(Closed) Soul searching… How did you "find yourself"?

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 2
47420 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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jccountrylove:  What do you do on your days off? Do you do anything fun? I used to work 12 hour shifts and loved them because you get days off during the week when a lot of things/places are less busy.

One surefire way for me to feel better about my lot in life is to do volunteer work. It really opens your eyes to the fact that you actually are in a great position in life, compared to a lot of people.

Post # 4
769 posts
Busy bee

Honestly, I think it will just come with time. I have many issues from my childhood and I have made a systematic attempt to address them. The more I read and explore personal growth, the more secure I feel in who I am. But I confess this has only truly started happening in my early 30s. My 20s were a mess and even though I had some some revelations and came to some mature conclusions, nothing seemed to fall into place until my 30s. 

Post # 5
193 posts
Blushing bee

Camping and fishing is so much fun! Keep doing that, it’s great for body and mind to be outdoors ๐Ÿ™‚

I believe that one never stops evolving, so I think that there never comes a point when you’re “done”. But I do believe that as we grow, we become more and more comfortable in ourselves. It can come with age or through experience. I have a friend who really became at peace with herself when she became a mom. I think that’s fairly common. I myself am only 27 years old, but I do feel a sense of calm and self knowlege that I didn’t feel 5 years ago, I’d say because of some bad things happening to me that made me grow up and also got me some perspective. But no, I don’t feel “done”. And I’m glad that I don’t, because what would I do then? I am still figuring things out. Such as what I want to do “when I grow up”, lol. That has been my main issue since I was about 19. I worried so much about it, but now finally I feel like things are starting to fall into its place. Much because I found out what I like but also because my mom quit her job, went back to school and started a completely different career at 50. That made me realize that you can change paths whenever you want. Nothing is set in stone. I’ll probably want 12 different jobs in the next 50 years, and that’s ok! If you just stay true to yourself and take care of your health, things usually work themselves out. 

Post # 6
34 posts
  • Wedding: August 2016

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gingerbee88:  sounds like your mom is a brave lady…love your story as I’m planning a career change at 27! 

Post # 7
1487 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

For me it was through travel — not holidaying, but moving to new cities/countries and setting up a new life there. Not exactly a “one size fits all” solution though!

I found having to set up a new life in new places really showed me how independent I could be (even if nervous/scared), how to really appreciate those individuals that you naturally “click” with and to not waste much time on hollow friendships, to value my family and the relationships I have with them, and to appreciate different ways of life (values, hobbies, cultural differences, etc) and pick through to what I prioritized. 

I would by no means say that I’m 100% found…I think that’s an ongoing and continuous process through your life. I still have no idea what I want to do career wise (I’m coming up to a major career crossroads in the next year) but I am beginning to be more aware of what skillsets I have and what responsibilities I enjoy (leadership, team management, strategy) and what I don’t (repetitive tasks, extreme detail, independent creativity — i.e. having no “sounding board” to bounce ideas with). 

I think the traveling helped me determine my social network values and day-to-day life values (what kind of environment do I like to live in) while the job changes and diverse on-the-job experiences really helped me figure out what my preferred “skills” are. 

For the career stuff I was quite reflective. If I’d had a bad series of days/weeks I would log what the predominant tasks were that I was undertaking (same for really enjoyable week) and would look for patterns. Became pretty clear pretty quickly when I was happy — I was WAY more productive without feeling overworked. So when I job search next year, I don’t know WHAT jobs to look for but I do know what responsibilities to look for within those jobs.

I think “finding” yourself is really more about taking time to reflect. I also hike/camp/cycle with my Fiance and it’s a great time for me to basicalyl word vomit all my reflections (he half listens…). I only process well verbally, I have trouble organizing my thoughts if I’m not verbalizing them or writing them down (another lesson learned from reflection), and find talking through tough topics much easier when I’m doing something physical simultaneously (walking, cylcing — something that doesn’t require focus). 

You’re still quite young, I found my greatest leaps in “finding myself” have been the last 5 years or so (I’m 28)…before that I was still very much trying to conform to what was “expected” of me by peers and society. 

