the search for self will never be satisfied. but keep looking.
i read recently that "You cannot find yourself by going into the past. You find yourself by coming into the present."
but i disagree. i think that self is located not in the present alone but the conglomeration of the experiences we encounter through in the past.
throughout my high school career i was told that i was not going to make it to college. i admit my grades were something to be desired, and my guidance counselors encouraged me to go to a vocational school, if i go on to a school at all. at first i resented them but then i started to believe what they were saying. i began to believe that i couldn't make it in college, and that i should accept the fact that intellectually i was inferior.
its as if in life we are a metal frame structured in the likes of a skeletal system. every word that is spoken to us is the putty slowly manipulating who we are and who we are becoming. Unfortunately most of the time the words that we remember are all the negative words, it is our choice whether we are going to believe them or not. whether to make a statue out of the words spoken.
after high school i went to work at an amusement park pulling weeds and mowing lawns. i told people i was doing this because i was saving up for a car, but that was a lie. i didn't think that i could make it even at community college and wanted to find a job that i could live with. after working 6 months i realized that there was something different about me then the rest of the guys that worked there. because i had many many hours of being by myself i began to search what i wanted out of life. and even though i never figured it out completely i knew that working 40 hours a week planting flowers was not it. it wasn't that i had a higher IQ or that i was better than them by any means, but it was that i had tenacity for life and i couldn't escape my inner longing to be something better than i was. i was tired of believing the lies that i had accepted all through high school.
i enrolled in community college, and believing myself instead of others i got the best grades of my life. (eventually graduating from UCF w/ B.S. in psychology)
ok i realize that these are two different topics, the search for self & believing in yourself over what others believe of you, but in a way they seem to reflect each other more than some would like to admit. we need to focus on more of what we believe about ourselves and less on what other people feed negatively into our lives.
you have to realize that you are never really going to know yourself, ever. the average person changes careers 4 times in their lives, which means even when you think you know what you want to do with your life chances are you are going to redirect your focus sometime in your life. but the goal is never, and should never be to know yourself; but to search to find yourself.
what are some ways to explore who you are?
1. read. read everything you can get your hands on. so what if the author is a different sex, creed, religion, or cultural background. that is how you grow. by learning outside what you know.
2. talk. meet new people every day. sit somewhere different on the train. meet those who you may never see again. find someone sitting alone @ the coffee shop. study them like a manual. find out what they think the meaning of life is. or my favorite question for elderly people has always been "if you could rewind time to my age what would you have wanted to tell yourself?" so i guess, more than talk, listen.
3. write. journal/blog
4. listen, to yourself. to those thoughts that keep you up late at night, that wake you up early in the morning. that is called passion. find out what it is, search it out to its end.
5. pray. then pray.
what else? i am sure i am missing more ways. these are just the first few off the top of my head.