“Use three words to describe yourself”. “Add bio here”. “Know who you are”. “Be yourself”. “Be true and authentic”. Posters and links and clips and banners, all suggesting that we be ourselves. Easy as that. Or is it not?
However emancipating to by-passers, these messages can cause a great deal of anxiety to those willing to dig deeper. If the key to whatever life’s purpose is, is unveiling yourself, then who are you and what are you about to set free?
SEE ALSO: How I Left Religion And Found God
I remember being in high school, about to graduate and thinking: I have found my passion, I have found my people, I have decided on exactly what my life is going to look like growing old. I remember having pictured what I would look like and how I would act when I was 40, 50 and even 70 years of age.
And then I changed my mind. And then I changed it again. And again. And again. And every time I would change, I would announce to myself that this was the very last time, that I was about to settle now. That this version of myself was the one. This was me. This was going to be me.
But it wasn’t. Overwhelmed by ambiguity, I looked outside for role models. But that didn’t make things any clearer. So I dove into my head and started making scenarios about who it is that I am. But this didn’t work either. Instead, it aggravated my feelings of unsettlement. The more I thought of it, the further away I moved from a soothing response.
Hobby of Overthinking
Caught up in life’s windmills, between decisions and choices and wins and losses, I found myself having developed a hobby of overthinking. From the moment I opened my eyes to the moment I fell asleep again, I would think.
People say that they would relive their early adulthood if they got a chance. But at the moment, I feel grateful to one day leave some of these experiences behind because becoming an adult, one is asked to instantly adjust to a new reality, a new schedule, a new demeanor, a new image. Furthermore, anxious as someone is to make it to a whole new world, he or she struggles to pretend that they have everything under control in order to prove themselves among older people who are more settled and experienced.
So how can a person adapt in a radically different setting but through their minds? How can they make it all work but by consciously strategizing their way out of intimidation?
The Path of Escape
If you do not identify with this line of action and things happen more naturally for you, you are very fortunate. If however you have found yourself developing a compulsion of overthinking every breathing minute of the day, I am here to promise you that there is a way out of it. Here are five questions that can help you emancipate yourself from your brain’s efforts to define you:
- What would happen if you dropped every effort to define yourself, even for an hour or so? Think of this scenario: you are by the beach, reading a book and thinking about some issue in your life. At some point you get up and get in the water. For a few moments there, as long as it takes your body to adjust to the temperature, you have left your issues on shore. Did you die? Or die you survive?
- How is overthinking benefiting your life? Have you found an answer on who you are or are you still having doubts? Does this process really comfort you or does it exaggerate your anxiety?
- How would knowing who you are enhance your quality of life? Would it enhance it or is this another highly publicized misconception? Think of people who claim to know exactly who they are. Are they open to new experiences? Are they open to new interactions? Are they welcoming to stimuli outside of the worlds they have built for themselves?
- Should you trade growth for safety? Finding six adjectives to describe yourself is like building a six-piece armor. Two adjectives to cover your legs, two to cover your hands, one for your core and one for your head. This is how adjectives make you safe. But do they let you grow? Under these metallic wraps, do you have space to flex and jump and dance and run?
- What is the common link in these questions: “who are you”, “what are you”, “how are you”, “where are you”? It consists of two words: you, are. So maybe the focus should be placed, not on the interrogative pronouns but on the verb and the subject. So whenever you get the chance, don’t ask yourself who you are. Just appreciate the fact that you are.
In an era of relentless competition and uncensored self-marketing through social media, the quest of adjectives to define ourselves has become a seemingly inescapable everyday practice.
But think about it. You are not really required to know. You can just let things be and grow and flow on their own. Even for a few minutes of your day. Just let things be, without trying to name them.
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