Find yourself

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Saturday, January 18, 2014


RALPH Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement.”

To be yourself, you need to find yourself first. And that’s not so easy. In the course of living and making choices in life, however, we will, at some point, be compelled to ask ourselves some life-changing questions.

What is the most important thing to me? What could I never give up or live without? If I could only keep one thing in my life, what would that be?

We will be compelled to answer these questions at some of the lowest points in our lives when we are faced with some of life’s unforgiving realities and must decide for ourselves which way we want to go.

Of course, some people will choose not to make any choices and that’s how some people never get anywhere. Those who want to stay in their comfort zones will choose the status quo. But those who want to move forward will boldly choose to step out and go some place else.

En route to different destinations will come many more heart-wrenching decisions for all of us who choose to move forward but at the end of the day, those bold enough to walk the road less traveled will find all the difference.

We all search for significance in life. It’s a path we must all take on our own, much like the path to spirituality and self. There is no roadmap but from those who have found it, we know it is not through the path of the throng. It is easy, after all, to walk with the throng, horrendously difficult to walk alone.

Many budding writers come to me for advice. How do they make their dreams come true? This is what I tell them.

You must have a passion for your craft. But passion is not enough. You must also have the discipline to work hard and the patience to wait for your moment to come. Along the way, you must be prepared to sacrifice. You must be prepared to be poor and to be told that you are foolish and wrong to pursue such a path.

Accept other people’s opinions with grace. They’re not out to get you. And they’re not always wrong.

But don’t let their opinions detract you from where you want to go. Be the intrepid explorer, completely unafraid to go off the grid. Your comfort zone is a safe place to be in. But do you want to be safe and sorry the rest of your life? Or do you want to truly live?

If you want to grow then you must nurture your sense of adventure and curiosity. You must go and explore the possibilities. You must step out of your comfort zone and go where you cannot go without courage. Only then do you truly live.

Be brave. Only by doing so can you truly find yourself. The journey will take you to many forks. Decide with both your heart and mind. Along the way, many will try to dissuade you from being who you want to be.

Do not be afraid. Do what you must anyway. But whatever you do, do it with integrity. Don’t be a fake. Don’t pretend to be what you’re not. Know what you want. And work for it. You’ll know you have arrived the moment you no longer feel the need to justify your choices in life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 19, 2014.

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