Happy Productive Monday everyone!
While I was surfing on social media, I was struck with an article – How to find yourself? I smiled – mostly because, there were times when I asked myself that question and it really bothered me – like I couldn’t even concentrate on anything else, I continued thinking about it and tried to solve it, as if it was the biggest puzzle in the world. But to no avail.
It took me a while to understand one thing – you don’t find yourself. You are right there. Whatever you are looking for is either already inside you or you have to create it. Because, if you think about it – what is life about? How did the Universe start, how did the Earth have its beginning? – Everything started with a creation.
How to know what exactly to create, though? Where to start? I am pretty sure those are the next questions in your head.
Have you ever watched a mystery movie? You don’t have to. I’ll give you the newsflash directly – it doesn’t tell you what’s gonna happen. It keeps you on edge pretty much most of the time. And then something amazing or something terrible happens. The problem with life, though, as you very, very, very well know by now, is that there is no scary music to prepare you when something terrible or scary or dangerous or challenging is about to happen. But, think about it – wouldn’t it be boring, to know upfront what’s gonna happen? It’s nice sometimes, I’ll give you that, but that’s not part of our reality and it should be accepted as such.
Back to our question –HOW to know what you want? HOW to know which path of the crossroad to choose?
First, let me tell you something I have realized myself as well. It took me time, but hey, at least I’m here, aren’t I?
You create yourself, your story, every single day of your life. Oh, you think that’s bullshit? You make choices everyday – you choose to stay up late or wake up early, you choose to sleep in or exercise, you choose to waste your time with people, who times and times have shown you, that they are not worthy of it, and yet – you stay. Why do you make these choices? It took me some time to get it myself, and then to put life learned lessons into practice. It was hard, but it was the best thing for my life. So, why do we stay, even when things are really bad, why do we not make changes? – Because of familiarity. People are always, ALWAYS scared or intimidated of the unfamiliar. Nothing unnatural here – this is human nature.
So, still stuck and still thinking about the question – how to create something else, how to disrupt that feeling of having a part of yourself taken away by the world, having a part of yourself lost? How to find that one thing, that would help you feel complete, filled with energy, that would make you jump off of your bed every single morning?
First and foremost – accept that you feel like there is something missing. Accept how you feel. Accept where you are in life. Stay in silence, all alone for 30 minutes and accept your situation. No one can do this for you – only you can. It means you take responsibility for your life, it means you are ready for the next step. If you can’t stay at least 30 minutes by yourself, no phone, no people, no TV, no radio, no computer, no distractions – then please, ask help from a professional – there is no shame in that. Because in order to “find yourself”, first you have to accept yourself with all your faults, with all your talents and shortcomings, just as you are. How would you “find yourself”, if you first don’t acknowledge and accept what you already have? You can do that only without distractions.
The moment you accept where you are in life and the moment you accept the emotions you feel about it; is the moment you understand that you CAN make a change. You CAN create whatever you want. And no – it doesn’t happen over night.
Feeling everyday like you fail in life, like you’ve done nothing or you will achieve nothing gets you absolutely nowhere. You stay in one place paralyzed, feeling sorry for yourself. That’s not creating. That’s – bullshit.
Here are few things you can do, to prep yourself for creation of self:
1. Realize you are competing with your former self.
No one gives a shit about you. No one is coming to save you. Please understand this! It’s harsh and it’s true. Which, by the way – is fantastic! Once you accept and understand this – the pressure to impress someone else just goes away. I’m serious. The only person you need to impress is – yourself. YOU live this life. No one will get up in the morning for you – YOU have to do it. By the way, no one said this will be easy. “Finding yourself” means challenging yourself. If it were so damn easy, life coaches and inspiring motivators would be out of jobs.
2. Pick a habit at a time and replace it.
Changing a bad habit is said to be impossible. It can only be replaced with a good habit. The best way to do this, is to thank your bad habit before you let it go. Seriously, like breaking up with someone –
“… look, it’s not working out anymore. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you or even when I didn’t need you, but now it’s time for me to move on. I wish you all the best and … goodbye”.
