Sometimes, to discover your true self, you need to be put in situations where you feel no support and can relate to nothing. Only then, will you know what you are really made of.
I would be making a wild claim if I say that the situations below have revealed to me my true self, but I can say that combined, they have served as a very helpful thermometer on my journey of self-discovery.
1. As an introvert in an extroverted world:
I am currently a self-proclaimed extroverted introvert and until I discovered that my situation had a legitimate description and that 30% of the population is just like me, I grew up thinking that there was something seriously wrong with me. I’ve been called the two extremes. There’s the arrogant and aloof persona and the shy and timid one.Only then, will you know what you are really made of. Click To Tweet
One thing people don’t get about me is that I am not the biggest fan of weddings. Well, the idea of celebrating the holy matrimony of two people makes sense to me and all and I even kind of like it. I just can’t wrap my head around why I, as a guest, am expected to get down and dirty on the dance floor with mega-sized subwoofers blasting painfully loud music right into my ears, THE ENTIRE NIGHT!
What’s wrong with light background music, a LITTLE dancing, and genuine conversations? Consider me confused.
2. As a woman society doesn’t really want me to be:
Newsflash: I do not fit the media’s stereotype of the perfect woman. I am not concerned about whether or not I’ll be a mother one day, and I love baby animals more than I do kids. I am not into jewelry or makeup or gossiping about the latest trends on the market. I have trouble committing to wearing clothes that match, and as far as I remember, I haven’t gone shopping in more than 5 months. That doesn’t mean that I’m frumpy, ungraceful, self-denying or apathetic. I wouldn’t fit that stereotype either.Let’s just say again that I am unique, just like everybody else. Click To Tweet
Let’s just say again that I am unique, just like everybody else. I just happen not to deliver on the dictation of dichotomous thinking. I have worked so hard and lived this long to learn to accept myself just the way I am.
3. As a creative writer in a materialistic industry:
Driven by passion and curiosity, I took up a job in the creative industry a few years after I had left teaching and academia. I wanted to see what the real world of work was really like and I needed to sharpen my professional and communication skills. I knew this job didn’t entirely match my values but my practical thinking led me to the conclusion that if I waited for circumstances to be perfect, I may never get any of my goals met or any of my old ways changed.Newsflash: I do not fit the media's stereotype of the perfect woman. Click To Tweet
However, one year into my job and I still can’t shake off the thought that I am further feeding a culture of consumerism and that the only cause my daily 8 hours of work are serving is the glamorization of stuff and things.
Yikes! The good news is, however, that I made up for this lack of a higher purpose in my job by volunteering at an NGO and everybody’s happy now.
4. As a person trying to teach students from a curriculum I didn’t believe in:
I taught stuff I didn’t entirely believe to students who understandably couldn’t see the benefit of what they were forced to learn. As I was just kicking off my career, I did not have a say about the content I was teaching. I was not expected to ask about its objectives, but rather to make sure that I delivered it in whole and to the best of my knowledge and abilities.
I took that job of mine more seriously than I should have, not realizing that it just wasn’t for me – a person who had to identify totally with what she was doing. I worked 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, whiling away my days in lesson preparation, marking and generally selling my soul to what I still think was a noble cause.
But was it for me? Not really.
5. As an inhabitant of this life, generally:
This I know for a fact, that we do not belong in this world, and that we are not supposed to feel like we do because there will come a point when it is time to go and leave it all behind. This makes me feel at ease whenever I feel I don’t fit in somewhere.
I think to myself that if life itself is temporary, then any given situation I might feel trapped in must be too short to be a real problem. This thought makes me accept whatever life throws at me.This makes me feel at ease whenever I feel I don’t fit in somewhere. Click To Tweet
At the end of the day, this body of mine is not built to last and this life I have been given is not designed for immortality. Every situation we find ourselves living is a fleeting representation of the temporariness of life itself.
So, I do my best to enjoy the many good life moments that are interspersed with situations like the above that allow me an opportunity to grow and become a better version of myself.