Life can get pretty complicated but so can people. We tend to get stuck in one chapter of our story and can’t turn the page. We simply get lost in this great big abyss of why and what if’s while the story of who we are is still being written. I think in our journey to find ourselves we tend to try and erase all our not so great moments as if they never happened. But is this really the way we want to have our story told? I like what Andrea Dykstra has to say about it. She puts it like this, “In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.” Our experiences are profound, and we need each one of them not only to understand who we are but to find ourselves. We can’t change where we’ve been, the pain, the hurt or the rejection we’ve faced. These things shape us, they make us who we are. We can't pretend our past hasn't happened but can use each experience to push us forward. We're all lost and insecure at times but that doesn’t mean we can’t find our way out of the woods. The uncertainties in our lives teach us how to be self-reliant, to find our voice and to have compassion. Without the dire days of my life I wouldn’t have the outlook I do today. I wouldn’t have strength or even joy. These moments in my life have taught me to dig deep and never give up. Our experiences in life, good and bad, can help us or hinder us. The choice is ours.
Life Lesson # 69: The Journey to finding who you are is pretty perplexing, tangled and tricky.
If we're not careful we can get lost in the bogs of self-defeat, regrets and memories. Stuck and feeling our own hurt, self- inflicted or not, we can forget to wish those not meant for our lives goodness, kindness and peace. Instead get lost in a particular chapter of our lives, and the story of who we are becomes diluted and unfocused. We tragically lose who we're meant to be in the process. Our view becomes corroded. We allow those experiences to be rewritten or erased becoming victims of ourselves. We simply forget who we are. This is the thing, “You will always be too much of something for some people: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out all your edges, you will lose sight of who you really are. Apologize for your mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone…profusely. But do not apologize for being who you are.”
I guess it’s time to ask, do you know who you are? I’m talking about the real you, the you not everybody gets to see? The you hidden under all the pretenses, under the ideas of who you think you should be. The you, you were born to be. Sometimes we get these parts of us mixed up. We lose sight of our goal and we have no idea what page we’re actually on. We put up walls, blaming others for our own misguided, attempts at perfections. Life isn’t easy and neither are our relationships or experiences. We can’t simply go around throwing up our hands rejecting experiences or people for that matter because they don’t “feel” like we expected. Pride, the end all, becomes our undoing once we begin dismantling ourselves. Unfortunately when we get so busy erasing our past, editing it, we lose our future. Take a look at Job 12:12, "Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding.” It takes hardships, misunderstandings and maturity to gain a full life, to find who you are in the last pages.
I guess it comes down to how well we really know ourselves doesn’t it? Are our souls deep enough to swim in the deep end or are we going to insist on keeping them in the shallow end of the ocean? Can we be open enough with ourselves not to be afraid of failure, to fall or to be vulnerable? Can we let others in; let them see our real, weird, and beautiful selves? Or will we continue to lose ourselves in the abyss? Maybe we need to stop thinking of just ourselves in the pursuit of happiness. Maybe it’s not about us, but instead it’s about self-sacrifice, letting our light out. Mother Teresa had it right, “Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” So who are you? Who are you going to be? What does your story tell about who you are? Who will you become?
Remember the pen is in your hand. And don’t worry, “It’s OK. You just forgot who you are. Welcome back.” Now let's see what you can do!