What is soul searching? (11 tips)

soul searching

What is soul searching? 11 tips on how to get the most of your inner journey

In this blog post, we are going to talk about soul searching, what it is and how to start a soul searching journey.

Defining soul searching

Soul searching can be defined as a journey inward, a journey to your own self, which may have been oppressed for a very long time.

“Soul searching” is an expression that has become almost a cliché. And it is a pity, because of this many of us no longer know exactly what we have to in order to explore the depths of our soul and mind.

The truth is that a journey to your inner self is the first step in feeling good about yourself, having a wonderful life, and knowing what to do with what is happening to you. It’s amazing how little people know about these things.

However, a soul searching journey is essential and only by doing this, you will get to know your true self. 

What is soul searching? (11 tips)

How much do you know about yourself?

You spend most of your life with yourself, and yet you know yourself less than you think.

Soul searching is essential for each of us to discover our weaknesses, strengths, motivations, undiscovered talents, and lots of valuable information that can increase our success in all areas of life.

Soul searching is one of the most fascinating and fruitful journeys you will ever make in your life. It is a mysterious journey that will lead you to the discovery of your real self, that place where you feel at home, where you accept yourself exactly as you are, where you recognize both your weaknesses and strengths, where you openly manifest your talents, admit your imperfections and admire your greatness.

This true-self is hidden under the mask of the personality you have adopted and is the self with which you most want to identify, which knows itself and which is more precious than any treasure or award in this world.

It is the self that you will discover on your soul searching journey, as you will accept more and more of the hidden and rejected aspects of your being.

It will give you the self-confidence you need to be yourself, in whatever situation you are in, to say what you think and feel in different circumstances of life, and to always follow what is really important to you.

How do you start a soul searching journey?

We all have moments when we feel sad, bored or like we cannot see very clear the meaning and purpose of our life. If this happens from time to time – then you have nothing to worry about. 

But if it’s happening more than often, and it has a negative impact on your social and personal life, then it is good to start doing something about it. 

It is important because the negative states that repeat themselves and that last a long time tend to become permanent.

Tip #1 – Get yo know your strengths

Listen when you are praised and learn how to receive compliments. If you tend to disregard or reject the compliments that are addressed to you, stop doing it! While it is true that some people may try to manipulate you with compliments, many more may notice a special trait – maybe even something you overlooked.

Knowing your strengths is one of the fundamental elements of self-confidence and, at the same time, of self-knowledge. Listen to the compliments that are addressed to you since they can be clues about your strengths.

Tip #2 – Pay more attention to your emotions

What activity do you do that makes you feel so happy that you don’t realize hours have gone by? Moods are an indication of what satisfies your True Self. Positive states such as love, joy and contentment can also contain clues about what you really like.

Even negative emotions can help you in your soul searching journey. Sometimes emotions such as anger, sadness and fear can tell you what you should face, accept or change in your life. At other times, the same emotions can give you clues about people, places, or things you should avoid or minimize, for your own good and health.

What is soul searching? (11 tips)

Tip #3 – Notice what you’re thinking about

Yes, follow your line of thoughts. Of course, you can meditate to analyze what you are thinking about, but you can also just pay attention to the thoughts that come to your mind minute by minute. 

These thoughts can help you better understand yourself. For example, a friend convinces you to buy a certain item of clothing, but when you buy it it does not bring you joy but regret because you would have wanted to keep the money. In such a moment you realize that you value saving more than buying goods. Is this something new?

Tip #4 – Accept that you are going to make mistakes 

It is easier to learn to be yourself when you develop a growth system – the ability to look at difficulty as a challenge than as a stressor. When you know you don’t have to be perfect, you can accept your mistakes, you recognize that the wrong step can help you learn something useful, and you realize what you should do differently next time.

Even failure, while painful, can be an impetus in a new direction. Terry Gross, the famous host of the radio show “Fresh Air”, started as a high school teacher in a public school, in 1972. She was unable to control the students she taught and was fired after 6 weeks. Think of all those extraordinary interviews we would have missed if – unfortunately – she had stayed in school!

Tip #5 – Keep a journal or take time to reflect

Keep a diary of moments that could give you clues about your identity. 

I, for example, use the classic “Three Good Things”: At the end of the day, think about three good things you did or happened to you during the day. 

Studies show that this activity will increase your personal happiness and strengthen your “attitude of gratitude”. At the same time, it emphasizes those moments that give you satisfaction and self-confidence or those that can give you clues about the characteristics that define you. 

