Recently, a friend of mine texted me with a question that made me smile.
She wrote, “But I reaaaallly wanted to ask you a random question. How does one ‘find’ thyself?”
My first thought was, “Apparently, I have this nice lady fooled.” My second thought was, “There is no way I can explain any of my thoughts on the subject of self-discovery through text.”
But really, who hasn’t gone through this process? How do you find yourself?
How do you come back to you, to make your body and your mind home again instead of alien? At least that is how I experienced the need to uncover myself. It’s a growing restlessness and a feeling of not being at peace with myself.
In the following, I offer my advice, not on finding yourself but on coming back to yourself. To find yourself would mean you lost yourself, which you haven’t. As the saying goes, Wherever you go, there you are.
So here’s to coming back to you:
1. Spend time alone.
Perhaps a lot of time alone. That is not to say you should become a hermit but spending time alone is essential to finding out what you like, what makes you happy, and what you do and don’t want in your life. Staying with the crowd stops you from making your own decisions and learning how you make decisions. Also, time alone does not mean time with your iPhone. Technology can be a crutch to stop you from feeling all types of emotions.
Piggybacking off number one, doing yoga or meditation or any other type of solitary meditative activity can be beneficial. The mind chatters all day long with fears, worries and preconceived notions. To get to the heart, the mind’s chatter needs to cease, even for just a little while. Yoga and meditation can help with that. Other examples might be walking, hiking, or rock climbing.
3. Talk to someone.
Or many someones. Perhaps a therapist, counselor, spiritual adviser or trusted friend who can guide you. Ask them what their process was when they felt lost.
4. Ask Questions.
Once you feel somewhat grounded, ask yourself the hard questions. Do you believe in a higher power? What is your purpose here on Earth? What is the meaning for your life? What do you want to spend your life doing? Although many people may not feel the need to answer these questions, knowing what the answers to these questions are for you can stabilize you when you feel lost. Also, I have a suspicion that not asking these questions in the first place may lead to midlife crises later or a feeling of having wasted one’s life.
5. Spend time doing things that you love.
Does painting make life worthwhile? Do more of that. Do you love doing calculus? Do that. It doesn’t really matter what the thing is that you are doing as long as it rejuvenates you and makes you feel alive. What lights you on fire? Sewing. Fine. Dancing.Great. Do those things that bring you back to you.
6. Surround yourself with people who value your mission.
Important: Once you figure out some of your life’s process—whether it be a spiritual path, a calling, knowledge about who you are—surround yourself with people who value your mission. People who inspire you, love you, cherish you and help you grow. If you have goals on this life journey, you will be much more likely to reach them with others to support you.
Someone else might suggest a ritual for coming back to yourself which involves taking peyote and staying in the desert for 48 hours. Another might suggest going to India for a six-month-long meditation retreat. Each person has a unique journey. These are my suggestions.
All I can hope is that what helped me provides solace for someone else.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Lisa Manca
Apprentice Editor: Melissa Tamura/Editor: Emily Bartran
Image: Dionne Hartnett/Flickr