If you are a spiritual person, then you must know a bit (or a lot) about soul searching. You only need an hour or two to connect with yourself and start your soul-searching journey. If you are in love with your everyday life, then, perhaps you are already thriving in your true nature. This also means that you are in complete soul alignment.
However, if you are experiencing negative emotions in your day-to-day life and don’t feel connected to yourself or people around you, then perhaps, it’s time for you to engage in soul searching. How would you do that? What is the purpose of the same? Will it be worth it? You shall know in this article.
Soul Searching Meaning
Soul Searching essentially refers to asking yourself what kind of life you want to live, and then finding the answers until you become a whole new person.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines soul searching as – “examination of one’s conscience especially with regard to motives and values. Soul searching might hold different meanings for everyone.”
For some, it is finding their authentic self while others might be getting their life in alignment, or bettering themselves. However, a subjective definition of soul searching is when a person goes deep within himself to find answers about their life purpose and analyze their life’s motivations, emotions, and values before taking the next step.
It usually starts from ‘Is this really the life I want to live?” and then, self-questioning continues and you dive into the deep waters without knowing and once you find the answers, you come out on the surface as a completely new person. Thus, soul searching is an idea or a decision to take a step back from your regular life and pay attention to yourself with an aim to live a truly fulfilling life.
Most people get engaged in soul searching after they experience a soul loss or go through a traumatic life event. Some people simply have a sort of an awakening that sets them on a spiritual journey that helps them learn about their life purpose and all things that help them choose the right path.
Soul searching is for everyone. However, most people are so caught up in living life the way they are told that they cannot see beyond what is and lose their chance on what can be.
What is The Purpose of Soul Searching?
“Most people engage in soul searching (or should) when life seems out of sync, or when they’re in a rut, experiencing negative feelings towards their careers or relationships,” says Kelley Kitely, LCSW, a Chicago social worker and best-selling author of MY self: An Autobiography of Survival.
In the same way, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founder, and spiritual director of Ligmincha Institute, “Recognizing depletion is the first step in soul retrieval—you need to know what is missing before you can retrieve it.”
If you feel unmotivated in your career and feel like your relationships aren’t flourishing the way you want them to, or any other area of life that’s leaving you discontent, then you should know that it’s time for you to do a little soul searching. In order to connect with yourself – the person you are, your job, your friends and relationships – you need to have a long and hard look at yourself and your life.
It is believed and proven that once you have decided your course of life, core values, passions, and the kind of relationship that you want, life gets a bit easier than before. And this indeed is the purpose of soul searching. So, how do you get into a soul searching and learn to live life in the best way? Well, let’s find out.
What is Soul Loss?
Many people often get into this intense desire to get into soul search when they suffer a soul loss or become a lost soul or experience negative emotions. Any shamanic practitioner can tell you that symptoms of soul loss are quickly growing like a pandemic in society. The reason is that people are now conditioned to live by their ego and ignore their souls completely.
To know that you are in the need for soul searching, you should first understand soul loss and its common symptoms.
As per Sol, experiencing soul loss is akin to losing a part of our soul – or living essence – ‘hides’ or shuts away, hindering us from expressing and experiencing our true potential and wholeness as human beings. Oftentimes entire aspects of our psyches are completely blocked out or repressed.
Below are some of the symptoms of soul loss-
- Childhood trauma
- Adult trauma
- Depression or post-traumatic stress and other mental illnesses
- Social conditioning
- Overuse of social media or technology
- Losing a family member or soul connection
- Materialism and the list goes on
Since most people spend time doing one or more of the above things, they lost parts of themselves that count as soul loss. This also means that most of us feel lost in our personal as well as work life. Most people do not mind spending time doing things that matter little to them. Instead, they should take some time off to know what you really want from life.
This is when soul searching comes into question. So, if you know that something needs to be changed in your life to make it better, then you are on the edge of soul searching.
How To Soul Search?
If you are looking for steps to get into a soul searching, then follow these 10 steps to nourish your soul and come out stronger, happier, and healthier on the other side.
