By Emsie Martin
Sometimes so many things happen to one along the way that you don’t know yourself anymore.
There are changes everywhere, not only in the political, technological and economic spheres, but also in the social structures within which one moves: children grow up, adults grow old, old people die. And in your own life there are changes such as sickness, the death of a loved one, wrong decisions, disasters, trauma, financial crises, moving house and ageing. Or perhaps you’ve just become so busy with all sorts of things such as work, raising children and serving on committees that you’ve lost yourself in the process.
How do I find myself again? Dr ST Potgieter, a psychologist from Bellville, has some advice:
Give your past some meaning
However much you would like to change aspects and decisions in your past, you can’t do it. You can blame your parents and your childhood for things that went wrong in your life. You can blame yourself for wrong choices. You can be remorseful and be sorry about the wrong people that came into your life and misused you. But you cannot change the past. What you can do, however, is to place a perspective on the events, choices, people and incidents in your past. All the things in your past make up the story of your life.
The author C.S. Lewis said: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
Find a new dream for your life
You should find a new dream for your life, one that will give you purpose and direction. When you are totally desolate and in despair, day-to-day survival has already become difficult, let alone wanting to have dreams. You must get to a place where there are time and silence so that you can embark on the journey to your inner self.
Make your Creator your mainstay
Remember, when you feel hopeless, useless and a failure, it is not money, possessions, status and success that are most important, but whether you are giving your Heavenly Father all the honour and are obedient to Him. Perhaps this is where you should start looking for yourself again.
Put yourself at other people’s disposal
One can become so attuned to oneself that you get tunnel vision and focus only on your own life. All that matters then, are your needs, your concerns, your plans, your ideas and you lose your passion and love for other people. Perhaps you and I need to rediscover the importance of serviceability, and to actively go out and help other people and in the process find ourselves again.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” – Mahatma Gandhi.
Learn to know yourself
Write down your life’s story as if it was written by a biographer.
- Write down where you were born, your earliest memories, schooltimes, people who had an important influence on you, things that made you glad, things that made you sad.
- Be honest with yourself about your thoughts, ideas and dreams and the obstacles in the way of your dreams.
- What makes you unique and different from others?
- Make a list of your strong properties and your weak ones.
- What makes you feel good? Is it music, outdoor life, hanging out with friends?
- Where have you come in life so far? Are there things that you want differently?
By writing down your story, you get rid of what is deep inside your heart and every word is a step closer to rediscovering yourself.