Thank it for making your life at some point enjoyable, for giving you (albeit false) comfort and then day by day switch to a new habit. It takes somewhere between 21 to 100 days to develop a new habit. Pick one and ONLY one and do it every day, until it becomes automated. After that, pick another one.
(Re)Creation of self is a long ongoing process. It takes patience and resilience. You have those two – you are a rich person.
You don’t have those two – learn them, no one is born with them (maybe you are born resilient, but you can also still learn it). #NewGoals.
3. Leave people who feed you false “realism” or limit contact with them.
What is this “realism”? And by whose/which standards do we call it realism?
Most of us have had that one friend who would mock us in such a way that would look like a joke, but it’s made to put us down. If you say something or even fight back – they would either accuse you of being too sensitive or go instantly into a victim mode and make you look “guilty” and “aggressive”. Best decision I’ve ever made was to “politely” walk away from these people. I don’t have time for them. I don’t want to waste my energy on them. I am the master of my life, and I choose who stays in it – I chose myself and not them. At first, even thinking about doing something like that made me nauseated. Uncomfortable in a way. What kind of a person does that? What would happen? OMG, what would happen?
Let me tell you what happened – It felt as if this humongous rock fell of my chest. This person was like a leech that was latched onto my back and then – I just cut it loose. It fed off of my self-esteem, because it had a low one itself; it put me down, just to feel itself going up; and then one day – the day I took responsibility for my life, my choices, my decisions – I let it go. It didn’t only make my life better, but it also taught me how to recognize other “leeches” and then just avoid them.
We can choose to leave our partners and friends, if they are toxic and do not respect us. In any relationship BOTH parties should profit. I’m not saying – leave at the sight of the first problem, I’m talking about a pattern of behavior – if someone is treating you bad – what’s the point in staying and feeding them with your energy, your emotions, your self-esteem, your life?
Relationships are hard, sometimes you give more than you bargained for, and that’s ok – we are all there for our partners and friends. But we expect the same thing from our partners and friends when we are down. When we are achieving something amazing and we are successful – we need someone to cheer for us, not to tear our hard earned success to pieces until we catch ourselves defending it or worse – apologizing for it. No one deserves such treatment. And if things are not better even after all the work you’ve put into, from counseling to talks, to short separations – it’s time for that relationship to go. As scary as it sounds, sometimes a new beginning, where you connect with yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Staying in a relationship and even using the kids as an excuse to stay, is something many understand, but, at the end of the day – it’s still an excuse that could potentially do more damage to you and the kids, and deep down you know it. Breakup, separation and divorce can make you feel like your soul is crushed. It’s the hardest thing if kids are involved, but I’ve seen friends go through it, and I’ve seen both sides heal, rise and live amazing lives. Ask for help – it’s always a great idea.
And lastly – the people you did not choose to be in your life – the family. A pessimistic parent, a “realistic” aunt, an “overprotective” sibling, a jealous cousin… The only thing you can do here is – limit contact. As hard and as terrible it sounds – this is a thing to do. Because with every discouragement, with every “realistic” opinion you never asked for, you lose a drop of self-esteem, and no mater how strong you think you are, it will get to you. Family is important, family can be a rock – be sure it’s not the rock that keeps you from growing. If it is – ask for help, talk to someone, limit contact. As much as it hurts, when you decide not to accept toxicity, you become strong and maybe one day – you can help your family member, if they allow you to. Just be careful they don’t pull you down again.
4. Go against mindless fear.
Fear of traveling, eating, sitting alone? Really?
It doesn’t have to be traveling or eating, it could be anything. I took those two as an example. What in the world would happen to you if you eat alone in a restaurant? Or if you travel alone? Or if you sign up for a course alone? Because heavens forbid, if someone decided to be a master of their own time, use their full potential and boldly go after what they want in life.
Wanna go to Florence, but no friend wants to go with you? – Book the ticket and a hotel/hostel room and DO IT! You’ll meet new people, you’ll eat breakfast when you want and you won’t bicker who to use the toilet first.
What if you go to Florence alone?
What if you went to the restaurant you always wanted to go to alone?
What if you went to the gym?
What if you went to the beach alone?
What if you didn’t give a damn about what would people think and how would they judge you?
