One of the greatest mysteries of our lives is that we can never fully know ourselves.
We continuously develop, evolve, and grow into people who we do and don’t want to be. Meanings that never held value in the first place will end up being the sole purpose of why we live.
The traits you love about yourself might be the complete opposite of who you end up becoming. The traits that you hate will be your ultimate strengths. The rash decisions and stupid mistakes that you entirely regret will be lessons you’ll tell your children. They’ll be stories that you can giggle about with loved ones while holding a cocktail in your hand.
Cheryl Strayed, an award-winning and best-selling author, uncovers how time affects our journey: Eight of the ten things you have decided about yourself will over time prove to be false. The other two things will prove to be so true that you’ll look back in twenty years and howl.
You’ve probably read plenty of novels, poems, short stories, articles, and different forms of writing in your lifetime. Have you ever noticed that there are only a handful of words and sentences that still resonate within you? Did you know that there are certain key phrases you remember without any effort even after the many years you’ve not touched those pieces of work? The few known qualities that hold to be true about yourself also work the same way.
These are the pieces of you that managed to stick. These are the pieces of you that managed to stay.
We are born into a life where we can’t predict the process so easily.
In school, our teachers taught us that our human development exists in levels and stages. Birth to death. Infancy to adulthood. Naïve to knowledgeable. A positively correlated graph that shows a progression of our predictable journey.
In theory, the lesson sounds psychologically and physically ideal, but in reality, we don’t have a clean and spotless unfolding. We can skip levels of our understanding of life and then suddenly feel like we are back at square one. We can have an upward trend of success and then stay stagnant. We can spiral downwards so low that the circular motion suddenly makes us very dizzy and nauseous.
And then we can rise slowly but surely, one step at a time.
The lines of our world won’t perfectly align. Sometimes, the numbers won’t add up even when they’re supposed to. There will always be interactions, but most importantly, overlap within our past, our future, and our in-between.
The negative opinions that haunt you on a daily basis will turn out to be just illusions you’ve created on your own. The hard-hitting facts about yourself will literally punch you in the face. You just don’t know when.
A lot of the moments we’ve had have yet to manifest in our lives into something deeper—something beautiful. Only experience, patience, and unexpected situations can be the judge of that.
Hindsight is an extraordinary gift. Hindsight will save you.
Though we can’t fully know who we are, we will always have room to understand ourselves a whole lot better.