Yesterday I came to a point where I felt very anxious, because I realized that I don't even know myself that well, I don't know what I really like or want in life, I feel like I have no identity, and I'm worried about choosing a path in life that isn't satisfying enough. I look everywhere around me and notice guys my age or younger doing stuff they love, being successful and having this own identity and for a brief moment I desire to be them, I'm always imagining myself in those circumstances even though it may not be what I really want. All these years I've been disconnected from the present moment. I want to be passionate about something and BE someone, you know, not as in "succeed in life" or figure out my future (I'm 22) but as in having this identity where I know myself and everyone around me does too, know what I'm good at, etc. I frequently look at lots of guys around me and feel I want to be them, I want to have their friends, their experiences, their bodies, their voices, their styles, their success... it happens all the time! When in reality they may not be something my heart desires to be! And when listening to reaally good music or seeing successful young artists with a style I like and all the things mentioned before, I wanna be like them too! When in reality fame may not be something I'm interested in. It kind of feels like jealousy, I feel too disconnected from myself. I don't know what I want my personality to be, I don't know what I want my style to be, I don't know what I want my hobbies to be, etc. I also want to mention, I feel like I am a different person with however I am spending my time, I may be different around girls, different around boys, I've even noticed my voice changes depending on who I am around with! Talk about having no identity...
Sometimes many of my desires also come from a place of just wanting to impress people.
I was reading you post and it felt like if I had written it when I was you age.
I normally don't write here, I don't have much time, but I really feel the urge to try to help you a little bit.
I'm only 5 years older than you, but I've been through a lot. When I was exactly 22 my life fell apart and everything I thought that defined me disappeared: I had to leave college, my friends moved to different parts of the world, the financial crisis hit my family in the most brutal way and I was trapped in a life I loathed with all my heart. I had to stay home and be the emotional support, but I felt my time was slipping away.
Then came the disassociation.
My days were repetitive routines of self-pity and daydreaming about -as you've said- things that I envied from others. I wanted to be a different person so bad I was literally blocking all good things that could happen to me. I didn't feel myself, I felt like a stranger in my own skin and I couldn't stand my own reflection. It was hell.
Around 2015 I had an emotional crisis that made me think I was going to die, not in a suicidal way, but as if something told me death was close. And it was close, but not as I thought.
The pain came as a purification and all those things you've described died. Then, and only then, I discovered who I am.
I want to tell you that you have all the time in the world to figure it out. Your worst enemy is that feeling of 'I don't have time, I'm getting older, everyone does this, everyone is doing that, I'm lost, I'm nothing, I'm disappointing...'. That's your ego comparing itself to the life of other people, and that never works. It only your mind and what the society expects, not what you must be.
I felt different depending on the situation or the people around me too. I wanted to impress rather than be myself. I was scare of being less than others. I had a little bit of social anxiety.
Your first goal is to empty yourself of the dreams of others. You don't see it now, but you stand in an excellent starting point. Stop comparing yourself, become a clean white canvas and love that. Love yourself just because you exist. You are, and that's all that matters. It's imperative: you must love yourself, even your emptiness, even your shadow.
You don't have to be like the rest, you can appreciate things you like about other people, but you have the opportunity of being original, of being you.
Read, read, read. That saved my life. That will make you sharpen the desire about who you want to become.
Remember: this is an endless becoming, we are empty vessels and if we stop evolving and refilling ourselves we die in a static life.
Stop focusing on what you don't have and stop wasting your time daydreaming. I wish someone had told me that before, but now I see all I had to go through was for a reason and made me better.
I'm in a rush, so sorry in advance if there are any grammatical mistake: English is not my native language and I have my mind somewhere else today.
If you want I can be more specific about whatever you are interested about, but right now I live in a place with no internet -for the moment- and I read the forums only twice a week, more or less.
I promise everything will get better.
I've realized I've done too much blahblahblah.
As I said, I don't have time, but soon I'll tell you all kind of practical things I did.
Meditate! It's the best help you will ever have.
Are you the intellectual type? Philosophy helped me a lot.
There's an exercise, write down all kind of things you admire in others. Those things are inside yourself, if they weren't you would not be able to see them.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply, it's really comforting to see someone else has been there. I love meditation and I forget how much it helps me, I should do it daily. Every small detail I envy from other people has something in common, in the end it's something I would like to have. I guess the universe knows exactly what I like and who I want to become, so I should relax and let go of everything right? I can relate to everthing you said. I'm scared of not being interesting enough being myself and forgetting about others. I guess there's a catch here, the more perfect I believe I am just the way things are, the more I truly become it and ressemble those things I admire, no?
After all this time I've come to the same conclusion as you: the universe knows and our only work is to be happy, to love ourselves and let go of all the goals, expectations and nonsense.
Accepting oneself right now, even with the things we don't like, is the fastest way to be who we truly are. I don't know if this happens to you, but when I meditate I lose all my sense of identity, and those moments are pure bliss, then, why we worry so much about being 'someone'? It's a paradox, but when we feel the unity with the universe and forget about the rest two things happen: we start being true to our true self and gain identity and we start being magnetic to other people. But when we compare ourselves with other people and focus on our lacks and our personality we become shady and lose our self-confidence.