Because, before anything happens, before we get outside, before we meet people who will judge us (surely they will, it’s human nature), we will harshly judge ourselves first. And this is why – we are usually afraid to answer the “What if” questions. We judge ourselves to the point of self-paralysis, we judge ourselves even when no one is there!
And again, WE make a choice. We could answer the question as:
What if I go to Florence alone? I would lose myself in the small old cobblestone streets, wind up at the old San Lorenzo Market near Repubblica Square or see the amazing Florentine Dome with a sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo.
What if I go to Florence alone? People would look at me as if I am a desperate weird freak with no friends. Better keep my head down and not look at them. Look at my phone at all times. Or even (worse) – not go at all, until one friend decides to go, and I put my plans and life in a pause to tag along at a time of the month/year that does not suit me at all. But, what the heck – at least I’m not doing this alone.
Would you really play out the second scenario in real life?
Why let other people define how you should feel?
Why wait other people to make plans so that you would tag along?
Why not let all that shit go, cut it loose and just go for it by yourself? Less self-judging, more going for the things you want.
In no way am I promoting solitude here (although sometimes it’s an amazing thing) – but independence and courage. You don’t need to be dependent of other people’s choices, plans, presence, expectations. Only of your own.
And if you don’t know what you want to the point where you feel paralyzed, there’s one saying that perfectly states what you should do:
When you don’t know where you are going,
any road will take you there!
Pick one path and see where it leads you, explore!
Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice.
Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice.
Whatever choice you make makes you.
~ Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
5. Be comfortable with being a beginner.
Oh, I know – it’s so far away from our comfort zone. And comfort zone is safe and warm and familiar.
Being a beginner means you have to learn, put effort into something, maybe fail couple of times. Maybe you’ll have a beginner’s luck in it, who the hell knows. But, one thing remains – if you don’t try – you will not know. Not getting out of your comfort zone means you will not grow, you will not learn and find things that could upgrade your character. Even if you submerge yourself in meditation and philosophical thinking about life, and what you want and what you were meant to be – you still have to put an effort into it, and travel with your mind somewhere outside of where you are.
By the way, I do recommend meditation, especially if you feel anxious – it does wonders for your body and mind. It’s not for everyone, though.
Beginnings are hard but they are also magical. They show you roads that are misty, dark and scary. But the moment you choose a road and you make the first step and then the second and so on, you see how beautiful the authenticity of life really is.
And sure – you choose a path and the road could lead you to a dead end, but the lessons you learn, the people you meet, the experiences you have, shape you into a wiser, stronger, bolder version of yourself and suddenly – you learn a thing or two about yourself and move on to another path.
6. This is the only life you get to have.
Presumably. Cause, no one really knows what really happens afterwards. Do you meet St. Peter or is the body just dust/food for worms? Will you end up being a butterfly (or something else) or is it just – lights out and it’s over?
For all we know so far, though, life as we know it happens only once to us. There is no other. So the question really is not – how to find yourself; but rather – are you willing to make a step from one place (where you’re at) to another place (either where you wanna be, or just to see what’s there and maybe learn something new)? That is the question.
Because the longer you stay in one place and ask yourself – how to find myself, what am I meant to do, what is my purpose – more time you waste into not getting out there, discovering new things and working to create your best self. It’s not an answer you need – it’s a journey. It’s learning and exploring – that IS the purpose of life. And no one can make the discoveries in (your) life, BUT YOU.
Now go out there and do the journey – whether it’s internal or external, make sure you move from Point A to Point B and so on. Listen to your gut, listen to your heart, but use your brain as well. You can never be 100% safe, predators are everywhere, with Time being the biggest one of all. Make sure you live as much of a full life as possible before it devours you. And it will.
Life is an everyday discovery. Life is hard – it will break you one way or the other – whether you are in the arms of your comfort zone or somewhere far away from it; life will tear you apart. It will break your heart one too many times, it will teach you of betrayal, hurt, loneliness and bitterness. Some will experience those things more than others – there is no escape from that, BUT – when your end comes and it will – remind yourself
of the times you fought for things you believed in and won;
of the times you waited for someone and they came;
of the times you believed in something so passionately, so strongly and it came true,
and the times when you watched a dawn being born.
Life’s not easy, but sure as hell – it’s worth it!
Till next time!