Why is everyone asking this question? Everywhere I look, people are telling me that they need to figure out what is the point of their lives and who they really are.
But how strange is this? I cannot imagine a dog trying to figure out what it is. It is a dog, and it knows that. When you get a dog, you will not raise it like a car so by default it will never be confused. You could however choose to raise your dog like a cat if it’s easier for your life. But is it fair for the dog? I do not think so.
However, what happened to all those humans? That is questioning their identity? Were they raised as something other than who they really are?
Well, the short answer is yes. For many generations, people were not raising their children for who they really are, they were raising them for who they wanted them to be.
When I started figuring out life a bit more, I was always wondering how were the parents of the previous generations able to raise so many children, and nowadays we need 3 nannies for each kid. Well, it is very simple, because they were raising themselves.
If they had 4 children, they made sure they raised 4 copies of themselves. A fearful parent would make sure to raise fearful children, the religious parent would raise religious children, the unemotional parent would raise unemotional children, the unorganized parent raises unorganized kids, the doctor raises doctors, and so on.
But what happens if you are a dancer raised as a lawyer? What happens to your personality, your identity, and your life? Basically, you’re a dog living your life as a cat. You feel something is off, but you do not know what it is, because being a cat is all you know.
The parenting of the previous era has obliged so many people to live a life of frustration and dissatisfaction. A life of complaining and arguing but without any knowledge of why. You cannot understand why you are dissatisfied with your life, especially if in theory, you have everything. A good job, a decent partner, and healthy kids. Going back to the dog analogy, when raised as a cat everything is provided to the dog, except its own nature. Its protective nature, the desire for the outdoors, the independence, the playfulness. Yes, it will be a dog that is well taken care of, but it will most certainly be an unhappy dog.
But what can all those people do? Well first, they have to see the truth, and this is the first step to a whole new life. They must accept and grieve the life they never lived. Secondly, they have to grieve the parenting they wished they had and see It for what it is. They were raised to suit their family’s culture, desires, values, and traditions, whether this was according to their own individual design, did not matter. Thirdly, they need to take the first step towards re-parenting themselves.
This is where the question: “Who am I?” comes along. A parent’s role is to help the child figure out who it is, but when the parent imposes their own identity on us, we lose track of who we really are.
It is easier for me to explain this by going back to my own story. I found myself back in 2012, almost 10 years ago with a huge question hovering inside of me: who the hell am I? I literally had no clue. It was weird but at the same funny moment, when I realized I did not even know what my favorite food was, I definitely had no clue what my dreams were, and I had no idea what my needs were. I did not know what clothes I like to wear, what do I like to do for fun, what kind of people I like hanging out with, and also why do people like hanging out with me.
How can someone at the age of 26 not know all those things? What was happening to me all those years? When I look back now, it feels like I was sleeping, more like sleepwalking, and then suddenly, one day I tripped somewhere and woke up. I honestly and genuinely hated the process. Even now sometimes when I look back, I am so angry with myself at times for agreeing to things that I do not like, choosing partners that I did not love, working in places that did not satisfy me, or even dressing up in ways that I really hate. But why? Why am I so angry? The truth is, that I can see my full potential right now, and I can realize what I could have been.
But then I give myself a pat in the back and say: “you have become the best possible version of yourself, taking into consideration the fact that you started figuring things out so late in your life.”
I still discover things about myself that surprise me each day. I have now learned to love the process. I am like an onion with all those different layers that you need to take off every time you peel one.
The harder part of the process is to actually accept the things you discover, especially when they are so different from the things you have learned. It feels like a betrayal, but actually not accepting them is betraying your true self.
Going back to my process, it was long and hard. There were times when nothing felt good and I was almost ready to give up and just go back to all those familiar things I had learned that were easy and comfortable, but thankfully I did not. I continued digging and asking myself more questions. Along the way, I discovered amazing people who held my hand throughout this process, some great friends that have become my family, and some more lost souls that I chose to walk my new path with.
I learned some amazing tools that I wish I knew earlier on in my life, I also learned to appreciate myself and forgive myself for taking so much time to figure things out. I stopped allowing people to dictate to me what is right and what is wrong and to tell me that I am lost. I started building my own businesses and I stood on my two own feet. I did learn the most important form of love, which is self-love.
I learned that in the end of each day the one person that will sleep with you every night until the end of your life is yourself. It is yourself that you need to take care of, even if others call you selfish. Yes, sometimes, you need to be “selfish”, because “selfish” or self-centered people are actually the nicest people in this world. They love themselves so much that they want to do anything to please themselves. A selfish person will give to satisfy themselves, so they will not accept anything in return. The selfish person will perform at their best at work because they know they can.
And this is where I am today. I am being “selfish”. I am practicing self-love to be able to understand myself more and more each day, but most importantly in order to not allow others to tell me who am I.
So, for all of you reading this, you are not alone. We are all on the same journey, and the destination does not matter, the journey is what matters. Like little children opening up into this unknown world, we will open up in the same unknown which is called I am.