Somebody once told me: “I challenge you to tell me who you are, without telling me what you do”. Challenge accepted…
I believe that you are not your profession (“I am a teacher.”), not your past (“I have always been like that.”) and definitely not your future (“Soon I will be…”). I also doubt that you are any of the achievements you had in your life (“I got a MBA degree.”). So what or who am I? I thought about this a lot and I really believe that it is one question that a lot of people try to answer for themselves but have similar problems with finding an answer for it.
You are not your profession but you are the person who you BECOME after experiencing all that what your profession, past or current life situation has to offer you. All the pain, all the joy, all the tension, all the anger, all the frustration and happiness you experienced over the course of executing your profession or job, living your life, running around doing your thing; all this summarizes you.
It became part of your existence, yet it is not you. Strange right?
The experience you gain in your life ONLY helps you to connect yourself with your deepest self. It tries to free your inner-most being and connects you with it. If you would lose your single and life-long job in the only profession you ever had, you would not be anything less than you were before.
You are still the same.
All you lost is a label you have put on yourself (and to stop labelling stuff is actually a good thing, because judging in any shape or form leads nowhere). Labels are more than often just a sign of the ego being involved. And sometimes ripping off these labels, you and others have put on you, is the single most important step to “finding” yourself.
Only when you no longer know what or who you are, this is the time when you are the closest to yourself. Being confused about not knowing yourself anymore is actually closer to the actual you than you think any external definition can describe you.
When we remove all definitions and labels for ourselves, we are just not used to not being able to rely on external definitions for ourselves anymore and that is when people find themselves struggling with “I don’t know who I am anymore!”-issues and mid-life crisis. It is a natural process and all part of the journey. Find your center and stay on path and enjoy the (sometimes bumpy) ride!
All the thoughts, words and action you undertake lead you to your strongest version of yourself.
Life will give you all the experiences (even multiple times if necessary) to learn to let yourself go of external definitions, labels and judgements. “Finding yourself” is actually a misconception, because it should actually mean “uncover yourself” or “remember yourself”.
We have oftentimes so many mental images and identities of ourselves in our head, because years of repetitive thoughts and social conditioning have forced us into a specific role, that it is VERY difficult to let go of all this. You could say that we start our life on this earth as a clean blanked and then other opinions are forced upon us.
We are told how to behave in certain situations and we are conditioned to react to specific events like others expect us to react. Sooner or later the blanket gets covered in mud. The once shiny blanket is no longer visible. All you see is glitter and dust upon it. The more stuff we accumulate on that blanket, the “tighter” one’s “identity and self-image” seems to be and the more difficult it will become to free yourself from all that again.
That is when life will give you guidance (in form of challenging life experiences), to step by step uncover your shiny, true self again and to let others see what it is that you are!
Life will always give you the next, perfect-fit challenge, it believes you are capable of doing, to just remove A LITTLE BIT of that stuff that you have accumulated on your “blanket”. And when you go through it, experience it and learn from it, you have uncovered a little bit of your true self for others around you to see. These glimpses of your inner-most being are the most magical ones and that is when happiness and love enter your life!
Long story short: you are everything that is left, when you have removed all judgements, labels and constraints. When you no longer hold yourself back and express yourself to the fullest at any time without caring about other’s opinions anymore, whatever then comes to the surface is what is you! Go “uncover yourself” and enjoy the journey!