It is up to us to find out who we are, no one else holds that knowledge. Externally we find there are many manners in which to live and learn; There are teachers, religions, books, and ways of living which can serve as a guide. If we are able to use them as such, we can take what practices enable us to live joyfully and leave the rest. But if we look at another’s path as the ultimate path, we eventually find the path lacking in one way or another, not perfectly completing the picture of happiness and wholeness.
I have experienced this personally in my life as a cycle of inner-connection, growth, searching externally, suffering, and a re-connection and homecoming. Let me explain, In the times we feel most connected to the inner voice, the inner knowing of walking within our correct path, there is a deep connection felt, a synchronized movement and flow through life. This spurts growth. Then, we may find an outside source, someone we respect deeply, revere, or has something we want, be it peace, serenity, sobriety, or joy. Instead of sticking to our path and following our inner voice, we try theirs, as if trying on a pair of jeans or test driving a new car. We think, “Well, they seem to enjoy it so I might too”. Soon after we begin to walk this path, we realize this way of going about life didn’t bring us the same joy it did the other person. We tried, it didn’t work, and now we suffer. We suffer from living a life outside of our values, outside of what is most important to us. We are back again, searching diligently for what makes us happy with options of looking yet again to the external or diving deeply into what it is we find important. It is up to you to find out who you are. No one else knows. No one else can tell you.
Questions I recommend asking yourself:
- What is most important to you?
- What do you value?
- How are you spending your time?
- What would it look like to live in accordance with your values?
- What would it feel like?
- What is holding you back?
- What can you let go of? Possessions, relationships, behaviors?
- What behaviors are supporting you in living in accordance with your values?
- What people are supporting you?
Personally, this has been a long and arduous journey. As I move to a new place and create new habits and ways of living, I am looking seriously at my old, habitual ways of living and reflecting on these questions. I now have the opportunity to rid myself of the old and replace them with something different, something more, or possibly less, in line with my values. I feel drawn to follow the external easy path, which seemingly works for others. But will they work for me? Time and experience has shown that no, these external and contradictory behaviors which make others happy will not bring me the same happiness as they do others. So I must go about replacing these behaviors mindfully instead of at the will or influence of others. In doing this I become more of myself, pursuing my own interests and way of looking at the world while developing inner-strength. This is wonderful and also difficult. This path is unknown. There are no guides to show me what I must do next or what choices I need to make to be happy, healthy and whole. There are only reminders coming from within to continue defining what is right for me. All I have to do is listen and act accordingly.
It is much easier to look externally for answers; To trust others instead of your own inner-voice. Yet we know what is lost when the inner-voice is ignored: discomfort, agony, and suffering.
Keep listening to yourself, learning about yourself, and acting accordingly. This is the only way.
Self Reflection Bonus: Who Am I Compass
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