1) Spend some time with yourself
By spending time alone, we mean that you must start by looking into yourself and accepting who you are before letting go of all that you aren’t. Even though it sounds easy, most of us aren’t aligned with ourselves and that makes staying alone quite a challenge. The thing is that for soul retrieval, spending time with yourself is absolutely essential. Since most of us haven’t healed from the inner conflicts and wounds, we avoid being all by ourselves and are scared to be alone.
Take yourself out, read a book, travel alone to a place, meditate and feel your heart beating inside you and soon you will get over the conflicts and learn to listen to your inner voice.
2) Give yourself a break
When you feel like a total burnout or question yourself and your life choices, then, the best thing is to take a break from both, personal and professional life of yours. Taking a break is not a luxury, as it seems in a world that’s driven by success; it is a necessity, especially if it’s been a long time since you have taken a break from life.
During this time, it is recommended to get into an old hobby. If you enjoyed something as a child but lost touch with it, now is the time to get back to it.
Some examples are writing, painting, cooking, knitting, gardening, etc. Perhaps, you can take up a sport or play an instrument to feed your soul and connect with yourself.
3) Take note of the people surrounding you
We all know that our environment is quite important for us to live a great life. Thus, a part of soul searching also requires you to take stock of the people you surround yourself with. So, once you learn to stay with yourself, it is one of the vital parts of your new and improved self to decide whom, amongst your current lot of people, do you want to keep in your life.
The best way to know who you want to keep in your life is to know how you feel around them. If they bring your energy down or manipulate you or it seems to you that you are using you, then the best thing is to simply cut your chord with them, both physically and spiritually. On the other hand, if you know that your bond is stronger and you both have a giving and accepting relationship with one another, then cherish them for life.
You should always remember that when it comes to relationships and friendships, the main ingredient is love. When you are giving and not receiving anything in return, not even them being grateful for having you, then the best thing is to move away from such people.
Until and unless, they appreciate having you around, keep them away from your existence.
4) Bring your career into perspective
One of the biggest reasons that people feel empty inside is because they are stuck in a career or job that they had or not fully love. People are usually not aligned with their job or life purpose. This results in frustration, anger, and decisions that often hurt them or people who love them.
Thus, it is important to connect with yourself to learn about your life purpose. Even recognizing that you aren’t happy where you are professionally is a key step. It will help you get deeper into the soul searching. Thus, you must focus on what you really want to do in life.
The best way to learn about your life’s purpose is to go back to your childhood. Connect with the memories of who you wanted to be or pretended to be as a child.
Once you remember who you wanted to be as a child, you will learn about life’s path. You might even find the strength to follow it. Because you will know, you are meant to do this and nothing else in life.
5) Let go of what doesn’t serve you
When you naturally outgrow relationships, or can’t forgive a person who hurt you really badly in the past, or simply can’t get along with a person who did you wrong, then perhaps it is for the best to let them go.
The simple understanding of the same is to know whether or not a certain person is adding value to your life. If they aren’t, let them go. And if they are being toxic to you, let them go. If they make you feel like an ordinary person, let them go immediately. This is another step to live a quality life. You will thank yourself in a few years.
6) When you do not know your next move, relax
Osho said, “Do not seek. Do not search. And do not knock. Do not demand. Relax. When you relax, it comes. If you relax, it’s there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.”
When you do not know the answer, you shouldn’t push or get hard on yourself. You should breathe, meditate, and find ways to keep your vibes up. Soon, you will find the way. You will soon know what to do. Relax. The answers will come.
7) Travel alone somewhere
One of the best ways to connect with yourself, or at least get closer to your soul is to set out for an adventure alone. Think of a place that you wanted to travel to for a long time, and then do not spend a second thinking about how you will leave your house and reach there, and just leave!
Traveling solo is quite addictive, especially when you are in love with yourself. When you travel with yourself, you create a new you, a better you. When you travel alone, a part of your soul often comes out alive. Try that sometime.
8) Connect with nature
Do not doubt the restorative powers of nature for it is the biggest and sadly, most underrated healer. Get off your social media for once and walk on the grass and you will instantly start feeling better about yourself. This is how the earth grounds yourself and helps you become overjoyed with who you are and how you see yourself and the world.
