See the real you: quiz yourself
Credit: stevendepolo
Picture this. Your classmate asks you whether you have done your homework. "Just shut up!" you retort. She is stunned because she did not expect you to reply so angrily. You are even more surprised than she is because you are not usually so rude to anyone.

When something like this happens, you have a great opportunity to do some soul searching. To soul search means to take an honest look at your thoughts and feelings. And, one way to do that is to ask yourself questions.

An imaginary example
In a way, it is like doing a quiz where you are the tester as well as the answerer. Try using multiple-choice questions where the choices are all the possibilities you can think of.

1. Why did I say "Just shut up" to my classmate?
 I do not like her.
 I was tired.
 I hate homework.

Let's say you pick "I do not like her". Then, you would ask the next question.

2. Why do I not like her?
 She speaks well.
 She is pretty.
 She gets higher marks than I do.

For the second question, you may realise that all the answers apply. In which case, your answers to the second question might point to one startling possibility: that you are jealous of this classmate. No way, you say. But then, what if it is true?

If you do not ask yourself such questions, you might never realise the real reason for your rudeness. Now, you can think hard about what you may want to do about your feelings of jealousy. Even if you do nothing about it, simply putting a label on your feelings helps you to get a better grip of what is going on.

Whenever, wherever
The example above is about a sudden blurting of rude words. You do not have to wait for something so dramatic to happen before you ask yourself what is going on in your head and your heart. When you are sad, anxious, angry, frightened or just about at any other time, ask why you feel the way you do.

At the other extreme, it is good to ask what is making you feel happy, peaceful, contented or excited as well.

People tend to pay more attention to times when things go wrong. To get a more balanced view of yourself, you need to examine the good times, too. Then, you would be able to figure out your personal formula for feeling wonderful.

The questions you ask do not have to be in the multiple-choice format that our example uses. Your questions can be open ended. For instance, you can ask questions such as "What made me do this?", "Why did I say that?", "How do I feel?" and so on. You may ask them right away or later. You may even want to keep a journal for your questions and answers.

Making time to ask questions
A student's life can get pretty hectic. At school, there are classes, co-curricular activities, community involvement projects, fun stuff with friends and all kinds of other activities going on. At home, time with your family and homework take up time as well. Kids sometimes feel they have no time to think. This is why you cannot leave it to chance - you have to set aside about 15 minutes a day for your soul searching.

Some people do it while on the bus or train home. Others prefer to do it just before they go to sleep. Try out a variety of times and then pick a slot that seems to work for you. Then, focus on what is happening: ask questions about the good times and the not-so-good times, the highs and the lows, of your day.

When asking yourself questions becomes a habit, it will become a natural part of you. Then, your answers will keep you in tune with your real self every day.