

    Here’s the video:

    Why self-realization matters to you

    How often are you distracted, lost in your thoughts, or overwhelmed by difficult emotions?

    Being in the present is more difficult than ever with the technology today. People are often buried in their smartphones or laptops while others around are craving their attention.

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    Most people spend so little time in the present. They’re usually either hurt and having trouble letting go of their past, or busy worrying about their futures:[3]

    “People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.”

    Here are some amazing benefits to self-realization:

    • The ability to monitor your emotions. Rather than being controlled by your emotions, you can now use your observations about them during the experience to learn how to effectively handle things like fear, anxiety and stress. Self-realizations helps you do this by giving you the skill of letting go of debilitating feelings and taking hold of the empowering ones instead.
    • Improved focus and concentration. Guided by your own inner goals and values, self-realization helps you easily identify when you are entering into distractions and eliminate them. By getting rid of the meaningless things in your life, you stay committed to what matters most and you begin to see real results as you reach your fullest potential.
    • Increased confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem. By being connected deeply to your truest self, self-realization frees you from any insecurities, worries, and low sense of self worth that you feel tangled up in by helping you really grasp the truth that you are not defined by them.
    • Becoming more accepting of yourself and of other people. You are able to be more authentic and express emotions freely and clearly. As a result, you are able to form deeper relationships and spend more time connecting with people rather than trying to impress them.

    When people don’t have a strong sense of their own self, they get easily swayed to live life the way other people tell them to live it.

    The truth of this has been shown through Bronnie Ware’s famous work, which has shown that one of the top regrets of people who are dying was:[4]

    “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

    There can be tons of pressure whether it’s from work, society, and even friends and family for you to be a certain way. Maybe your rough upbringing instilled a strong need for other’s approval in you so you do what others expect of you. Maybe you’ve stopped trusting people because of your struggles with letting go of the thoughts and experiences that hurt you.

    Whatever the situation, self-realization gives you the safe space you need to heal and grow.

    How to achieve self realization (the easier way)

    Start meditating regularly.

    Aside from all the scientific evidence that shows the health benefits of meditation, it is also a prime way to achieve self-realization.

    One of my favorite apps that guide you through meditation is Headspace.

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    I particularly love this app because it is very straightforward without all the woo-woo types of things you normally associate with meditation. It does a great job of demystifying what meditation really is and how it can benefit you to achieving self-realization.

    Here’s a great explanation of what meditation does for you:

    You can get the basic meditation guidance for free or pay for a premium version for access to more specific meditations that improve things like self esteem, creativity and relationships.

    In case you don’t want to download the app, here is the simple meditation practice you can do right now:

    1. Sit comfortably on a chair.
    2. Start by leaving your eyes open with a relaxed soft focus.
    3. Take about a minute to take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
    4. After a few deep breaths, gently close your eyes while you are breathing out.
    5. Resume normal breathing.
    6. Take a moment to pause and enjoy being present in the moment with having nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to check.
    7. Take a moment to feel the pressure of your body on the chair beneath you, the feet on the floor and the hands and the arms just resting on the legs.
    8. Gently bring the focus back to your breathing.
    9. As you sit there beginning to notice the breath and the body with its rising and falling sensation, don’t try and stop your thoughts. Simply allow them to just come and go.
    10. At this point, the only thing you need to do is when you’ve realized your mind has wandered, gently bring the focus back to your breath again.
    11. Gently bring the attention back to your body, back to that feeling of contact to your chair and the space around you and when ready, gently open your eyes again.

    Even if it’s only 5-10 minutes a day, learning to train your mind to be present is so important to your journey towards self-realization. You need to take a step back from the craziness of life and recompose yourself to be present for the things that matter most.

    Another great method that can be used to achieve self-realization that involves a bit more body strength is yoga. While there are many variations of yoga and has also become a very popular form of exercise in western culture, its original purpose served as a meditative practice to achieve the higher level of consciousness that comes from self-realization.

    You can access plenty of free Yoga channels on Youtube or join a gym to get started.