Post # 8
193 posts
Blushing bee

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CourtneyBeth915:  She is! She was a switchboard operator for 25 years, had a good salary, awesome benefits and a great pension plan, but she wasn’t happy. So now she works with young adults with psychiatric illnesses and drug abuse ๐Ÿ™‚ I just turned 27 and also work as a switchboard operator and will start school in september to become a therapist! 

Post # 9
1305 posts
Bumble bee

“Finding yourself” is a very vague concept.  I learned what was important to me in the past 3 years of moving all over the US by myself.  Getting engaged made me realize that I want my life to be primarily serving my family and my happiness first, career second. I am changing careers at 26 (pretty young, so I consider myself lucky) to try and make my day to day more palatable.  I was getting paid SICK money for my age/experience/job at the last place, but was treated like crap and bored out of my mind.  I’m hoping this new job will give me some satisfaction and accomplishment. The pay cut is worth it to me.  Have you considered a change?  Often we choose careers when we are young for many reasons that may not hold up once we get out in the world out of the education setting.

But, my father is in his late 50’s and said he still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up.  He knows what he wants in his personal life, and he strives towards that now by consulting and having more flexible hours instead of the full time grind.  He has changed a lot for the better over the years.  I know you may not have the luxury of working half time like an older person such as my father, but maybe different hours would suit you?

My Fiance is a PA and he worked 3-11 shift for a long time before he moved in with me and loved it.  Sometimes it’s just the time you start your day that makes all the difference.

Post # 10
4940 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I think you have to find your passion in order to find yourself. Once you find that (for example with me, it’s animal rescue), it will be easier to discover who you are and what you want to do. For me, I have always loved animals and have always done some sort of volunteer work. I feel so strongly about this that sometimes it consumes a lot of my time, but, when I go to sleep at night, I can feel good about life. Maybe your passion is art, music, helping the elderly, biking, etc. Find it, and then delve into it. Mabye it will lead to a career move, or maybe it will be your “happy place” on your days off. Regardless, it will help you figure out things about yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 11
900 posts
Busy bee

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jccountrylove:  I had a work schedule like that, only it was  3 12’s in a row, I found it really draining because I didn’t have much energy to do what I wanted on the 4 days I was off. I had to take one day of just sitting on the couch to feel like even moving on the other days off. I knew what it is I always wanted to do, though I was too scared to pursue it. I eventually had to quit my job and spend the rest of the following year doing hobbies that I wanted to do before I finally decided what I to pursue my scary dream (write). I don’t know your finaces, but if you can quit your job and maybe take another job somewhere else (doing something else), or going part time. This could really help you out of your funk. Sounds like you”re in a deadend job that doesn’t speak to you, and you don’t really have any time to yourself to really decide what it is you want to do. This happens a lot especially at 24.

My mistake was going into nursing, which I have since left. I had a wonderful biology teacher who went into med school to become an eye doctor for easy money, but he fell in love with biology and animals durning biology class and jumped ship. He became a biologist and eventually a biology teacher, he was so passionate that most students looked forward to coming to his class (these are college students mind you). Point is, it takes awhile for your passion to show itself and it canshow itself in the oddest of places. I was lucky as my passion was always there.. I always had stories in my head that I always died to write out but I was either too busy or too scared to do it. I certainly didn’t have the mental energy to write anything when I was with nursing. For my biology teacher, he didn’t know his passion until he saw a picture of a fish in a text book that had a tongue that mimicked a smaller fish that it used to lure prey. 

Post # 12
52 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: Lombardi\'s On The Bay

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jccountrylove:  I wish I could give you a hug because I’ve been in your shoes before. Long story short, I am a teacher and I LOVE my field of work. My first four years as a teacher (going into year 6 this year) I worked in a toxic, draining environment. My principal hated me irrationally and without reason. I won’t divuldge into too many details, but lets just say my former district was a terrible fit for me overall. Fast forward a bit – I went on probably 50 or more interviews before I got my current job, where I’ve been for the past year. I felt like the misery at my old job would never end, and that I’d be stuck there forever. Not the case. I am in love with my new school district and everyone there – the faculty, admins, kids, parents, everyone. I finally feel like my job has real purpose, I look forward to going to work each day, and I am constantly motivated to do my best. Maybe that’s what finding yourself is all about? I don’t know. I just feel like a new woman and it feels fantastic.

