Monday, November 26, 2012

Finding yourself

I never quite understand when people say they need to 'find themselves'.

Don't get me wrong, I went through this stage; in fact, I think we all went through this stage, however briefly. You aren't comfortable with many things, you don't feel right, and you figure the reason behind all that is that you haven't 'found yourself'. Once you have, you think that you'll have some sort of direction in life, that everything that's confusing you might finally fall into place. After all, how are you supposed to understand the world when you don't even understand yourself, right?

Forget The Thinker. Here, we have The Deep Thinker.
(From here)

I remember my thirteen-year-old self being all introspective and doing all sorts of personality tests on the Internet (I think I was an INTJ, with a choleric melancholic personality). In all honesty, I don't think it got me very far in terms of understanding who I was. Probably the biggest reason was that my personality may not have been very well-formed at the ripe, old age of thirteen, especially with the introduction to secondary school: new system, new people, new experiences... And yet that was probably what most drove me to 'find myself'. Funny how things work, eh?

The best way I can think of to describe thirteen-year-old me is with this analogy: I was -- please just humour me -- a gas. I had no shape nor form and was not happy with this, so I forced myself into different containers. I may or may not have liked the containers I occupied, but even if I didn't, I at least had an identifiable shape. As I grew as a person, though, I also grew as a, um, gas, and I was actually subconsciously confining myself within containers that were getting increasingly cramped. (Aliteration win!)

Of course, I realised this only many years later, with the benefit of hindsight. Sometime during that time, I had given up and stopped bothering to squeeze myself into containers. I didn't have a shape or form? So what? People were complaining about my smell? Who cared? And in any case, there were people who happened to like the way I smelled!

Okay, okay, the gas analogy ends here.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the best thing I did during my effort to 'find myself' was to simply stop looking. You don't need to know who you are on a conscious level -- it's already in your subconscious, where you're undoubtedly, unmistakably you. Why are you trying to find yourself when that's what you've been your whole life? (One might argue using my gas analogy from earlier that occupying containers wouldn't be considered being yourself, but the gas that is occupying the container in the first place is you.)

Have another analogy: trying to 'find yourself' is a bit like an old lady looking around for her glasses, not realising they're perched right on top of her head the whole time, sitting pretty on her hair. I suppose you could say it doesn't matter that she actually has the glasses since she can't see out of them and therefore has to keep on searching, but that requires a far longer blog post to discuss, and this is all I have time for tonight.

The time now is half past two in the morning, which explains why I am rambling about 'finding yourself'.


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