Tip #6 – Listen to what other people have to say, but act and live by your own rules

Assuming you are an adult with a complicated life, only you can know what is best for you in the long run. When you make decisions on your own – whatever they turn out to be, in the end – you pave the way for self-knowledge. Develop sound caution about what others say “you should do.” What do you really want?

What is soul searching? (11 tips)

Tip #7  – Take personality and temperament tests

Although they are best done under the supervision of a mental health specialist, you can find on the Internet different versions of well-founded tests of personality and temperament. Although I haven’t personally checked these free versions, you may find them useful … as long as you adjust them here and there:

Career Builder 

The Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator (MBTI) 

Holland Code Career Test 

PS: Some of the tests on the Internet lack scientific validity. Take care!

PPS: Remember, no test has ultimate authority over you. You have!

Tip #8 – Affirm your personality

Maybe you know yourself, but can you also be yourself? When you express your feelings, desires, needs and opinions in a direct, honest and appropriate way, it means that you affirm your personality, your identity. 

At the same time, you strengthen your self-image. Example: Your spouse criticizes something you did and yells at you. You answer, “Don’t talk to me like that. If I did something wrong, we can talk about it – but without yelling at each other.
In this situation, you know for sure one thing: It is important for you to be respected. You can defend yourself.

Tip #9 – Surround yourself with good people who accept you and encourage your growth.

Some friends and some relatives can help you become your best version, while others may not allow you to express yourself. Although you will probably learn something from everyone, you will find that the soul searching journey is easier for you when you have the freedom to follow your own ideas and wishes. 

Tip #10 Is there a real You?

Some people believe that there is no “True Self”. I don’t agree with them. When your life and outward manifestations are congruent with your inner characteristics, then you experience a distinct and strong sense of self-awareness, of the “True Self.” Life becomes more full of enthusiasm and vibration.

But it is true that we evolve over time, we change, and the True Self also evolves, expands and contracts several times. Self-knowledge and soul searching are dynamic processes, not a static one. Your true self is not a photograph, but rather a video.

Tip #11 – Talk to a therapist or counsellor

In search of your true self, you may be stopped by various barriers, either internal or external. A therapist or vocational counsellor can help you remove these barriers, discover new ways and develop new directions.

What is soul searching? (11 tips)

Overall, it must be said…

The journey to oneself will not be an easy one, on the contrary. It will be full of challenges, pain, the desire to give in and return to the comfort zone.

What you need to know, however, is that in each one of us there is this strong desire and the power to do soul searching, to discover who you are, what you really want and to embrace the unknown.

I hope you find my recommendations useful and inspiring. If you also have some techniques that you would like to share with us and other readers, please do so.

Happy soul searching!

FAQ about soul searching 

What does it mean to do soul searching?

To do soul searching it means to be present and try to connect to your emotions and thoughts and reflect on your life’s purpose, on who you are and who you actually want to be. 

Is Soul Searching good?

Soul searching is neither good or bad. It is an exercise that most of us do, especially when we feel lost, uncertain of our feelings or circumstances. 

How can I find my soul?

You can find your soul by literary disconnecting from the exterior world and reconnecting to your inned self. Schedule time alone, relax, do a meditation, reflect on your emotions and how your thoughts make you feel. Writing in a journal may help. 

How do I keep my soul happy?

To keep your soul happy you have to do more of what you like. Make a note of your favourite activities, of what sparks joy in you, of the people who you like spending time with the most – and do more of that. 

What is the food for the soul?

The food for the soul (soul food) are the things, activities, the people that make you feel the happiest. 

How do I detox my mind and soul?

To detox your mind and soul you have to learn to let go of the things that no longer serve you. You also have to take care of yourself, of what you are eating, drinking, how you are sleeping, and so on. 

Further reading

  1. Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton [With DVD] 
  2. Soul Searching: A Girl’s Guide to Finding Herself 
  3. In Search of the Soul: A Philosophical Essay
  4. Soul Searching: How Rituals Help Us Come Home to Our True Selves 
  5. Soul Searching for a Healthy Life
  6. Jung’s Red Book for Our Time: Searching for Soul Under Postmodern Conditions

References

A Modern Guide to Soul Searching – Huff Post

Soul Plan: Reconnect with Your True Life Purpose – Blue Marsden

What is soul searching? (11 tips)

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.