What is Soul Searching? A Guide to your Spiritual Journey

what is soul searching

Soul searching. You’ve heard it in all the movies, in creative writing, and sometimes even in job interviews. Many people have claimed to have taken a soul search or a wilderness sabbatical before undergoing a big life change, or subsequently after. But exactly what is soul searching? Is it a cheap, overused term for a vacation or needing time away?

Maybe it’s just something superficial like that. Yet across various philosophies and religions there comes a spiritual quest for peace or enlightenment. Peace is something appealing to us at our very core, as human beings. For many people, there is a sort of peace we can’t seem to attain, no matter how many hours we spend on a couch, or on vacation. If all of this resonates with you, then this is the article to get you started.

There is a way to reconcile both extremes. We don’t claim to fully understand the spirit, but there is such a thing as soul searching. We delve into soul searching and the steps you can and should take on that journey in this article. Whether it means searching for your soul or with your soul, and why to go on a soul searching journey. Read on!


  • What does soul searching mean?
  • The definition of soul searching
  • How to do soul searching
  • Finding your soul
  • And many more!

Soul Searching Meaning and Definition

Again, just what is soul searching? If we look at the words themselves, soul and searching seem to imply one of two things. Maybe you’re searching for a specific soul, perhaps your soulmate. The other, more widely understood definition of soul searching is that you are searching for answers by looking through your very soul. Which is true? 

The answer is a funny one.

Soul searching is not strictly definable, but if we look at the categories we laid down above, soul searching can fit either. If that’s confusing, let us elaborate. Trying to encapsulate something as broad and diverse as soul searching is dangerous and limiting to the human spirit. In truth, soul searching is unique to every individual. The best we can narrow down is that it is a spiritual journey to go after some truth or answer we yearn for.

Like we said, that can mean you’re searching for your soulmate or you’re looking for answers hidden inside of your own soul. Sometimes, we never realize it, but we’re already on these journeys. Have you ever suddenly realized what it is you’ve wanted to do with your life, out of the blue? Maybe you’ve fallen in love. These feelings are the result of our soul searching.

Why do we Soul Search? How? Illustrating The 10 Steps

As we’ve explained, we may already be on a soul search, or several. Some of these soul searches can happen in the span of an afternoon! Other times, they take years. Either way, to find peace and fulfillment in our lives, we go on these soul searches. That is because the very ends and answers to our soul searches are what gives us peace. 

Soul searching also leads us to: finding deeper meaning, a sense of self, passion, morality and a sense of belonging in the world. We soul search because, simply, we’ve lost our way. Oftentimes we actively soul search when we feel something is out of place or we’ve lost the path we were once following in life. In other situations still, life gives us pain, and we have nowhere to go but forward. Blindly moving forward, we end up soul searching for a new path.

Wow! That sounds like a handful, and the topic seems to be getting broader and broader. But again: take heart and don’t worry. Soul searching is unique to the soul searcher. If your experience doesn’t seem to fit with any of these, that’s fine too. 

No matter what your journey may be like, we’ve compiled ten steps to help you stay on track in your soul searching journey. These steps are universal, you can take them on any soul searching journey you may be undertaking. Aside from highlighting how to soul search properly, we also give general tips on how to take care of yourself while you soul search. A healthy body is a healthy mind, and these two make up a healthy spirit to journey with. Without further ado, the 10 steps to take while and before soul searching, below:

# 1 Check with Yourself

What is soul searching? Certainly not an external process. Soul searching is an internal journey that we take to figure ourselves or our truths out. Before you go on a regular journey, what do you do? You pack your things, making sure to bring the essentials.

ask yourself questions

In the same light, before we can start soul searching, we need to examine our own state of being. Ask yourself questions like: 

  • How am I feeling?
  • Why am I feeling this way?
  • Do I have any regrets?
  • Do I have things I am proud of?

The clearer your mind, the better equipped you are to go on your journey. If you can answer these questions, your soul search will be relatively straightforward and painless. At the very least, these might be areas in your life you want to start looking at more carefully. In your search, use this self check-up first as a roadmap. After that, move forward!

#2 Evaluate your Bonds

After recentering and finding time for yourself, next think about your family, your friends and romantic partners. Are you all still getting along? How do you feel about these relationships? What’s working out and what isn’t? Also think about whether or not you have any toxic behaviors towards them you want to work on and vice versa.

Evaluating how you feel about your bonds with others allows you to find out where you stand with them. Furthermore, it allows you to think about how that makes you feel. On your soul search, maybe you’ll discover that you need to start reconnecting with some of them. Patch things up. Or maybe you’d like to broaden your horizons and move on.

#3 Think About your Career

Here we sort of bridge away from purely emotional and spiritual pursuits. Yes, your career is an important part of your soul searching journey. While it may seem firmly rooted in the physical, and part of the humdrum of everyday life, there’s a larger dimension to it than that. Your career is more than a single profession or day job. When we say career, it means the totality of your journey through your working life.

Why is this important? Your work defines you as a person. As you grow in your career, you develop yourself into a productive person. Productivity and actualization are a spiritual wellspring of joy and positivity. Look no further than musicians who have found their voice, or writers that have found a spark of inspiration. When you do what you love, your spirit soars.

