Don’t find yourself, create yourself

I’ve lent my ears to so many people my entire youth. These people came from different walks of life; some were younger than me, some were my age and some were way much older.

Recently, a friend came to me and said she is undecided of whether she should just give up working abroad and go home to start again or stay but filled with misery. I asked why. She gave myriads of reasons. But, it all boils down to one thing, she wants to find herself.

Being the kind of person who has spent quite a considerable amount of time listening to people’s grievances and remorse, this phrase “I want to find myself” has already become a cliché to me- or even more than that.

I am not an exemption. When things started to drift apart in my senior years in college, or that’s how I thought of it at the time, I decided to move to Bangkok where a different culture and environment would allow me to be on my own and “find myself”.

But now, I realized that it is pointless to try finding ourselves when in the first place we were not born with a set of traits laid before us to fulfill and live by. When we were born, our minds were like an empty bottle and the pages of our book of life were blank. The people and our environment may have poured on or jotted down something but it’s going to be us who will choose what to keep and fill in it. Even this idealism is also a cliché but still we tend to forget no matter how simple it is and rather choose to complicate things by dwelling on what we are not so happy about in life.

So, I told her, “Don’t try to find yourself ‘coz you will not find anything. Why? Because you are not what you are in the past.”

Most of the time, mistakes, humiliations, failures and negative experiences would make us feel we are the worst person in the world. We tend to feel this way because we are affected by how people perceive us. We are disappointed with ourselves because we wanted to be someone better than that.

We have no control over what people would think of us because it will definitely be influenced by their own life schemata and are likely biased to their own experiences and insecurities. So instead of being so affected by what people would have to say, let’s just take their words as an inspiration for us to become better. After all, they are in the same boat with us, also trying to paddle their way towards self discovery.

It is okay if we feel disappointed about ourselves for some time ‘coz it means we are aware that we’ve done wrong. However, staying that way will lead us to nowhere. The best thing about the future is that it offers us so much promises including the chance to envision who and what we wanted to be and all the opportunities for us to become that person.

Life is a never ending process of transformation.  What a shame it would be for a caterpillar to stay as a caterpillar when it can turn into a beautiful butterfly that can soar high and reach far distance – not to mention the hardship a butterfly has to undergo in getting out of its cocoon to let its body fluid strengthen its wings so it can fly.

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