We hear the term ‘finding yourself’ quite often in our modern age. It is a byproduct of a time in which liberty and exploration due to economic conditions and access to resources are being experienced on a large scale (though this is certainly not the case for many people who do not have the same opportunities).
It is a catchphrase, often used to patronize others, “she went to India to ‘find herself’” – when someone takes a step away from their daily life to travel, introspect, or otherwise look for something beyond themselves.
It purports that I have yet to know myself and that I must search outwardly to find who I am; however, this is a misconception. This phrase indicates a journey into the self.
Finding yourself is not the same as searching through the mall to find the perfect dress for an occasion. It is about journeying inward, clearing away the clutter, clearing the conditionings of a life influenced by societal information, and coming back to who we are. It is about finding what we’ve always had yet forgot or misplaced along the way.
Finding yourself is similar to washing the dust and dirt off an old glass frame, revealing a beautiful piece of artwork that has always been there, yet was covered by debris from years of hanging on a wall. It is searching deep within ourselves, dusting ourselves off and revealing the beautiful artwork that we all are.
It is not a graceful journey either. It is painful, uncomfortable, lonely, and vulnerable. It is difficult to shed the layers we have grown to protect ourselves from life. It often feels like we have exposed a wound before it is ready, and we want to reach for the gauze to cover it back up. But it is in these most vulnerable, uncomfortable times that may bring us clarity and allow us to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. It is in these lonely experiences that we are forced to sit with ourselves and become reintroduced to who we are.
‘Finding yourself’ may be a cheesy cliché, but there is true value to this phrase. It is when we begin to know ourselves fully and deeply; when we sit with our darkness and our lightness; when we learn that our internal world influences everything outside of ourselves, that we can transform our lives. In finding ourselves, we find our true expression, our true authentic self, and learn to love ourselves fully as we are.