The journey to find ourself is a persistent cultural trope. And with good reason – with each generation that succeeds, there is another generation who follows them and needs to take their own journeys. And while the goal is the same, people pursue it through many different means.
There are people who look for themselves by saying, “Yes.” They say “yes” to everything that interests them, and pursue themselves through new experiences. By learning what they like, and what they don’t like, they attempt to find themselves.
There are those who look for themselves by saying, “No.” Some give so much of themselves that they lose their sense of self in the pursuit of helping others. By saying “no,” they free themselves from the perception that they must help others, which gives them time for their own journeys of self-discovery.
There are those who look for themselves in solitude – with the quiet and the isolation allowing them to process what they think and feel.
There are those who look for themselves in others – and revel in immersing themselves in cultures and communities.
And there are those whose journeys are complex and multifaceted. Some may immerse themselves in saying “Yes,” but make time for solitary moments of self-reflection. Others may revel in their interactions with others, but maintain healthy boundaries by learning when to tell people, “No.” Some may be immersive and explorative, while others may need boundaries and solitude.
There are many different kinds of people in the world, and many different paths we could take in search of finding who we are. I don’t believe there is any “one true path” that we all must take, but many open for us to explore. And while there are roads that lead to ruin, I believe that there are fewer of those than our fears and insecurities lead us to believe.
They say, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and the journey in search of our self is perhaps as complex as any we’ll make in our lives. But like the quote says, these journeys are long, but can be completed one step at a time.
So step. Step with faith. Step with confidence. But step forward – your journey awaits.