“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
– Joseph Campbell
Who are you really? A question we often shy away from to avoid unpacking the emotional baggage that lies in the depths of our hyperactive minds. This question is at the root of our human existence. It has been known to take a lifetime of self-exploration to peel back the layers, break the walls and release the holding patterns we have acquired to come into our fullest, most authentic selves.
Sabbaticals, silent retreats, years spent in the mountains following spiritual gurus, etc. are more popular than ever before. Most of the time, the people that embark on these kinds of journeys are searching for something they believe they have lost or never knew in the first place.
“I need to work on myself, I need to find the real me, I need to gain clarity on who I am and my purpose in this life, I just need to take some time for myself.” Sounds familiar?
Well, news flash, you are never going to figure it all out. Those who believe they have figured it all out are lying to themselves and missing the whole point of this life thing. We never fully come into who we are because we are dynamic and ever-evolving beings who shift up and down on an endless spectrum of experiences, changes, and growth.
Despite the ever-evolving nature of life, we still have core values, personality traits, and unique characteristics that play a role in the metamorphosis of our character. It is possible to expand new attributes of oneself while minimizing others in order to adapt and grow into your fullest, most profound self.
What is Finding Yourself?
Finding yourself begins with the realization that you are a product of your conditioning. Interactions with your parents, peers and any outside stimulus do affect who you are. Society has somewhat molded you into having certain expectations, fears, doubts and ideas about success and happiness. You see things through lenses of past experiences; you are drawn to assume the outcome of most situations. Your emotional resume has likely created patterns in your life that are less and less of what makes you, you.
All of this is immensely important to understanding yourself. The truth will set you free, but it does not define you. That’s why it is only one small part of the broader evolution that is YOU.
What is Freeing Yourself?
Freeing yourself is the opposite of all of those things. It is the process of releasing those conditioned traits and liberating yourself from being anything that can be defined. You are energy, a presence that exists beyond space and time, way beyond your fears and your accomplishments. Your life is not a product of the things you have learned, done or what has been done to you; it is so much more potent than that. You are special and unique – yet also the same as everyone else. You don’t have to make excuses like “that’s just not me” or “I would never do that” because how do you know? Stop with the limitations – today you are not the same person as you were 10 years ago, and a few years from now, new life experiences might shape you into a new version of yourself.
Freeing yourself is much more than just taking the weight of the world off of your shoulders. It is about allowing yourself to be whoever you want at any given moment, regardless of how you have responded to situations in the past. Let go of the way you want to be seen by others. You are already seen by how you make others feel, how you connect to the world and the essence of who you are is enough without explanation. These realizations won’t come from finding yourself; they come from freeing yourself of your own pain, definitions and holding patterns.
Finding vs. freeing yourself is not a competition after all. You should understand what makes you the way you are so that you can release the traits that do not serve your highest authenticity. Through self-discovery and honoring your own truth and path, you will find that letting go of everything you define yourself as will ultimately set you free.