I just told you all of that because I want you to know that it WILL get better for you. Being in a work “slump” can be extremely exhausting. The one thing that really helped me keep my chin up at my old job was doing things that bring me immense joy. Whatever that may be, you need to find those things and do them. For me, it was a few little things – reading, cooking, working out, and just being around good people. Treat yourself once or twice a week to an indulgence – a new clothing item, ice cream, whatever you want! You can do it without breaking the bank.. trust me. Also, you deserve it. 

This next piece of advice kinda sucks and is much easier said than done. Perhaps there’s a person or two who are bad influences in your life – if so, you may have to cut them out. I don’t know you or anything about your life, so I obviously don’t know if this is the case. However, I’ve often found that people who are going through a slump are in kind of relationship that’s holding them down. It might be a friend or a boyfriend, but if you feel as though your relationship with said person is stagnant and isn’t benefiting you anymore, end it. It will hurt but the feeling of freedom and happiness will hit you out of nowhere, and trust me, it is sooooo worth it. 

Trying new things also got me out of my slump. My 2nd year of teaching I discovered the magic of spin classes. Looking back on it, I would have gone totally insane had it not been for my 3x weekly spin classes. It also gives you something cool to talk about with your friends. 

Stay optimistic. And remember, you have your entire life to find yourself ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Post # 13
120 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Commenting to follow. 

This is a really, really good question. I am so excited to get home and add my two cents and read everyone’s responses. I lost myself once, and found myself again. And it was one of the most character-building, special times of my life. I look back and just want to give myself the biggest hug and tell that girl that everything is going to be okay.

My heart and thoughts are with you. 

Post # 14
961 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

Really great thread! I left my career about a year ago to become an entrepreneur. It has been absolutely shaking. I still teach to use my doctorate, and consult for a non-profit, while working on my coaching and speaking business. 

I have always known my purpose, but I’m not exempt from the soul shaking feeling that I need to do things differently. I think it helps us to not become complacent or stale. It is also a key ingredient in growth. That being said, sometimes I decide I don’t want to grow up!

I say this to encourage you. You are awakening to what you need, and that is awesome. We are all on the same journey, and experience these moments no matter how put together we might seem to the outside world.

Post # 15
894 posts
Busy bee

I agree with what many of the other Posters stated well – finding yourself will likely be a continuous journey throughout your life.  As we age, there are different phases, people, priorities come into play and what was working for you in a previous phase may no longer be.  For example, what I valued when I was in my twenties starting out my career is very different from what I value now that I am established and have a family.  I don’t think what I valued in my 20’s was wrong, just based on what my reality was at that time.  As I adapt from one phase to the next, that is typically when I feel most “lost” but I not really keen on that term, that adaptation to my new circumstances is when I learn the most about myself, what I value, what I need to do to succeed in my new phase.  What has helped me to adapt or “find myself”?  Introspection, support from loved ones, seeking guidance from others who have gone through similiar circumstances, research and being honest with myself about what I value and what is important.  I also think that thinking about a current issue with the 5 year test (Will I care about this _____ in 5 years?) can help prioritize.  I also find that continuing to learn – a new skill, a new hobby, helps to keep me energized and optimistic.  I love tackling challenges or learning something new that I previously thought I could not do. By no means am I perfect – far, far, far from it.  But for the first time in my life after a looong journey of soul searching, mistakes, false pursuits of happiness/chasing the wrong things, I am able to love myself, my life and be so grateful for everything that I have and not be pushing back my happiness until…(fill in the blank – I’m successful I’m married, I’m a mom, I have a $XXX dollars, I lose 15 lbs, etc, etc.).  I checked off all those boxes and guess what?  Still wasn’t happy because happiness comes from inside and from being in meaningful relationships with others, not external achievements, material possessions or titles.  I am finally able to be happy today for who I currently am, my family and friends and what I already have.  I am enough and everything I have is enough.  Be inquistive, challenge your current beliefs, seek advice of others, be open to new ideas and enjoy what you have today.  You are amazing, wonderful, beautiful and strong.  You are enough right now.  Be kind, share with others when you can and believe in yourself and the good in the world.  In the end, that is what is important and all that we each have anyway.  Focusing on those things really helped me to drop some of the BS self-inflicted “problems” I tend to create.  Still continuing to grow on my own journey, wishing you the best on yours!

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