    How to make time for self-realization every day

    I know what you’re thinking.

    “I don’t have time for this!”

    I beg to differ.

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    About 40 percent of the things you do in a day don’t involve you actively making a decision. Instead, it is actually a habit.

    Out of all of your habits, there are probably a handful of bad ones. If you can observe your daily routines, there is a simple way to change a bad habit into a good one, which is to start making changes to your environment to make it easier for you to change your habits.

    The idea is rather than trying to squeeze in more time to do something, simply alter a daily habit you have into something else.

    For example, let’s say you start your morning by brewing your coffee and sitting down on the dining table for 20 minutes to browse the internet to catch up on the news.

    The news is usually full of negative information, so why not spend those 20 minutes in meditation instead?

    One easy way to make this change is to change your environment up by keeping your laptop and phone in a different room so you don’t have immediate access to it when you sit down on the dining table. You make it easier on yourself to spend time meditating rather than staring at a screen.

    Want some more great tips on breaking bad habits? You can try out Lifehack CEO’s secret Control Alternate Delete method, which was the method he used to break 3 bad habits in less than 2 months.

    Self-realization doesn’t happen overnight. It will take some time and practice, but if you turn the practices into a habit, you’ll be guaranteed to get there. Once you do, you’ll finally feel like you are in more control over your life and be able to get yourself to the next level.

    Now that you have a better understanding of the importance and benefits of self-realization, why not take a moment to put everything down and give it a try?

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Eugene K. Choi

    A life coach who helps people discover how to best utilize their passions and talents through a proven process.

    How to Be Happy Again: 13 Simple Ways to Shake off Sadness Now 17 Tactics to Drastically Improve Communication in Relationships How to Attain Self Realization (Step-By-Step Guide for a Better You) 15 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Brain Power and Your Mood 8 Signs of a Toxic Relationship and How to Save Yourself from It

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    Last Updated on April 17, 2019

    15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success

    15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success

    If you get stuck feeling unmotivated, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief to learn there are simple, yet high impact, changes that will steer you back on track.

    Here are 15 tips that will not only restore your motivation for success but raise it so you can pursue your personal definition of a successful and happier life.

    1. Practice Looking at the Glass Being Half Full When Life Is Challenging

    This is not as easy to do if you feel like you’re unsuccessfully playing dodgeball in most areas of your life. Practice short bursts of radical acceptance[1] paired with looking for fine threads of your day you are grateful for that bring you happiness.

    It will feel strange at first but with time your brain’s neuro-circuitry gets fitting in focusing on what motivates and inspires you.

    Start practicing this exercise at times during the day when you feel okay, so then when rough times hit, your ability to rebound will be more automatic. However, you need to practice.

    Before you know it, your battles will become like a walk in the park!

    2. Review the Happiness Level of Your Everyday Social Network

    Jim Rohn’s famous saying:

    “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

    It is not gospel. But in examining whether or not your relationships support, encourage, inspire, educate and nurture you, you actually need to look beyond those five people.

    Social science professors James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis explain how we need to look at our third degree of separation to identify those who influence our happiness in our social relationships.[2]

    People are generally happier because their first-level friends are also central to a happy network of people. To increase your motivation and happiness, don’t just look at your friends. Look at your friends’ friends!

    3. Clean up Your Relationships — Work and Personal

    Do you ever ask yourself what aspects of your relationships are healthy for you and bring you happiness? Do you also consider what you contribute to those and whether doing also brings you happiness?

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    It’s time to not only reflect on what you gain from relationships but what contributions you can make to help them further flourish.

    Caution! Over-helping is not the answer here. Sometimes you need to cull the time you spend with certain people. However, it’s about being more accountable and choosing to improve how you want to show up for people in your life, work-wise and personally.

    Set yourself some personal goals and get to the task. Cleaning up and stepping up will continually motivate you. You’ll heighten that positive vibration of your everyday existence.

