You Do Not Find Yourself By Leaving

you don't find yourself by leavingThere is a saying that has always baffled me. “I need to go somewhere and find myself.” Seriously, I have never understood that one at all. You do not find yourself by leaving, you find yourself by living.

How can going somewhere else just magically allow you to “find yourself?” For starters, how do you know where to go to begin with, and if that saying is true, what happens if you go to the wrong place? What do you do then?

There is another old saying that goes, “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.” It is the same you, the same old you, just in a different place. The external environment changes but if the internal environment (your beliefs, judgments, fears, behaviors, etc.) stay the same, the new is going to quickly begin to look like the old.

Trust me; there have been times in my life where I have seriously contemplated the “geographic solution” i.e., moving somewhere new to escape some of life’s unpleasantness. Thankfully, I never did that, as now I understand that the messes that existed that I wanted to escape were messes that I fully created on my own. Sure I would have been in a new place with somewhat of a clean slate, but lacking any fundamental internal shifts within myself, I would be certain to create the same stuff over again in no time. It’s what we do, and it doesn’t take long for us to be looking for another place to “find ourselves” again.

Looking back, I can say that during those times I considered heading off for greener pastures, I myself was “lost” in varying degrees. Okay, maybe a lot lost. I remember one time in particular I drove to small mountain town one afternoon just to get away, from what I don’t know but I remember the sensation or belief that somewhere behind me I had left a lot of corpses and bodies along the way, things that I was not proud of, pieces of myself.

What I learned was that I had indeed lost myself in life. I had lost my core values, I had lost my sense of wonderment for life, I had lost my sense of self, I had lost my independence or at least the ability to be independent, and most certainly I had lost my direction in life. Sure, I might have been able to start somewhere new and rediscover those things but even then, I knew it was unlikely.

You do not find yourself by leaving, you find yourself by living and that is exactly what I did. I faced the things that I needed to face, I cleaned up the messes that I needed to clean up, and I made a huge effort to reclaim the lost pieces of myself, those corpses that I had left behind.

Some things I couldn’t fix as they were left so far in the past. I vowed to do my best to make certain that I had learned from those mistakes as not to repeat them and to live my life a little more consciously and with a little more integrity or impeccability if you will, to squelch any other future “dramatic noise” that I might have otherwise created for myself.

As for the rest, I made an effort to reacquaint myself with myself to rediscover who I really was. What I found was that I was still who I always was, just maybe suffering from the effects all of things that I did that went against my true nature or senses of right and wrong. Some of life’s games I chose to play better, or more fairly, and others, I chose to no longer play at all; and I mean in all parts of my life, both personal and professional.

I embraced my life as it was in an effort to love my life, which is something that I had not done for a very long time. I endured it for so long but never truly loved it. I learned the value of all life, large and small, not just my own – and grew to respect the value of life as a whole.

Lastly, I got honest with myself that I was truly miserable doing what I was doing job-wise, and though it would still be years before I could make that significant career change, I strove to hate what I was doing at least a little less.

We have a saying in our household about when we lose something and then eventually find it that typically goes… “Yup, it was right where I left it.” The same applies to our lives if we are lost… we never really lose ourselves as we are usually right where we left ourselves.

You do not find yourself by leaving, you find yourself by living and being exactly where you are right now. You can’t find yourself in the future somewhere else, you can only do that right now where you stand.

Start from there…

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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