Finding yourself or Creating yourself
Often we hear of people who have set about to “find themselves”. On the surface, a worthy venture! Self improvement is a valued characteristic and one to which we all should aspire! However, is finding ourselves really what we should be doing? I realize that this is a phrase used to symbolize the quest to find meaning or purpose for oneself or to look more reflectively at who they are and how their live has been lived up to now.
If we are indeed “looking for ourselves”, where shall we look? To whom should we seek to find that answer? Where did we go? Are we lost? In a way, the answer can be yes, but words convey ideas and sometimes the use of those words imparts or conveys an agreement with a concept to which we may not fully espouse.
One of the best ways to discover who you are is to make a habit of getting quiet inside. The hustle and bustle of our lives means that we are mentally engaged from the time we open our eyes to the time we are trying to let the day go so we can sleep. We are pulled or drawn here and there, at times by our own self directed goals and other times by the demands of our work, family etc... However, taking time each day to simply quiet the mind will do wonders for you.
The quieting of the mind can be the various forms of meditation, prayer or reflection. The more one is able to detach from the constant stream of thoughts and learn to “mind the gap” in between the thoughts, one will begin to sense an overwhelming stillness and peace. In that peace one also finds a reservoir of energy as well!
As one gets quiet, you find yourself in touch with the you that is at your core. The You behind the self-concept, the You behind the constructed image of yourself we call the ego. The part of You that is more real. In this space, we begin to see, feel and know that this You is more real than the constant onslaught of thoughts and images we use to imagine ourselves, other and the world we live in.
In this space, we begin to see that much of who we thought we were, was actually something that we had been creating through the length of our lives. It entails the feelings we had when we were children, what our parents and siblings said about us and what we believed about what they said. Our creation of our self is informed by the thoughts we think about ourselves and the agreement with the perspective of others about who we are.
This then helps give us our answer. We have created who we are from the ever evolving dynamic of what we believe about ourselves and the world around us. It is not about FINDING ourselves, it is about CREATING ourselves! We are who we have created our selves to be. If that is true, then we can change who we are by changing our beliefs about ourselves and acting from that new set of beliefs.
Simply said…not always so simply done! In life, we have states and stages. States are temporary. They comprise our illuminations, our “ah ha!” moments in life. However, the idea that came to light, while indeed producing an effect, is but temporary. Stages on the other hand are more permanent. Stages happen when we have evolved (usually through a number of accumulated states) to a higher stage. The insights have turned into wisdom, not just knowledge. The mind and heart have changed, evolved into something other than it once was. This evolution does not have to be major- we can experience evolutionary state changes in an area of our life and not experience them in others- though typically, once a person has achieved a higher stage level in one major area, they will feel the effects in others.
Take time to quiet your mind and rest in your core. Learn to mediate, to journal, to spend time alone with yourself. I used to take time every week and go walk through one of my favorite parks. In my walk, I spoke with myself and God. Often I gained great insight into my thought processes and what impediments I may have to the realization I was after.
Ultimately, one finds that the journey inward is more rewarding than the external rewards. Peace of mind and peace of character are treasures to be gained and are invaluable in leading a well lived life. We often have been told what we should think, how we should behave, indeed, who we are. However, if we look inside to see how we became who we are- we may find areas that really are not authentic. Now we have the opportunity to create authentically who we are and want to be by exploring those dynamics.
As a young man in my late 20’s, I realized that my belief system had been so informed by what others thought and by what I read and what I was taught to be believe that I questioned the authenticity of my beliefs. I then spent several years and a number of journals deconstructing my beliefs. One by one, I examined them for validity and congruence with that which I did find to be true. The exercise was remarkable for me (though it did make my family wonder what was going on) and in the end, I had a much better idea of how I personally viewed life rather than how I was taught to view life and myself.
I encourage you to create your self. Live the most authenticate version of yourself that you can at this moment in time. Know that your vision of yourself may change- and that is perfectly fine. Evolution of the personality and soul is a good thing!
It is not about Finding Yourself, it is about Creating Yourself