    4. Develop a Personal Development Plan for Your Own Definition of Success and Happiness

    Goal-setting isn’t just for helping us attain better cars, houses or greater income. When you change goal focus to become the person required to obtain those things, your goals expand beyond tangible limits. Having a personal development plan is essential.

    Draw a circle and divide it up into pie segments (like having spokes on a wheel) that represent the following areas of your life:

    • Finances and money
    • Intimate relationships
    • Friends and social relationships
    • Health and wellbeing
    • Spirituality and religion
    • Hobbies, leisure and fun activities
    • Vocation, career and work

    The center point of your circle represents zero. Zero means you are least satisfied. The outer circumference of your circle is ten. Ten means you are the most satisfied and content.

    For each area, plot on the spoke your current rating of satisfaction. Then, review each area again and denote on the spoke what level of satisfaction you desire.

    See where the differences between your current and desired satisfaction levels are smallest. These may be the easiest areas to start brainstorming the changes you want to experience. Some areas won’t be as important to you to make changes. Others will be. Working with an impartial coach can greatly help to flesh out clarity.

    Regularly doing this exercise (e.g. every quarter) will reignite your motivation and keep you on the path to reach greater success and happiness.

    5. Invest in Personal Development

    Your personal development plan will give you strong clues as to what programs, books, podcasts, networking groups and social activities to tap into. But be wary of the bright, shiny object syndrome and well-meaning friends and family projecting their countless recommendations on to you!

    Be gracious and thankful for their advice and guidance (even though it can often be uninvited!), choose wisely and make your own decisions.

    Focus on the challenges you face now. Are you experiencing problems with your significant other? Are your children suffering from bullying at school and you’re unsure how to help them?

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    Perhaps you are experiencing a plateau in work satisfaction or your business is experiencing a slump. Whatever problems are present for you now, explore activities and education that will help you solve those.

    6. Invest in Experiences, Not Material Things

    Splashing your cash on physical possessions to reward yourself won’t just send you bankrupt. When you constantly rely on external things to motivate you, you’re in real danger of never being satisfied.

    Instead, ignite your motivation internally by investing in experiences which allow you to feel those feelings you believe you will have when you’re successful.

    If becoming a public speaker is a dream you have, invest in Toastmasters or a public speaking program. If whisking you and your partner away for a luxury weekend at a second’s notice fits your definition of success, save over time to do this.

    Don’t just set your sights on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Practice feeling success at each step in your journey.

    7. Create or Join a Mastermind Group

    Napoleon Hill created the concept in his book Think and Grow Rich first published in 1937, yet today, being an entrepreneur is still often a terribly lonely existence. Joining a mastermind group, your motivation is fueled by the collective genius of others also wanting to collaborate, solve problems, cross-promote, network and learn new things.

    Not only is keeping motivated easier in itself, your thinking also grows exponentially.

    Choose your group wisely and collectively, your contributions will escalate you all to refreshing new heights.

    8. Work with a Coach

    We have personal training coaches, health and wellbeing coaches and career coaches yet we rarely engage a coach to help us with two of the most significant factors influencing our success and happiness: money and our psychological well-being. Our approach is often remedial and it’s not until we’re in dire straits that we call in the emergency services.

    Money may not buy us happiness but financial freedom is having freedom of choice and freedom of choice means wider opportunities for greater happiness. Risks and growth always pose threat to our mental and emotional stability.

    By learning proactive skills that strengthen your resilience in your personal and working life, you can lift your motivation to tackle challenges with greater courage. You have a backup plan and safety nets to catch you when you fall.

    Whether it’s a money mindset coach, a performance coach, a business coach or a relationship coach…open up the conversation. Get to know yourself better, make plans to clear the hurdles and get ready to sprint!

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    9. Focus Your Conversations on Your Ideas and Goals

    When you increase emphasis and focus upon certain things, feelings and thoughts, you are telling your brain these things are important. The feelings and thoughts will become more easily amplified and neural pathways which access similar feelings and thoughts become activated.

    Given this, be strategic. Deliberately reframe the conversations you have to discuss ideas, plans and progress to take you toward where you want to go.