So when we ask ‘what is soul searching?’, we can certainly say that your career forms part of the journey. Think about your career. Are you happy with your path in life? Do you find yourself stuck in a rut? Maybe it’s high time to find another line of work.

#4 Take a Break

Soul searching is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. You could end up with a complete upheaval of your life. So, take some time off. Before a long journey or a harrowing trial we often get good food and lots of rest. 

When taking some time off, try to make it a place where it’s free of the noise of everyday life. That way, you can recenter yourself towards introspection and self-reflection. By spacing yourself away from life’s concerns and worries, you may actually already start to find the answers. Remember to relax, you’ve got a long way to go.

#5 Sweat it Out


Definitely not only a good tip for soul searching, exercising is a Universally suggested activity. As long as you pace yourself and know your limits, exercise is good for the heart. It burns sugar, keeps us fit and healthy. That aside, it’s also great for our mental health! Exercise reduces stress, boosts your mood and clears brain fog.

That last part is important for the purposes of soul searching. When we go soul searching, the last thing we want is losing ourselves in our own thoughts. Exercise promotes a sharp mind and even sharper thinking. Even if your soul search proves fruitless, I doubt exercising would be a waste of anyone’s time!

#6 The Power of Meditation

Just the same as with exercise, we suggest meditation to help clear and focus the mind. Meditation comes in two forms: mindfulness and focused meditation. The first, focused meditation, is particularly popular among Buddhist monks and those with anxiety. It involves focusing on a single sound, word concept or image.

Mindfulness meditation involves identifying and internalizing thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to accept the thoughts, only accept that you thought them, and that they are a part of you. It’s great if you have, for instance, self-doubts. Instead of accepting that you will never be great, you accept that you once thought of such a thing.

Aside from recentering yourself with mindfulness meditation, this aids in soul searching. Because through mindfulness we find what is true and what is only a perception of the truth. When we understand these, soul searching becomes much easier, as we can separate the answers we need from the lies that set us astray.

#7 Accept Adversity 

Soul searching is a difficult process. In going through the process, you’ll often need to examine your beliefs and purpose. Then, you’ll need to challenge that. Attempting to reinforce your truths, or shatter them completely takes a lot of strength. Which is why you’ll need to accept that.

Let us explain. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, kills many who would attempt the climb. If you are not mentally prepared to face death, or physically prepared for the arduous trek, you will definitely not survive. In the same light, before going on a soul search, you must prepare to find and face adversity. Otherwise, you may find nothing at all.

#8 Find Community

While it’s wise to distance yourself from others during a soul search, this often refers to family and friends. Meeting new people and finding spiritual support in others on a similar journey is a wonderful part of the soul searching process. You may find new things out about yourself when you surround yourself with completely different people. For instance, joining an art class, you may find your new calling is painting!

Find individuals you vibe with. Seek out those whose values both agree and challenge yours. You may feel alienated, or a sense of belonging in these communities. Both are valid and part of the process to find your inner truths.

#9 Leave the Past Behind

We cannot move forward if we choose to remain where we are. This may seem like a simple notion, but when we soul search we may find it doesn’t come naturally to us. Sometimes we’re too afraid to leave what is comfortable, what is safe, what is familiar. You will inevitably have to distance yourself from the people you know, even if only emotionally, and other earthly attachments.

new beginning

It’s impossible to grow when you’re restricted by your own comfort zone. Don’t worry, it’s okay to let go, or stop and try again when you’re ready. But you’ll eventually have to separate the past from the now. Soul searching requires looking forward, not back. 

Even if you find that you still belong to what you know, you won’t be returning to the past. Consider it a new beginning, and living in a new present away from the place you left behind. This is true even if nothing has changed, because you’ve changed after the process. A true sense of belongingness will often change the way you feel and act with the world around you.

#10 Therapy

Therapy is an instrument to ensure mental stability. It’s also there to help you get through difficult and stressful times. If you find that you’re developing negative thoughts and feelings while you soul search, it may help to talk to a counselor or therapist. You’ll find that there’s less negative stigma around seeing one than you’d think. Even if you don’t have a psychological need to see a therapist, they won’t shy away from talking to you.

A therapist can serve as an informal guide as you go through the process of soul searching. Sure, they won’t ask you the question of ‘What is soul searching?’ and might not have any spiritual advice to give. But a therapist may keep you calm and centered as you go through the journey the same way meditation would. In conversing with a therapist, who are great listeners, you might even come across the answers you’re looking for.

To Conclude…

To go over it one last time, just what is soul searching? A long and arduous process where you forge yourself like a blade in spiritual fires. You break down your current self and tackle your weaknesses, build upon your strengths. In the end, you come out a completely different person. If not that, then at least, a much stronger one with a sense of acceptance and belonging for who you already are.

It might be difficult, and even painful sometimes. But you don’t need to go through it alone. Find support. Don’t forget to follow the steps in this article, and the journey will be that much easier. Often, any change or growth in life is a delicate and strenuous process, but you’ll never regret trying something new. 

Remember that there are others just as lost as you. They may be on similar journeys, and knowing that should give you strength in your struggles. Despite everything, carry on and move forward. In doing so, you may even meet a new friend. Even if you don’t find all the answers, the goal was never to reach the destination, but to relish in the journeys of life.

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