How to Find Yourself Without Losing Yourself

“I just need to find myself right now.”

“Gosh, I guess I just haven’t found myself yet.”

“I can’t do this thing that’s expected of me because I need to find myself.”

Anyone else absolutely hate the concept of “finding yourself?”

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate the premise. We need to improve ourselves in an effort to be successful human beings that are happy and good.

But let’s be honest, that’s not what this is really about. “Finding yourself” is a mentality that is carried out in a few simple steps:

1. I’m living my life.
2. I see something I want.
3. I’m dissatisfied with the fact that I don’t have this “thing.”
4. The status quo is unacceptable.
5. I’ll find fulfillment and happiness if I achieve this thing.
6. I don’t know how to get to this thing.
7. I have to find…myself…in order to get the thing.

 

In other words, we want to be something we’re not by discovering something about ourselves that matches the concept we’ve idealized for ourselves.

This is all painfully abstract, and it’s just as hard to read about it as it is to hear about it. 

We’ve talked a lot about narcissism on Jon Negroni Dot Com. Well, that’s kind of what “finding yourself” revolves around: you.

It’s all about you, even if the “thing” is (technically) helping other people, you want the thing because it benefits you.

Let’s be clear. Finding yourself is a constant process, one that we all go through, no matter what age or station of life we’re in.

It’s the fixation on finding yourself and the persistent dissatisfaction with everything that makes you, you that leads to losing yourself. Losing yourself in always needing to find yourself.

There’s only one real solution I know of to this problem.

Don’t find yourself – give of yourself.

Give yourself away (not sexually) to the people around you, especially the ones who need it most.

You see, many people use the concept of “finding themselves” as an excuse to isolate themselves from people who care about them. Their thinking is that they don’t want to need others.

Giving yourself some space is great, but not at the expense of your friendships and relationships. Instead, give of yourself by doing things for people, even if you don’t feel like it.

One of the easiest ways to give of yourself is to volunteer, but you probably won’t do that. So, I’ll give you some advice you may not have actually heard before that sounds more enticing.

Be a part of something.

Join a community of people, whether it be a church, club, nonprofit or even a Google Hangout that will give you opportunities to emotionally invest in other people.

I know this because the only times I’ve ever really liked myself, whatever that means, have been when I’ve felt like I’m a part of something amazing. Something bigger than myself.

We’re still individuals, and I don’t believe in Marxist, collective good philosophies. But that doesn’t mean we should just discredit the value in voluntary collectivism, especially if you’re someone who is more conservative in that regard.

Agree? Disagree? Be sure to find yourself in the comments.

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7 Replies to “How to Find Yourself Without Losing Yourself”

  1. Good post, good thoughts. And I agree. The thing is finding oneself is actually a good thing but like most good things when it is turned inside out and made too complicated…it starts not being a very good thing.

    I now prefer to use “remembering myself” because we really don’t need to “find” ourselves but more remember who we truly are…a part of the tapestry of life.

  2. I know who I am. It’s only when I get behind the wheel of a car that I get lost… and everyone in the vehicle with me suffers, too!

  3. This is accurate to the point.
    I found a feeling of excitement & comfort with myself after I (had to) helped my cousin out with a project of hers.
    & it was huge.
    & it was amazing.
    & I discovered I had been keeping myself out of life.

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