What people think finding yourself is: Knowing your key strengths and weaknesses, by being able to list adjectives next to your name and nailing every job interviews because you know exactly who you are and what you want out of life
What I define it as: Being at peace with yourself, knowing your personality to the extent that you never need to define yourself to others
People are always telling you who you are. “You’re such an extrovert”, “You’re so silly”, “It seems like a thing you would do”. I can’t remember a time in my life where I felt that I wasn’t been put in a drawer or people weren’t trying to label me. The friends you have, the hobbies you do, these things all tend to support a certain perception or description of you. It helps people build a picture about the person that you are. If we know what kind of person we are dealing with, we find it easier to predict their actions and reactions and thus it seems its easier to handle this person. It’s a natural human way of dealing with the vast amount of variety and information the world throws at us. Putting things intro drawers makes the chaotic world seem far more organized.
It only makes sense that after a while, we start putting these labels people give us on ourselves. The world is big and we all try to find our spot in it. We find it easier if we know what role we play and what kind of person we have to be to fill that role. That makes it even harder to find out, who you really are and who are you because you were told to be that person. The struggle to know our true selves seems to bother society so much – there are so many self-help books out there on the topic or movies that address soul searching (for example Into the Wild, Eat Pray love, Almost famous to name a few). This void of who we should be, who we think we are and finding ourselves, it’s confusing. Because perhaps we will also find out we are something we don’t want to be. For example, I’ve struggled most of my life living with the fact that I am an introvert and that that is ok. I always felt to succeed, to be confident I have to be loud, outgoing and happy around other people. Only later did I find out that embracing my introvert is what made me succeed, be loud and happy around other people.
Here’s the thing most people don’t get and I didn’t understand for a long time. Knowing yourself doesn’t mean “Fun” or “Adventurous” because guess what, sometimes you are and sometimes you are not. Everyone is on a spectrum and that spectrum can vary from time to time. It can depend on your mood, your situation and the people around you. You will grow, you will pull back, you will surprise yourself and challenge yourself. This is beautiful and extremely scary at the same time. You will spend the rest of your life in the company of yourself and you will continue to surprise yourself (so it wont get boring! Trust me) but that would indicate you will also be living with a stranger. This would mean, you will always feel that void and all these self-help books are useless and the movies are lies.
I believe that this doesn’t have to be the case. We all have core traits that we carry with us since we were born. Find your values – what are your core beliefs you want to live by? Pick 3-5 on this list and perhaps discuss them with someone to hear what they think.
Find out, what keeps you motivated and what kills your motivation. What gives you energy and what doesn’t. Is it being around people or doing specific things or specific people?
And that’s all you need to know. Things around you will change. Yet those things, never will. Know them and own them