How Do You “Lose” Yourself?
April 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
People seem to ask themselves this often. I’m sure you’ve heard it. “I just really lost myself. I don’t know who I am anymore.” I’m not saying I’m not guilty of saying it, because I definitely have, but the more I think about it, the more ridiculous it sounds. How the heck do you lose yourself? Pretty sure that’s kinda impossible to do. When you woke up this morning did you think “Hey, Self. What’s up?” and not get a response? If your answer is yes, you need to see a psychiatrist. Pronto. I’m not kidding. But, seriously, we grow up reading “coming-of-age” stories and people talk about finding themselves, but it’s really all a bunch of b.s.
We’re constantly growing and changing and evolving. We adapt to different situations, problems, complexities of life as they’re presented. Even thinking about some of these “coming-of-age” stories, they’re sometimes about young children, older people, or somewhere in between. Every person has multiple coming-of-age moments in their lives. I really don’t think we stop having them. So, this whole process of “finding yourself” is really just a matter of adapting to life’s current circumstances, handling them, and letting them become a part of you rather than letting them rule you.
Everytime life, the world, God, karma, whatever throws us a curve-ball we have to evaluate how to handle it. Even if its a problem we feel like we’ve tackled before, we inevitably take new factors into consideration and these new factors cause our responses to be different. But just becuase we handle things differently doesn’t mean we’ve “lost ourselves,” it just means that we’re growing and adapting. Our “self” is not a constant. Nothing in life is; our relationships with people change, our faith life changes, our bodies change, our lifestyles change, so why on Earth would we not expect our “self” to change.
Now, I’m not saying that every person doesn’t have a sort of essence of themselves. Whether they be joyful, a downer, a complainer, strong, loyal, etc, those aren’t static qualities. We have to chose them on a regular basis. So maybe instead of saying we “lost ourselves,” we should evaluate who we want our “self” to be and actively work toward it. Personally, I want people to find my “self” as joyful, strong, loyal, loving, faithful, and a long list of other things. But just because I have a sad day (or, heck, a lot of sad days!), doesn’t mean I’ve lost my “self.” It only means that I need to actively pursue those qualities I want to be.
Expecting out “selves” to remain static isn’t fair. It holds pressure on us to remain the same. And remain the same as what? My outlook on life today will always be different than it was in college. And in college, it will always be different than it was when I was a child. But, that is normal. Experiences have changed me and I’ve decided to let them change me. But, I, as the captain of my own ship (ok, well maybe co-captain. I DECIDED to let God steer. We fight over the wheel alot, but that’s a whole other blog!), have decided to let them shape me in a positive way. I want my life experiences to teach me hope, true joy, deep thought, a truer faith, and strength as opposed to letting them crush me. And because I decided to take control, asked God for help (and actually let him…don’t forget that part), my “self” is whoever I want it to be. I’ll probably fail on occasion, but I’m determined to keep trying.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -Walt Emerson