Finding Yourself: A Lifelong Journey of Self Creation

finding yourself quote
“In high school, I thought I discovered my life’s purpose when I could answer that age old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Nope.
In college, I thought I would discover it when I could answer, “What’s your major?”
Not quite.
I thought that maybe I’d discover it when I found a good job…
Then I thought I just needed to get a few promotions.
That didn’t work either.
I kept convincing myself that it was just over the horizon, around the next corner.
Nothing worked.
And it was really tearing me apart.
Part of me kept pushing ahead to the next achievement
and the other part kept asking,
is this all there is?
-Apple CEO Tim Cook’s 2017 MIT Commencement Speech

When does this “finding yourself” thing start happening?

I think all of us can relate to the existential crisis of wanting to know who we truly are.

Obviously we know ourselves, but I’m talking about really knowing our deeper inner purpose. Sometimes it can feel like we’re walking around in the dark, just taking what life gives us and making do with it. From a young age we’re asked what we want to be when we grow up. We’re expected to choose a career before we’ve even experienced enough to know what we truly want. Then, every now and then we hear, “So tell me about yourself,” and finding the right words seems impossible. It can be pretty overwhelming.

We want to find ourselves so we can feel like we know who we are in this world and what our greater purpose is.

The problem is, the phrase “finding yourself” kind of implies that the whole ordeal is a one time thing. And I think part of us really believes it’ll all make sense one day – which it will…but that doesn’t mean you’ll be that way forever. The moment is fleeting. The world around us is constantly changing and evolving – and so are we. As you learn and grow, you will discover new parts of yourself and new purposes to pursue. Finding yourself is something that happens many, many times throughout your life – each time a little different than the last.

You will have many, many moments of bliss where you truly feel you are in the right place and doing the right things. You will feel in alignment with a greater purpose. But it doesn’t have to be your greatest purpose forever.

You create who you are in every moment by choosing what to focus on and how to see it.

Although I can’t tell you how to find yourself in your own life journey, I can definitely suggest a few thoughts to consider.

embrace your own personal power in this process.

The term “finding yourself” suggests that you’re out there somewhere, separate from who you are right now. That doesn’t give you much direction or personal power in the matter. Instead, I prefer to think of it as actively creating myself as I go through life. Instead of searching for my identity, I just keep adding to it as time passes. My mom has always told me, “Take what you like, and leave the rest.” As I experience and learn new things, I do just that – I take what I would like to add to my life, and I let go of whatever doesn’t serve me. The only way you are powerless in finding yourself is by not taking an active role in deciding who you want to find. How is the person you’re being aligning with the person you want to be? If you check in and reflect on this regularly, you’ll stay on the right track.

The only way you are powerless in finding yourself is by not taking an active role in deciding who you want to find. Click To Tweet

Be open minded & willing to leave your comfort zone.

How can you fully know yourself if you haven’t opened up to different possibilities of who you can be? This doesn’t have to be some huge, profound leap out of your comfort zone; it can be as simple as trying something new. For example, about a month ago, my husband and I were invited to one of those escape rooms, where you have to find clues and solve riddles to escape a themed room in less than an hour. I was stoked, but my husband wasn’t completely sold on the idea. But I’m telling you, this man ended up talking for days afterward about how much fun he had! My favorite thing he said was, “What other things could be out there that I’d enjoy and have no idea about yet?” To me, that is the magic of finding yourself along the way. Have fun with it.

Be honest about what you don’t want.

This is very important: Try to avoid the word “should” as much as possible when it comes to talking about what you want to do or who you want to be. We tend to respond most to the pressure that we and others put on ourselves. Your parents may think you should be a doctor, but you really want to be a teacher. Or maybe you feel like you should be going on more adventures, but staying home and reading feels more right. These “should” statements automatically make your true reality and wishes seem lesser. “Should” is a word we could all benefit from using less in our daily vocabulary. Be mindful of how often you use it.

Talk to yourself.

Imagine you have a friend who never lets you speak. They talk for hours on end, going from one tangent to another, and they never pause to let you ask questions or clarify what they mean. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? Yet this is essentially what we do with ourselves on a daily basis. Our minds chatter nonstop, producing feelings and causing us to act and react without a second thought. See how messy that can get?

Taking a moment to stop and actively listen to your thoughts can really open your eyes. It may even help you understand how you’ve gotten yourself into certain situations or why you’ve been feeling a certain way. As you listen to these thoughts and make connections, talk it through with yourself either in your head, out loud, or by writing it all down. You can identify which thoughts are irrational or unhealthy and choose to no longer give them power. It sounds easier than it is, but with practice it can become second nature. Self-talk is such a rewarding habit in the process of understanding and bettering yourself.

Decide who you want to be, and start being that person.

This is my favorite part. A lot of the time, we know who we want to be, but we’re so stuck in old habits and ways of thinking that we don’t make any progress towards actually becoming that person. That ideal version of ourselves just seems so foreign, unnatural, and far away; where do we even begin? The trick is to regularly ask, “What would my best self do?” and do it without question. The more you do what your ideal self would do, the more you will become your ideal self.

So, who are you?

More importantly, who do you want to be? Instead of hoping for a day where you’ll feel perfectly yourself, think of what your purpose is right now in this very moment. What are you learning? What are your circumstances teaching you? How can you use your current struggles and blessings to better yourself even more? This is what finding yourself is: creating yourself by actively directing your life each day.

As I said earlier, there’ll never be a moment where you say, “Eureka! There I am,” and suddenly be that same ideal person, happily ever after forevermore. You will have many beautiful moments that feel this way throughout your life though. Celebrate those moments. Embrace who you are every moment of the way. You are not a stagnant human being. There isn’t some shining version of yourself off in the distance that you’ll someday reach and be forever.

Be okay with being, with trying, with growing. Decide who you want to be for now and do your best to be that person. You’ll keep finding parts of yourself along the way – and that, my friends, is what’s beautiful. You’ve found yourself before, are discovering parts of yourself now, and have years of learning more about yourself ahead. Enjoy the journey.

Be okay with being, with trying, with growing. Decide who you want to be for now and do your best to be that person. You'll keep finding parts of yourself along the way. Click To Tweet

7 Replies to “Finding Yourself: A Lifelong Journey of Self Creation

  1. This is very well written! I think we could all be helped by taking a step back and taking stock of who we are and what drives us on a deeper level. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you so much, Brittany! I think it definitely helps us get more out of life when we do that 🙂

  2. Hey! I love this article. I write about really similar stuff, but it’s nice to read about other’s version of these things. Loved it, especially the idea of changing the question to who are you. Great read!

    1. Hey there! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I subscribed to your blog – I love finding other bloggers who discuss similar topics! Love what I’ve read so far 🙂

  3. I LOVE this. It helps guide people directly into the heart of who they are. There is nothing more valuable than helping people understand that they can be whoever the choose to be!

    1. Wow thank you so much, Andrea! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It is my number one passion to help people realize that power they have over their own lives 🙂 so glad you agree!!

  4. Another amazing blog Jade! I do enjoy all of your thoughts, ideas and suggestions. I have learned in my 60+ years of life that learning about yourself and learning how to get to loving yourself is indeed a journey and that journey is not always a easy one, with many bumps along the way. Your closing comment “Enjoy the journey” sums it up for me and is something I try to do everyday.

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