I was unable to be in the now, I always daydreamed about stupid situations that were and are unlikely to happen. All the good things and all the solutions came when I gave up and accepted my now, when I meditated and accepted me. One fun manifestation I had was my skin. When I was a teenager I had acne and since then I hated my skin, because it had a couple of scars and a terrible complexion. I was so obsessed that it even affected my social life. I got tired, I gave up and bam, my skin changed completely in a week. My obsession and negative thoughts were the ones that kept me from my desire. The same mechanism works for everything else.
You have all those good things you want inside yourself, but you must let them emerge. When you interact with others and can't stop wondering what they think about you, you automatically act weird, I know it because it happened to me. And I got home and I hated myself for being such a weirdo, feeding the vicious circle.
It's good to find things you like in other people, but do it in appreciation and knowing you can have them, never envying or you will be pushing your desires away. There's a subtle difference, so be careful and only do this kind of exercises when you are in a good mood.
Let me tell you something about my friends. A couple of years ago I thought I was a failure because I had just figured out what my talent was and what I wanted to do in life and my friends were already established in their careers. Well, two of my closest friends have quit their jobs and are on their personal quests to find out who they really are, another one has leaved it all behind because she has found out religion is her path, and I have a couple of them in therapy because they hate their jobs and their careers and feel trapped. And I thought I was the one that was late, when it was quite the contrary. You are in an excellent position to get what you want earlier than other people, if you work on yourself and your desires, forgetting about what everyone else does.
And even if we fail, who cares. My mother reinvented herself in her 50's due to the crisis, it taught me that this is a never ending precess and we should be enjoying every single minute of it.
Sometimes we've gathered so much information that we collapse because it looks like choosing a path will be closing the remaining doors. Choosing actually opens your way to new experiences and it gives you the power to integrate all the things you would like to be or do or have.
It can happen that we've put so much expectation and have dreamed situations is such an utopic way that we can feel fear when it comes time to actually live the life we are creating. Then, again, meditation is your best friend, it helps to overcome those fears and to remember who you really are.
If you want to find your purpose think about it as two different things: one is what you want to offer to yourself and the other is what you want to offer to the world. When you are in your happiest mood, who you are in that moment? What do you have to offer then? What moves you? What makes you feel invincible? Your true self can be found there. You can visualize a moment in your life when you have been really happy, and try to feel that emotion, the only important thing is the emotion, the situation is only a tool here. This is why our only work is to be happy, because then we are the best version or ourselves. Once you have got that you can start thinking what do you want to offer to the world, and there you find your purpose, your dream. And everything may change over time, that's the point, to grow, to evolve.
Start with being passionate about yourself and everything will flow to you.
Remember we are in a play and we shouldn't be taking everything so seriously.
Have fun during the process! And yes, you are perfect as you are, and if you forget about what others may think or what their expectations are you will be spontaneous and happier and you will be a natural magnet to people and situations. I've experimented with it, I know it's true, this works, don't hesitate! Build your trust in the universe and in yourself, you will know what to do.
Experiment! For example, your style. The most stylish people experiment all the time, that's the only way to know what works with you, which clothes, which haircut... I know something about that (fashion design has been one of my 'failures' before I accepted I could be an artist after all) and I've found out that I could be a different person everyday without losing that sense of being me. But before I knew what 'being me' meant I had many catastrophes. When I was in high school I was a gothic girl, and somehow I'm only comfortable when I dress in black, even if the clothes are not gothic anymore. I fought against that and tried to dress as everyone else and follow the trends in terms of color, but guess what, it didn't work, I felt ugly and ackward. I accepted that some part of me was still a little bit dark and defined my style around it.
It's the same with the rest of personality traits, I find people that are loving and warm incredible, but I'm not comfortable being too affectionate, even though that accepting that I'm as I am has made me more open with my feelings than ever, another paradox.
Remember to meditate every day, even 15 minutes, and just love who you are. Being happy is your only job, and the rest will take care of itself. This is the fastest way I've found to make my dreams come true.
I hope I've helped you a little bit!
I think my brain has stopped working, I said leaved instead of left...I swear I'm not analphabet, it's just I'm always on a rush and the summer makes me idiot or something, hahaha.
Oh my God, you are a blessing. I will take time to let all this sink in. I got teary reading it, it's as if you were my higher self communicating, you hit the nail on the head in everything. Thank you thank you thank you.
I will not talk about my "problems" in present tense, because I believe I now know everything I need to know to shift my perspective. But wow, I feel so grateful right now.
Muuuch love to you! I would love to talk to you more often.
It makes me really really happy that my experience has been useful for you! I personally think that we all have a higher being connected to a higher consciousness we all share, so maybe I was inspired by your higher being through mine, who knows! Because I never thought I'd write in the forums, I was a sporadic reader, but I felt an inner urge to answer you, it was like if I was talking to myself from the past or something, one of those really weird- yet marvelous- things that happen when we open our minds to different realities.
Whenever you want, just send me a message and I will answer as soon as I can.
Your replies are so full of love & wisdom! And i love your nick!
Aww, thank you! As I said before, I never thought about writing in the forums, but you are encouraging me to do it more often.
When I discovered the concept of ataraxia I loved it, philosophy has always been such a help for me.
Your avatar always makes me smile!