The Fallacy of ‘finding yourself’
People love to say that they are ‘finding themselves’, and while I, out of all people will certainly be the first to encourage all efforts made towards deeper levels of introspection and self-realization; I feel it is my responsibility to bring to your attention that the implication brought about by the mere fact that you say you are finding yourself, means that you already have an idea of what it is that you are looking for, thus entirely defeating the purpose of this whole exercise.
As soon as you say that you are trying to find something, it means that to an extent you know what you are looking for, so you have an idea of what it looks like, you have an idea of what it feels like and you have an idea of what it acts like – Otherwise, how else will you know when you have finally found it, right?
As you take the time to think about this deeper, you begin to understand that this pseudo self-realization brought about by this process of ‘finding yourself’ is just another trap set up by your ever-conniving Ego, causing you to chase your own tail – as it aims to defend itself and extend its own life, while you unknowingly prolong your own existential crisis.
You need to lose yourself
What a lot of people actually end up doing in their attempts to ‘find themselves’, is either trying to be the person that society/they think they should be or even better, the person that they consciously want to be. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with moving steadfastly towards your own personal aspirations (i.e creating yourself), if your main intention behind this ‘finding yourself’ process is to realize, become and express who you really and truly are to the best of your abilities; then, my dear friend, you should not even be spending your time finding yourself or creating yourself in the first place, no, not at all – what you need to do first and foremost is to completely and utterly lose yourself.
You need to let go
You need to let go, let go of your thoughts of those around you, let go of others people’s thoughts of you. Let go of your dreams and your aspirations, let go of your ‘karma’ and your destiny, let go of your perceived attributes and characteristics, let go of your traits, your views, your (often imposed) understanding of life and the world around you. You need to detach from all elements of Ego, possession, emotion and ambition. Forget about what you think you should be doing, where you should be going and who you should be being.
Then once you are completely empty, blank and void of all biases and prejudices, ideologies and doctrines, beliefs and ideas, goals and aspirations. Once you are free from all of the pressure put on you by both yourself and society. Once you have truly and earnestly lost yourself, only then can your true nature manifest into this reality and begin to express itself for what it really is.
So how will you know when you are finally there?
Firstly, you need to understand that there is no ‘there’ because this process is an ongoing journey. Secondly, you can’t know for certain anyway, because you don’t even know what you were looking for, to begin with.
But from my personal experience thus far, what I can assure you of is that it will definitely feel right. Yes, it may feel scary, conflicting, intimidating, new and significantly different but it will definitely feel right in the truest sense of the word – as long as your mind and heart are in the correct space.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”
― Lao Tzu
NB: Please note that Eminem is one of the greatest rappers to have ever graced the microphones of this planet and one of his most famous, influential and inspirational songs ever (Rolling Stones 50 greatest hip-hop songs of all time, 2012), was not, I repeat, was not titled “Find Yourself”