Finding Yourself Isn’t What You Think It Is

All you have to do is go on a grand adventure, like hiking the Rocky Mountains, or traveling every corner of the world. You can make a complete life shift, like finally getting out of your decade long failing relationship, or quitting your crappy job

Only then will you have a pivotal life altering moment. The world will seem like it shifted into place. The lights will shine down upon you from above. Instantly all of your questions about life are answered.

You did it! Your found yourself! Go you!!

Okay, but seriously, let’s be real. This doesn’t really happen. 

The “finding yourself moment” is a myth. Try as hard as you may and look as deep into your soul as you can, but there is no grand experience where everything just magically comes together because you found who you are. 

That only happens in movies. I know this isn’t what you want to hear but it’s true. Take it from someone who spent a year trying to find herself and really thought she did. 

I thought I found myself

I had quit my nine to five job that I loathed in order to finally (after 3 years of postponing) grieve my Brother’s death. I shook in fear of facing the pain that I knew was going to hit me. After finally encountering every stage of grief, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t have to run away from my feelings anymore. I even learned a few lessons along the way.  

During this time, I also traveled around the globe, people watched on the streets Washington, D.C., and let myself do whatever I wanted to. I was free. I also focused on taking care of my body, by eating clean and working out, which results in shedding 17 pounds. I challenged myself to be disciplined, something that I had never been before.

To top it all off, I had also discovered my life’s passion and love, writing.  Using it as a tool and outlet for my own personal growth was the most enlightening thing that I have ever experienced. With writing, I had thought I had found it. The one thing that kept me waking up in the morning. I had never been so happy in my entire life. I had finally “found myself.”

Who Angela really was and what she really wanted out of life. Or so I naively thought.

I had never been more wrong  about anything

The minute I went back to working a corporate job, I lost everything I had thought I had “found.” I had felt even more lost than I was before. I didn’t understand how because didn’t I find myself? Wasn’t it supposed to solve everything?  

Looking back now, I laugh at how naive I was. 

Complacency has the ability to kill any kind of luster in life. Living a completely mundane, boring, normal, and average lifestyle doesn’t teach you any lessons. It doesn’t challenge you, push you out of your comfort zone, or change you at all.

It keeps you stagnant – in the exact same place you find yourself every day.  My new complacent life and the unhappiness it brought, after a year of being “found” made me realize the truth. It wasn’t the epic year off, the world travels, or the thrill of being free that made me think I had found myself.

It was the constant challenges.

It was in the challenges and overcoming those challenges that taught me what I was capable of. Each small win over a challenge pushed the boundaries of who I was. It was in those experiences, the lessons I learned from them, and the confidence I built that made me ridiculously happy.

That is the “found yourself” feeling that you are seeking.

You will never be done finding this feeling. You are constantly evolving. Your hopes, your dreams, your wants are constantly changing based on your experiences. The more you experience, the more you challenge yourself, the more you question what you want, the more you will find yourself again and again.

How do you KeeP the “finding yourself” happiness?

There’s no one recipe for anyone. 

I know it sounds counter intuitive but it’s in the struggle. The constant never ending struggle and challenge is the “secret sauce.”

The secret sauce can be in facing your fears and conquering them, or trying something new. It could come during a year off from corporate life or even meeting someone who shows you what it is like to really feel alive.

It could even come from something as small as taking up a new hobby, learning a new language, or applying for a new job. It could come from walking down the street. It can come from all of these things at once.

The feeling can also be found in escaping your routine and experiencing new things. It is in shaking up the idea of who you think you are.  It’s in not being complacent or settling for less. It’s right outside the boundaries you’ve set in your mind of the things you “can’t do.”

These shake ups, challenges, struggles, steps out of your comfort zone, or whatever it is, will leave you with that “finding yourself” feeling of happiness. It will teach you how great you are and how much you are capable of.

You have to keep doing this. Hollywood tells you otherwise but you don’t find yourself in one grand adventure, it’s not one pivotal moment.

It is a constant and never-ending struggle to stay “found.” 

Related Articles: Stop Limiting Yourself To Who You Think You Are // There is No One Right Way To Live // How I Gained the Courage to Quit My Job and Move 

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