Anyone who knows me well knows I make semi-serious, and self-aware jokes about moving to some exotic place so that I can finally “find myself”. I am chronically poking fun at the entire concept, and for good reason. On that same note, I am certainly guilty of chasing this notion myself. Although the trips I have taken since graduating have definitely been life changing in many ways, what I “found” wasn’t some new and unfamiliar personality or life mantra. What I did acquire was a more accurate worldview and a broader comfort zone. Neither struck me as an epiphany of any sort, but they are both qualities that have contributed to my growth as a person and as an adult.
“Finding yourself” is an arbitrary concept. I’ve come to realize that “finding yourself” is a lot less about looking outside of ourselves for answers than it is about looking within. Instead of searching, it is more about increasing personal awareness: putting ourselves in the process of continual transformation where we internalize, process, and become conscious of all the things that we already know but may have yet to put together. We all know what kinds of things make us ecstatic and what instills fear. We know who we are, including the worst parts of our character. What I am doing to “find myself” nowadays is very different from searching for some singular definitive moment or experience in the unforeseeable future. Instead, I am focusing on further understanding my own needs and living as true as I possibly can. Life is perpetually changing and always uncertain. In my mind, the best way to live is with vulnerability and authenticity. It’s about accepting the uncertainty of life, and doing the best we can to make time for the things that make us the happiest. I make a point of consciously and regularly reflecting on my choices, goals and dreams. We draw closer to the understanding of ourselves when we make the priorities that are right for us. When we make decisions free from peer influence that best suit our vision. I’ve come to appreciate the importance of the things in my life that matter the most to me: being in the presence of friends and family, being able to participate in activities that ignite my passion, taking care of my body/health, and actively chasing dreams and goals that are bigger than myself.
Instead of “finding ourselves”, we need to realize that through observation and consideration, we are indeed capable of knowing ourselves on a deeper level. We know what makes us the happiest and the things that just don’t work for our personalities. In my mind, this is what “finding yourself” is all about. It is about shaping the lifestyle that is right for who you are. It truly is more simple than it seems. Certainly, nobody out there knows you better than yourself.