Who you are, is directly related to the sights, sounds, smell, and ways of nature. Once you establish a powerful connection with nature, you will connect with yourself as well. This is why the most brilliant minds suggest people to wake up, live, and sleep in the ways that nature has decided for us. Ancient knowledge is for everyone and those who follow nature are the ones who are truly happy in their lives.
9) Practice self-love
The best way to find your soul is to love yourself unapologetically and unabashedly. In a world where people have no idea how to love themselves, it is crucial for you to not only know yourself but also love yourself without questioning.
When you love yourself like you would love someone close to you, that’s when your life will begin to change and you will understand the powers that are hidden in the veil of your soul. Remember, self-love is the highest frequency and once you learn to love yourself unconditionally, you will know how to flow through life, without resistance.
10) Stop chasing, start being
One of the ways of soul searching isn’t to search, it is to just be. Do not run after anyone or anything, rather tell the universe that you are worthy of what you are asking and then, detach yourself from the outcome. Soon, you will see that what you wished for, manifested for you, effortlessly.
Remember, you should not be chasing anything or anyone in life. You should just be in the moment and enjoy where you are, without questioning the future or getting sad about the past. It is all decided for you before your birth and the less resistant you are, the more life that you want to happen, will happen.
Soul searching is different for everyone. Thus, one must search for their own ways to find their soul. However, the above methods have been suggested after a deep analysis and work in almost every case.
To learn more about this topic, check out this TED talk by Eugene Hennie:
How To Know That You Are Finally Becoming Your Soul?
When you show your intention to the universe about searching your soul, it shows you how to do that. Once you bring the process in motion, be ready to meet the version of yourself that would leave you surprised before it makes you content and happy. It is a process with no time limit. However, you might feel certain shifts inside your mind, heart, and is, once your soul starts showing up.
Below are some shifts that take place when you are getting through soul searching –
1. You become authentic
Now that you are getting to know who you truly are, you do not care who you have to be and you become who you really are. When you embrace your true self, there is nothing to hide from the world because you accept yourself for who you are.
The world, thus, has no other option to accept you and let us tell you when you become authentic, you act like a mirror and the world reflects back authenticity only. Thus, it starts the process of meeting genuine people, like you.
2. You are kinder than before
Since you find inner calm, you do not feel the need to impress anyone, not even yourself. You love yourself without conditions and that makes you kinder to yourself and others as well. This is an important trait to have for both professional and personal achievements.
3. You don’t follow the crowd
When you connect with your soul, you do not follow the crowd and create your own path. You do not judge others for their choices but you also do not judge yourself for being different, you rather enjoy your qualities and flaws. You embrace yourself completely.
4. Material things do not impress you
When you connect with yourself, you know what’s important in life. Material things become the least important to you. Instead, you start respecting people for their authenticity, the strength of character, kindness, self-love, and passions. We assure you; the feeling is amazing when you do not attach yourself to material things.
5. You flow through life
Your soul shows you your purpose and when you know things that normal people can’t, you start seeing beyond physical. This makes you stop resisting anything that comes your way and accepts it. This also helps you to easily align with life and simply flow with it.
Soul Searching for People Looking for A Relationship
If you are looking for your better half, you must ask yourself some questions before you do so. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you realize what you want from your prospective partner, instead of blindly running after someone.
Here are 7 soul searching questions you need to ask yourself before getting into a relationship:
1. Do I really want to be in a relationship right now?
Instead of simply going for something simply because that’s what everybody is doing, you need to stop and ask yourself if this is something you really want. Do you want to just hang out with someone on a day to day basis, or do you want a committed relationship?
It is okay to want either of them or nothing at all. If you want to be alone, that is fine too. It is very easy to meet someone in the 21st century, but you also need to make sure they are on the same page as you. and to do that, you need to know what page you are on.
2. What do I want from my partner?
You have to explore your previous relationships and ask yourself what you desired most. What made you feel safe and happy? Is it emotional support? Is it love? Is it just companionship? Whatever it may be, you need to figure it out before you start seeing someone. If you start a relationship without being sure of your expectations from it, it is bound to fail – today or tomorrow.
