Embarking on a journey of self-discovery often includes fear, confusion, misunderstanding, doubt and literally re-visiting all your past choices
Stumped you right? You must be thinking what exactly is the journey into self? I know you have heard about various other journeys, but into oneself, that is something new. Let me explain. You often go back to your memory lane by narrating certain incidents, places and occasions. When you do that you are just revisiting those events. We often try and forget the ugly parts of our life that make us what we are today. We often feel ashamed of those incidents and sometimes get angry and frustrated in thinking of those moments. Sometimes you even come up with solutions to the problems that frustrated you at the time. These are indeed the experiences that teach you lessons, shape your thinking process and finally make you what you are today.
Having said all this, the question still remains why go on a journey into self? Some of you might even say, ‘why trace the path again that has passed, and we have come over that period of time. Don’t remind me of that’. In that case let me ask you, ‘what is it like to be yourself?’ We all look happy and cheerful from outside,but all of us are pretty good at carrying the secret of our own loneliness.
I can see some puzzled faces. Let me help you here. I am trying to help you find yourself. Don’t be surprised. No I am not going to invade into your privacy, your inner self. I will just get you started with your journey of self-discovery that you never initiated. Some of you are quizzing “What is self-discovery?” and still some are bit angry, “What do you mean? We don’t know who we are?” Now don’t get agitated. I don’t intend to offend you. I am merely trying to help you understand, ‘what is it like to be yourself?
Discovery of self
If you look into a dictionary it defines self-discovery as “becoming aware of one’s true potential, character, motives, etc.” Let me tell you that the journey to find oneself is not an easy process. We all have lived pretty much being ignorant towards our true self for a long time. To me self-discovery means many things. It means finding my purpose in life. I am sure we all have one. It also means digging deep into my childhood. Sometimes not pleasant ones at that, and reliving those experiences: good or bad, that shaped me, my views, my actions that made me what I am today. It also means realizing my beliefs and living by them.
Embarking on a journey of self-discovery is, however, not always an easy job. It often includes fear, confusion, misunderstanding, doubt and literally re-visiting all your choices in life. It is like cleaning your mind, emotions and surroundings and that includes the people in your life too.
The whole process helped me take tough decisions. As a result of the process of self-discovery, I have been able to cut people out of my life who were just takers. They were takers because I let them to be. Realization hit me that some acquaintances did not deserve merit. So I did not entertain them or reciprocate.
In the process of my journey, I realized that somehow we learned to hide our inner-self right from childhood and learn to survive in the outside world. We get lots of help to do just that from our families and friends. They give their best to teach us socially acceptable behavior. Our education system is not far behind either to teach us technical and social skills needed to survive in this world. As a result, when we eventually face the material world as adults, we barely survive to maintain the status quo by any means.
During my journey into myself I realized that being true to my feelings also helped me get rid of much of my fears. I’m not trying to suggest that my fears do not exist within me any more and will never go away. They do exist, but now that I am more aware of my true feelings and I am becoming conscious of my real beliefs, they no longer have a stranglehold on my life. Instead, I have a hold on how they can or cannot affect me. I found out the hard way that we are usually our own worst enemy. The best thing to do is to stop being our own enemy. We can start by not lying to ourselves about our emotions, feelings and start accepting them and allow ourselves to feel whatever it is that we feel.
Finally I found out that the journey within self however, is not always an easy road. The effects of self-discovery could include happiness, fulfillment, clarity and maybe even enlightenment! What I know for sure is that the journey is worth taking despite the frequent fear, confusion, misunderstanding, doubt, and insecurity due to the literal re-visiting of all the choices I made and my experiences: some pleasant and some traumatic. Now that I have gone through the process, I am slowly becoming calmer, more aware and tolerant. I am learning how to pay attention to my feelings and understand myself better. Take it from me. This is one journey that is worth taking. I recommend you to take this this journey so you can better guide your children. How do you like the idea, parents?
Usha Pokharel is an educationist and author of several children’s books