Anne Lamott said, “To love yourself as you are is a miracle, and to seek yourself is to have found yourself, for now.”
The more I thought about Lamott’s statement, the more I pondered the best way to “seek yourself” so that you can truly “find yourself, at least for now.”
The problem with finding yourself, IMHO, is seeing through the facade that masks the uninhabited, messy, awe-inspiring person you were born to be. In short, you need to stop being who you aren’t.
And what makes up this façade, this false persona we hide behind, or perhaps are imprisoned behind? I think it typically is made up of fixations on:
1) how people perceive us,
2) how to get more of the things that we think will make us happy,
3) zealously striving for whatever we label success as,
4) an obsessive need for power and security.
So to my way of thinking, finding yourself is a little like Michelangelo sculpting his “David.” He didn’t have to make or even alter David within the huge stone block; he simply had to know it was there, and then chip away everything in that block of marble that wasn’t David.
I know that sounds easy, and it’s not. One method for chipping away what is false is what Buddhist teachings call mindfulness. That doesn’t mean you spend all your time in thought or zoned out in meditation. Mindfulness is all about action, and it means that while you take actions, be it brushing your teeth or programming a computer or performing brain surgery, you are utterly focused on what you are doing, and more importantly, fully aware of why you are doing it. Being fully aware of the why means understanding your motivation for performing that action. If you are brushing your teeth, are you doing it for better oral health or are you doing it to impress other people with your dazzling smile? Motivations says a lot about you.
Every action is initiated by a motivation, and motivations reveal who you are, and more importantly, who you aren’t. Understanding your motivations is the first step in exposing (or finding) your true self.