Life is About Creating Yourself

Life is about finding yourself – is it, though?

For years I was caught up in this idea that I had to find myself. I was obsessed with trying to get back to this younger version of myself where I felt had peaked. I spent nights crying myself to sleep because I could not find myself. I spent days aimlessly wandering around trying to find this idealized idea and somehow make it fit into my life. But as we can all guess, that never actually happened. I never “found” myself the way everyone claimed I would. All this made me do was hold onto a past version of myself that no longer aligned with who I was or who I was becoming.

I held onto this idea because that’s all I ever knew. From Pinterest to Instagram to general conversations with friends, we were all led to believe that life was about finding yourself. We thought that one day we would stumble across this version of ourselves we once loved and immediately return to being that person. As I got older, I started to realize that all I was doing was holding myself back from enjoying the present and looking forward to the future – I had planted myself in the past and slowly but surely, I realized that it was not doing anything good for me.

Here’s the thing, life is not about finding yourself. When we ask people to find themselves, what exactly are they looking for? A version of themselves they used to be. It seems odd that the idea of finding ourselves suggest that we can g back to our past selves and embody them when undoubtedly, so much has changed.

So, I propose we change how we understand our life and who we are. Instead of aiming to find yourself, what if we made life about creating ourselves? What if we focused our energy on learning from the past and moving forward? What if we built who we wanted to be every single day?

Life is not about finding yourself. That idea implies that there was a better version of you that existed once upon a time and makes you forget that the best is yet to come. The best is yet to come if you create and build it.

Creating yourself leaves you with endless options of what you can create and who you can become, and those endless possibilities are one of the most beautiful gifts that life has to offer. Focus your energy on creating who you want to become and know that who you are right now is more than enough. Your past does not define you.

Personally, when I started shifting away from the idea of finding myself, I almost felt relieved. I felt like I had gained back some agency in my life like I was finally the one steering the ship. Creating yourself is about doing whatever the heck you want. It is about creating who you want to become and loving yourself in the process. Finding yourself might be great in some circumstances, but you have the option and agency to create who you want to be and the life you want to live.

Learning Over Knowing

Our society has created this notion that we should know everything, and reprimands us when we don’t know everything. There is more emphasis put on knowing things than learning.

All around us, people expect that we know everything, and we expect others to know everything as well. We expect our leaders to know what’s best for us. We expect our teachers to have all the answers.  We expect our parents to know what to do in every possible situation. But the part that affects us the most, and that affects our own personal growth is the idea that we expect ourselves to know everything. I am sure that we have all been in those situations where we think to ourselves, “why didn’t I know that? I should have known that”. Society has created this expectation and this pressure that makes us blame ourselves for not knowing something. Why does this pressure exist? Why do we get reprimanded by society for not knowing? One could point to the idea of “cancel culture”, and although I do disagree with that concept, it’s the underlying idea that’s what I want to examine. The concept underlying cancel culture is the idea of being politically incorrect. If there is one thing that the millennial and Gen Z will be known for its our emphasis and significance that we put on being politically correct. Please do not take this as me saying we shouldn’t be politically correct; I do believe we should. But what I have a problem with is the thing behind it that says that if you say something politically incorrect then that’s it, you have been “excommunicated” from society. Truthfully, that is not the type of society I want to live in. If someone says something wrong (within reason and limits), why don’t we educate them instead? If I say or do something wrong I would rather someone tell me, help me understand and acknowledge what I did wrong and what can be done to fix it or what can I learn from it. But our society praises the fact that we know. We get this high from knowing more than other people and calling out those who don’t know. That is not healthy and nor is it how we should be continuing to live.

Essentially, we have developed a culture where you are expected to know everything. But how does one even come to know anything? We have to learn it. Not knowing has become synonymous with the idea that we are lazy, uneducated or simply don’t care, when in reality we just might not know. We do not need to have all the answers, we are not meant to have all the answers. Our lives are meant to be able learning and uncovering things and trying to understand what the heck is going on – we should not have to know everything from day one.

We need to change how society views the idea of learning, learning is about communication and re-adjusting what you thought was possible. Learning is about questioning, exploring and taking time with concepts and ideas. We can’t know everything, and we shouldn’t be shamed for not knowing everything. Its time that society changes how we react and act with people, we need to change the culture to one of learning and turn away from a culture of knowing. A culture of knowing only destroys great ideas and innovations, while a culture of learning can spark that. Life should be about learning, and society needs to one that emphasizes learning experiences rather than knowing everything.