Why “Finding Yourself” Should Never Be An End Goal

As hard as you may try, you’re never actually going to “find yourself.” Because if you’re living your life the way you should be, you’re always changing.

The person you wanted to find at 16 is not the person you want to find today and the person you want to find today is not the person you’ll want to find at 45.

Trying to find yourself is like trying to chase after your own shadow. You can grasp at it as much as you want, but it’s always changing shape at the last minute and it’s always just out of reach.

If you get too caught up in trying to figure out exactly who you are, your life is going to happen right in front of you. And you’re not going to be an active part of it.

While you’re busy trying to explain who you are and trying to become what you think society expects, you’re missing out on all the tiny moments that make up a life. Staying up until the sun rises with one of your best friends. Having your day made just because a coworker brought you some coffee. Getting to the bus stop just in time. These are all completely insignificant moments, and you’ll probably forget the details of most of them. That’s okay. The important part is just to be present for them, because over time, these hundreds of thousands of little moments build you into the person you are, and the person you will continue to become.

The little moments make you who you are. You feel them and react to them and experience them. And they’re happening every second of every day. So if you’re focusing on some abstract notion of who you are instead of focusing on living, you’re going to lose yourself completely.

You are always growing and changing and experiencing new things. So attempting to “find yourself” means you’d be chasing after someone who can never quite be found.

Discovering who you are should never be an end goal. There should never be a point in your life where you finally “find yourself” and then you check it off on some to-do list. Because what would happen next? Nothing. There would be no point in living.

You should never be satisfied with who you are. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t love yourself and be happy with yourself. But you should never stop being thirsty for knowledge and growth and self-improvement.

“Finding yourself” should be a lifelong journey. And it shouldn’t stop until the day you leave this earth. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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