So you’ve admitted to yourself that you may not really know who you are anymore. Yes, you love your kids and your job doesn’t completely suck, but who YOU are is up for question these days.
Like we said in Part One of this blog, you’re not alone. In fact, if you were to get together with a group of your girlfriends and really get honest and vulnerable with each other, we’re guessing that most, if not all, of them would echo the sentiment.
But how do you go about figuring out who you are again? Well, if Part One is about realizing that you aren’t living as your authentic self, Part Two is about discovering who that person was when you last felt like you knew. Easier said than done, of course, but you have to have a jumping off point and it’s not happening where you’re presently stuck, right?
Thank the Internet gods, there are countless articles out there telling you what to do. They are plentiful and easy to find, so one would think that we’d all just Google the answer and be on our merry ways. And, we’re not about to knock whatever works for someone, but to be honest, some of the suggestions out there just seem like exercises in futility to us. Here are some we found less than helpful:
- Spend time doing something you enjoy – umm, if you knew what you enjoyed, you wouldn’t be in this spot, right?
- Think back to a time when you felt like “yourself” – let’s be real, for many of us, it’s been so long that we felt that way that we’re not even sure when that was. Moreover, if we knew what “ourself” felt like, we wouldn’t be questioning who that was.
- “Remember what you love to do and go do it!” – you mean like not having to get up in the middle of the night to pee and just being able to sleep right through? That’s something I used to love to do. This suggestion is just lame.
- “Figure out what makes you happy” – that is verbatim from a self-help site. Really? That sounds so easy. Now why didn’t I think of that?
- “Read books, see films, and journal how you feel about them.” – I almost spit out my coffee when I read this one.
- “Take yourself out on coffee dates…” – you’ve got to be kidding me, right?
- “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others.” – it’s a nice quote and we TOTALLY advocate being a service to others, but, sister, that’s likely what landed you here in the first place. It’s time to do you.
- “Ask around and find a great hairdresser and work with them to find a hairstyle that really expresses who you are today.” – I think I just threw up in mouth a little bit.
Trust us, we aren’t the “find yourself” gurus, but, practically speaking, a new hairstyle is not going to help you suddenly find yourself. And while reading a book and journaling how you feel about it might be helpful, ain’t nobody got time for that. And “figure out what makes you happy”? We can’t even.
So what’s the magical formula for rediscovering yourself? Where’s the workbook and the checklist? Which online quiz will reveal the key? What $4,000 seminar that’s only offered twice a year in France and L.A. will unlock the simple path to enlightenment?
There is none.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s just not that easy. And it’s different for everyone. But here are a few things we’ve found that worked for us and for some of the people around us.
- What made you happy as a child? We’re talking like when you were 4 or 5 and the world hadn’t begun to tell you who to be. When you were completely unadulterated, what was your favorite activity? Did you love to color? Maybe you should get yourself some markers and a color book (and don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t own those!) and spend some quality time with them or take an art class. Did you love to play dress up or beauty parlor? Maybe a shift if career focus to fashion or cosmetology is appropriate. We have a friend that spent HOURS setting up the rooms in her dollhouses, arranging the furniture just so. She’s now considering a move to interior design.
- Go to a large bookstore like Barnes & Noble and spend some time in the front section of the store where all the coffee table books are. Which ones do you gravitate toward? Nature? Architecture? Fashion? Travel? There are some tremendous clues to be found here as to where your heart lies.
- Strip away all the labels that “define” you these days – mother, spouse/partner, [insert job title here], etc. Before you were any of those, who was that girl? Did she get lost in books? Was she an athlete? Was she the one crafting or baking or building or…? How often you indulge yourself in those activities today?
- Look at a college course catalog. If you had absolutely no restrictions on you and you were picking courses solely for your pleasure, what courses would you take? Art? Nursing? Writing? Welding?
These are just a sampling of ways to pull away the layers of the the person you currently are and get to the person within. There are certainly others and, if you’ve found one that really works for you, we’d love to hear about it!
For now, remember that you’ve got layers (like an onion or a parfait!), and it’s probably going to take some time to get to some of those deeper ones. But she’s there…inside you…waiting. Let’s go get her!
And be sure to stay tuned for Part Three where we’ll explore how we get derailed from living as our true selves!