“One does not “find oneself” by pursuing one’s self, but on the contrary by pursuing something else and learning through some discipline or routine (even the routine of making beds) who one is and wants to be.” ~ May Sarton, The House by the Sea…
A lot folks talk about the need to go on a journey to “find themselves.” Whenever I hear this, however, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Journey complete! I found you… you are right here.” I am aware, of course, that finding oneself does not mean finding where our physical self resides, for that is trivial. I also know that it is actually much easy to find oneself than we often make it out to be. In fact, many of us are already actively on this journey right now, but perhaps are not quite sure what we are looking for.
It is generally quite difficult for us to find who we are and who we want to be when we are so narrowly focused in life that we experience no discovery or learning through the routine and the ordinary. I personally find it much easier to “find myself,” little by little, when my conscious mind is busy pursuing other things; discipline and routine, after all, are great teachers. This allows my subconscious the chance to seek out those inner most things–like gratitude, contentment, peace, happiness, joy, and my wants and desires. If I try to pursue these things with my conscious self, I would most likely employ too much intellect and not enough emotion.
When we stop searching so deliberately, and instead simply allow things in life to happen, a wonderful thing occurs: we find what we are looking for. And the more we allow our focus to shift towards learning about who we are and who we want to be, the more at peace we become with our lives–where we are at now, and where we are going.
Identify what you are looking for and define who and what you want to be.
Questions to consider:
Why do we often feel the need to work hard at finding ourselves?
How can focusing our efforts on very specific tasks benefit our search for who we are and who we want to be?
Why do we often feel the compulsion to take on all our tasks in such direct pursuit? Why do we feel it so necessary to see the results of our efforts?
For further thought:
“If you observe really happy people you will find them building a boat, writing a symphony, educating their children, growing double dahlias in their gardens, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. They will not be searching for happiness as if it were a button that has rolled under the radiator. They will not be striving for it as a goal in itself. They will have become aware that they are “happy” in the course of living life, twenty-four crowded hours of the day.” ~ W. Beran Wolfe, adapted from How to be Happy Though Human