    Stimulate and train your brain to increase its stretch. Direct it to dwell on positive experiences and results you have had, and deliberately share in conversations these feelings and results are what you want more of.

    Not only are you training yourself to feel happier for greater parts of your day, you are communicating your true desires and wishes for a more successful and happier life to the wider community.

    Share with them more of what you desire to experience and achieve. You create a greater likelihood of receiving favorable surprises in answer to your requests.

    10. Have Goals to Become a Better Friend, Partner or Work Associate

    Examine your relationships by asking yourself what aspects are healthy for you and bring you happiness. Also, consider what you contribute to that relationship and whether doing so brings you happiness.

    Think about not just what you gain from the relationship but also what you can do to help make that relationship flourish more. Can you improve how you show up for people in your life, work-wise and personally? Set yourself some personal goals and get to the task.

    Do you need to organize a get together instead of waiting for your friend to organize the rendezvous yet again? You might put the garbage out without being asked by your partner from now on. Stepping up and stepping into healthier and happier relationships will only heighten the positive vibration of your everyday existence.

    11. Learn How to Lead Better by Encouraging Others to Become Better Leaders

    If you’re a leader, it can be really hard to resist the urge to take the steering wheel when you can see others are about to drive off a cliff. However, stepping out of the limelight to let others have their fifteen minutes of fame is the sign of a true leader.

    Supporting and coaching others to develop confidence and stay in the driver’s seat on their journey is truly soul-enriching. Stay beside them when they drive into the fog and be persistent with your encouragement to keep them focused and on track.

    You have greater purposefulness to others when you empower them to work through their own trials and tribulations and help them build greater resilience in the process. Your self-esteem and internal happiness will deepen on a richer level and stay with you for far, far longer.

    12. Embrace Negative Feedback and Criticism

    We don’t actually learn best when people agree and applaud us. We learn best when we make mistakes and experience the intense emotions connected with the failure or rejection.

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    Invite yourself to look for the lesson in every perceived misfortune. There is always a golden nugget for growth; we just have to increase our practice of looking for it.

    Lick your wounds only for so long and move quickly to look for the lesson. When you can do so, you can charge your internal motivation from within and still experience happiness even in the darkest of times.

    13. Exercise a Sense of Adventure Every Day

    When you set small goals to do things slightly differently each day, you can entirely re-shape the level of happiness you experience. Here’s a list to play with:

    • Try a different coffee brew to start your day
    • Dress in work attire even if you are working from home today
    • Walk a different route from your final subway stop to the office
    • Smile at a stranger as you make eye contact passing them in the street
    • Pay a compliment to one of your work colleagues when you notice they are feeling stressed
    • Go out walking during your break if you usually eat lunch at your desk or inside

    Spice up small changes in the brief moments of your daily living. Small shifts lift not only your motivation but shed light and happy vibes to those around you.

    14. Orchestrate Your Destiny Using Daily Imagery

    Take advantage of the fact your brain does not know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined when it comes to imagery. Instruct your day-dreaming activity to envisage what happiness and success look like, feel like, smell like, taste like and sound like.

    When you daily rehearse your mini movies of your success and happiness goals, your brain’s reticular activating system will begin filtering in information to help you reach these.

    Before too long, your plans, actions and decisions will increasingly honor these. Keep your eyes on the prize and you are more likely to reach success sooner than you might think.

    15. Become an Expert Researcher of Your Own Challenges

    Whilst we have all the resources within us, we don’t necessarily have all the answers. However, when knowing more, we feel (and are) in more control.

    Look further afield and gain from the knowledge, experience and insights of the qualified experts in those areas. However, be aware of ulterior agendas being pushed upon you.

    Sifting through the information relevant to you and following your gut instinct will only spark your motivation. The considered decisions you make in the moment will always be the right ones.

    More Articles to Boost Your Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Marsha Linehan: Radical Acceptance
    [2] James H Fowler, associate professor, Nicholas A Christakis, professor: Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study

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