They tell you to find yourself as if you are missing.
People say life’s all about finding yourself, and that therein lies some
sort of cathartic enlightenment- and not only this, but that there is
an existential methodology behind it all. life is made out to be some
holy journey that only comes to ‘true’ fruition when we travel to an X
amount of places, when we ‘let go’ of X amount of things, and when we
fulfill a set of abstract criteria like ‘letting love become us’ or
‘dispersing light’ or something similarly esoteric (and beautiful, in
One would think this modern credo would yield a greater
quantity of happier youth, seeing as how positive psychology and an
ascended phenomenology would, apparently, equip us with a better
understanding of how to live a little better. ‘that’s what it’s about’,
they say. but what is ‘that’, and what is ‘it’? happiness? peace? life
itself, as a spiritual awakening of sorts?
The thing is if we do take
certain life-formulas to be true, such as positively-imbued semantic
postulations like ‘see the glass as half full, not empty’ or something
equally as mystic, then of course the good life seems a pretty simple
task (as long as we think we understand how to live it). but this too is
as false and detrimental as the cynic’s fatalistic view (perhaps) that
anything bad which can happen will happen.
The deceit in all of this Hope is not that it is wrong to hope, or
dream, or to strive and journey for things that we want which are yet
out of our reach; it is that this Hope mutates beyond a simple guiding
goal into a kind of panic-struck phenomenon, an added pressure to embody
that hope without bumps. take travel, for example.
Augustine of hippo
once said ‘the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one
page’. travel is associated with open-mindedness, that to travel far
equates to widening the horizons of the mind, and henceforth manifesting
in the individual who partakes in this activity. however there is a
difference between the normative suggestion for travel as an activity
which might benefit the traveler, and the righteous advocacy of travel
as the ONLY activity which might benefit the traveler (in terms of
open-mindedness, or something similar). One does not have to ‘go big’ or
travel far to learn about the inner workings of their given community
and make a difference (so to speak). Travel may be a consequence of
certain good intentions, but they are not a predicate to the actions of
every well-meaning intention.
It is easy to do something big, that is all.
It’s more romantic, more
obvious, more of a big fat Duh when it comes to realizing the purposes
It achieves the same thing that we might achieve by
repeating positive mantras as ‘I am beautiful no matter what’ as an
allegedly strong fight against the narrow trends of beauty that make the
forerunners of public media and other platforms.
That means- yes, by
all means utilize strength to feel strong in face of adversity, to
counteract self-diminishing obstacles, etc. but no- one does not need to
do what everybody says is most obvious to, you know, live well.
well-being, purpose, and all these alchemical life-goals have no need to
be standardized or institutionalized into little modern cults of the
When we constantly try to PROVE to the world
(maybe to ourselves) that we are on the ‘right path’, via displays of
calculated deeds, ‘cool’ ‘nice’ actions, and whatnot, we are only
creating more anxiety.
The truth is no matter how with it we make
ourselves out to be, fighting against ignorance, bigotry, patriarchy,
racism, homophobia, etc etc. we will also always suffer from lapses of
judgment (some more frequent or less frequent), and this does not make
us failed people. Attaching success to a hypothetical principle is what
makes us feel that we have failed, it is not failure itself that rips
open our hearts and sits itself there which makes us ‘fail’.
That my life is simple and unremarkable, for example, does not mean I
don’t have goals, or that there aren’t good things I want to do.
For the last two years my life
mostly consisted of eating and writing and socializing and reading sometimes and lots of sex and
not much else, quite frankly. and many, many, many times, i have felt
the guilt, I have felt demonized and looked down upon for how not
obvious my achievements are. and this has left me in a state of stasis-
this has left me with thoughts of ‘I’m good for nothing’ ‘I don’t have
what it takes’ etc. and this is completely useless.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that, to make something pragmatic of
life, it might do to just, treat mistakes and unfulfilled goals as just
that- mistakes and unfulfilled goals. they are not fatal blows to some
goldmine of wisdom which are inaccessible without some perfect following
of behaviour that make us the flashiest candidates for the ‘lived
If you can’t travel, then do the next best thing. don’t get
caught up in the fact that you can’t do something which you think you
are meant to do. just do the next best thing. do what you CAN do, which
is the next best thing.
You don’t have to love all people. you don’t
have to make your life exciting in the way books and tv and films make
You don’t have to look like anything specific to be
valuable. you don’t have to follow any of your peers’ or community’s
counsel on how to ‘find yourself’.
You are already found because you are yourself. this is not a matter
which need be complicated through extraneous rituals. you do not need to
find anything more about yourself than what you already know of
yourself. explore, learn, experiment, do whatever you want to do, but
realize that regardless of how well you can do any of the
aforementioned, it is not like you are any less of yourself because you
didn’t do certain things. of course when one is constantly told to ‘find
oneself’ one will feel that there is something missing which must be
attained. but there isn’t. everything is there, everything is here.
ordinary or unremarkable as it is (or beyond), it’s there.