Stop Trying To Find Yourself & Do This Instead

[A version of this post originally appeared in my FREE #GetGutsy e-newsletter earlier this summer. It resonated with my newsletter subscribers, so I wanted to make it public for all to read. Subscribe for twice-monthly emails filled with more inspiration, ideas and action items to get out of your comfort zone.]

Stop trying to find yourself

Stop trying to find yourself. Photo.

A couple of months ago, I attended my cousin’s wedding. It was a beautiful affair from start to finish, but what really struck me was something the priest said during the ceremony.

I’m not a particularly religious person, but his words resonated with me so much that I pulled out my iPhone (in the middle of church…the horror!) and quickly jotted down this phrase in my notes:

Don’t discover yourself. Build yourself.

How many times have you either told someone or thought to yourself, “I really just need to find myself.”

Uh…guilty as charged.

Call it part of the quarter-life crisis or just a natural part of growing up, but whatever it is, it’s likely a phrase we’ve all uttered at one point or another.

Whether you’re fresh out of college or years into building a family and career, we all experience uncertainty. We question if we’re on the right path. We wonder if there’s something more out there for us.

However, in attempting to find ourselves or discover our passions, we sometimes forget about or lose an important piece of who we are.

Think about it this way: during the ceremony, the priest gave a great example of how, as people, we are multi-layered. There’s a layer our parents help shape over the years, a layer our friends shape, our bosses, our significant others and so on. And when people go out there to “find themselves,” they strip away those layers, desperate to find something, anything, in hopes of discovering who they are.

But once they peel back all those layers, they are left with…NOTHING.

Because people cannot “find” themselves. And we certainly can’t do it alone.

But, what people can be is built. And we are built by experiences and by the people who surround us in our lives. Those layers are building blocks, laying a foundation to help us find our way.

So instead of trying to “find yourself,” change your thinking. Embrace all of your layers, even the messy and confusing ones. Those imperfections are what make you who you are. They shape your future and help you discover your path.

Remember: your journey is not a perfectly straight line from point A to point B. It’s long and winding, full of unexpected twists and turns.

And that’s what makes it completely beautiful and unique to you, and you only.

What do you think…are you finding yourself or building yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below.