For instance, if you are looking for a relationship simply because you are bored, it is not fair to the other person. They may start seeing you in a different light and it can lead to pain. Be sure of your expectations and communicate them with your partner, so that there is no messiness afterward.
3. Am I emotionally available right now?
Sometimes we think we want love and companionship, but we are not ready for it. We may think we are, but there are unresolved issues. You have to ask yourself – do I deserve to be loved? Do I love myself? Am I happy with myself?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you have to fix that before you get emotionally involved with someone. Because you will hurt them if you don’t. Healthy self-love is imperative, before you can proceed to healthy love in a relationship with another human being.
4. What are the qualities my partner must have?
Ask yourself – what is most important for you, in a person? Is it honest? Sense of humor? Kindness? Good communication. Think about the actual personality of a person, and don’t fall for superficial things like looks and money. Once you have decided what is most important for you, look for those qualities in any potential people you meet.
5. Do I have the time and space for a relationship right now?
Are you still pining over your ex? Is your past relationship still bothering you? Are you too busy at work? Does your daily life even have time for another person? You need to decide that you have the space as well time for a person, before you allow someone in your life. Don’t feel pressured to do something if you don’t want to.
6. How can a relationship or person improve my life?
Again, don’t get into a relationship just because your friends or family are pressurizing you. Get into a relationship only when you think it can enhance the quality of your life. if you think that it will make you any less happy, don’t do it.
Societal expectations have indoctrinated us into thinking we need someone, but if you are perfectly capable of living your life alone, go ahead and take that decision.
7. Why am I seeing this person?
The most important question you can ask yourself when you meet a new person, is why are you with them. You have to be ruthlessly honest and ask yourself if there is a real connection, or if you are just bored or lonely or feel pressure or your job sucks or a million other reasons.
Because it is easy to get comfortable with someone and stay for all the wrong reasons. But it is extremely hard to be with someone for the right reasons, and that’s why you need to soul search before doing so.
Soul Searching Quotes
Here are 10 soul searching quotes that will help you look within and make changes wherever you need to:
1. “Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure for the fulfillment, for validation, security, or love – you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”– Eckhart Tolle
2. “Give yourself the gift of time in coming to answers for your life…It takes time, and a lot of introspection and soul-searching, to get clear about what you really want to manifest in your life.”– David Emerald Womeldorff
3. “Then, once I have lyrics, being able to shape them around a song is nothing new for me, I’ve been doing that for 25 years. The soul searching part of it, the spontaneous part of it, that was, and remains, a really terrific process.”– Geddy Lee
4. “I don’t know one of my friends who is considered a conservative who has not had to go back and thoroughly think through everything. You do a lot of soul-searching – because we are not going to win any popularity contests.”– Clarence Thomas
5. “Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy and gratitude into our lives.”– Brené Brown
6. “Reach deep within, and reconnect with the essence of your being.”– Bryant McGill
7. “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”– Anne Sexton
8. “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”– Henry David Thoreau
9. You were born with everything you need to answer the call of your soul.”– Marie Forleo
10. “The troubles of this world pass, and what we have left is what we have made of our souls.”– Shoghi Effendi
We all have different journeys in life and we all do our soul work at different points of time. This also means that our soul-searching methods might be different. However, our souls are connected to each other and until we shed our old selves and find our real selves, our souls won’t give up on us.
So, if you feel like you aren’t living as authentically as you should, then perhaps, this article is a sign that you should start doing the work to relax your ego and awaken your soul.
Namrata is a Doctor i.e. dentist turned writer and a clinical researcher. Eager to learn about anything and everything, she is what you would call a jack of all trades and master of none. With a zeal for reading novels, books, and anything she could get her hands on ever since she was little, she embarked into a writing career purely out of luck. After indulging in a freelancing career for nearly two years, she can now write on anything - from dentistry to decor, travel to technology, medicine to management - but the psychology remains her first love. Having dealt with mental health issues in the past, she hopes to raise awareness for the same and help people with her work in association with The MindFool team