black man self reflecting

How to Find Your True Self

I hope you favorite book is The Alchemist because it surely is mine. I think one of the most important thing we can do with our lives is find out who we truly are. That means we will have to go on a journey. It could be a journey in a sense of location, or a journey of mind and emotion. That seems to be my journey as of late. It’s a question of who am I… really?

Taking the Initial Steps

As of now I don’t really feel like a contributing human to civilization. I’m too caught up in emotion and thought of who I truly am. It’s a bit more difficult than asking the 10 year old me what I want to be when I grow up. It’s taken a lot of energy to figure it out. One might see this as a selfish endeavor, but I would argue differently. I believe that finding my true self will help me be a better person in all aspects of life. That could be career, relationships, family, friends, and more.

I’ve spent the last year breaking down and shedding things that no longer serve me. More importantly, beliefs and thoughts that no longer serve me. I’ve learned so much in the last year. I can count on my fingers and toes all the mistakes I’ve made, and those I will continue to make in order to find the real Andrew. While I’m removing things that cause harm and fear, I’m building up my resources for love. I’m finding who I aspire to be and looking to become that. Life is a crazy thing. More times than not, I feel a bit lowly and meek because of this journey, but life also teaches us that we have personal power. I think society makes us try to tap into that power 24/7, without showing any vulnerability. That can be exhausting. I hope to continue this journey on a positive road. A road in which I treat myself with kindness and compassion for past mistakes and build a future with the same love.

The Past is the Past, You Have to Leave it Behind

Do I have regrets? Of course, I do. I’ve been reading The Power of Regret by Daniel H. Pink. The lesson I took away from the book was that regrets are essential to help influence better behavior in the future. I believe that’s exactly what’s happening when I look back on the past. I’m not perfect. I look at the past with dreams to relive it. What I should be doing is taking the essence of what I enjoyed in the past and try to recreate them in the future. That way if the same predicament were to come up again, I know what decision to make. I know how to better treat people. More importantly, I know not to take people that I love for granted.

The way for me to do this is to make sense of what has happened in the past. A lot of are issues revolve around unresolved trauma. Whether we like it or not, our traumas from the past form how we live today. If we don’t want trauma to have this type of control over us, the best thing we can do is be aware of how they are affecting us. Our true selves are found in consciousness. Most of our actions are more like unconscious reactions. The more we can make conscious decisions, the more we’ll see our true selves. I’ve come to realize that covering up these pains doesn’t do us any good.

It Starts with Childhood

Learning from the past may mean going all the way back to childhood. We were never taught to really process emotions, so finding Lil Drew can be beneficial. I watch my nephews and I’m kind of jealous because this is the only time in life when they can be unapologetically them. They eat when they are hungry. They sleep when they are tired. As they get older, society will construct them into doing and being things that are against their nature. They will receive societal influences that will no longer serve them. I hope, at a younger age, they’ll be able to reflect on a more consistent basis that I have. It’s kind of like cleaning. When you leave a stain without tending to it, it’ll get harder and harder to clean. As we get older, it gets harder to shake off our critical ideas of ourselves, negative personality traits, and develop our own values and beliefs independent of what the world tells us.

Finding Meaning in the Storm

After looking backwards to find my future, the next thing that I need to do is find meaning in everything that I do. I’ve learn that suffering isn’t caused by the circumstance, but a lack of reasoning behind it. VIktor Frankl actually says it way better than I can. “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” I’ve found my purpose in life. My next step is to live it. If You don’t know, my purpose is to unlock the potential of those around me. I want to focus myself to be of service to those who are underrepresented and marginalized. It’s all about putting it into action. If Mr. Frankl can survive a concentration with the mindset of finding purpose in his situation. I can survive anything that I am going through.

The reason why I want to find purpose in helping other people is because I lose my sense of self. I don’t have to ruminate over who I am if I set my heart on being kind and compassion to those who aren’t able to reciprocate. Giving our lives for others is the ultimate sense of purpose. Of course, I want to create goals for myself, but it would be better if these goals reached beyond me and helped people in hopes to elevate humankind. These are the objectives that I wish to work towards.

Concentrating on What You Want

It’s very easy to go into a negative mindset when trying to figure out life. I’ve been a victim of it. Instead of looking toward the things that I want, I ruminate on the things that I don’t want. That needs to change. Wanting things is actually pretty scary. Wanting love from all aspects in life is scary. It’s scary because I might get hurt. Wanting new things also makes a disconnection from our old self. Separating your old self from your new self feels like very tough velcro detaching. I felt like I have truly lost because I’ve wanted. Those mistakes make me fearful of actually making them again. There’s no guarantee that I will get what I want.

Knowing what we want and desire also puts the power back in our hands. We are the architects of our lives. We essentially level up when we feel this in our soul. Inherently, we should know that we have this power, but external circumstances makes us forget. There is also an inner critic telling us what we can and cannot due as well. If you aren’t aware of you inner critic, it might remind of you your parents if they weren’t all that supportive. If you did have supportive parents, your inner critic act as the parent you wish you never had. This inner critic tells us that we aren’t good enough. We should be ashamed of ourselves for even going on this journey, not knowing what we want from life. At some point, we have to grow up and decide for ourselves who we want to become as people.

Finding My Tribe

The biggest regret that I have from last year is losing my tribe. They know who they are. It’s not that I lost them because I can definitely grab my phone and text, tweet, or call any of them. It’s the fact that I didn’t have friendships as a core tenant in my decision making, and it caused me to make decisions I wish I had not. That’s the biggest regret. As we talked about earlier, regrets are essential to learn from in hopes to never make that mistake again. When it comes to you tribe, find people who make you happy. People who energize you, light you up, and support you when going through tough times. I want to hang around people who inspire me to be the best version of myself. The keyword is myself. I don’t need anyone to shape me into who they want me to be. I want to be loved for being myself, and I know that type of love will be returned from me. My friends should be my family. Family doesn’t have to be people who are blood related to me. My definition of family is people who love and are loved unconditionally.