Discovering Self Discovery

When I was in my late teens – early twenties I thought I knew myself. It was the first time I was out from under my parents rule and I was making my own adult decisions. That meant I knew what was best for me right? I hate to be cliche but here it goes…If I only knew then what I know now.

I’ve been in the habit of  keeping a journal for a long time. Sometimes I go back to that time in my life (right after graduating college) and I see a young woman who was in a rush to find “Mr. Right”, get married and start her own family. If I could go back and have a conversation with my younger self I would tell her to PLEASE enjoy life. Travel. Find something she loves to do and get really good at it. And I would make sure to tell her that this could take years.  Unfortunately, knowing this young woman the way I do, I believe she would have said, “I know what I want and I am going to have it.” Nothing future-me could have said would sway her. Her desire for a husband and a family at that time was so strong it felt more like a need.  She never took the time to learn who she was and to learn to love herself. Instead she believed that no one could really truly love her unless they were stuck with her somehow, like say by a marriage certificate.

The heartbreaking fact is that there are so many young women who feel the same way I did then.

I feel responsible to help them understand they don’t need a significant other to be complete. That they can be whole as an individual. That they are valuable and they need to love themselves for who they are before anyone else can. Unfortunately, the cultural norm works against us as women. The focus is on becoming good wives rather than strong, competent and secure women who may or may not become wives. In my experience this is especially, and dishearteningly, true in the Christian culture. A culture built on the foundation that ones wholeness is not determined by another person, but on God’s unconditional love. Yet some of the youngest married people I know are Christians. Why? Because they want to have guilt free sex? Are they REALLY ready for marriage? Trust me. The excitement of sex in marriage wanes and then you’re faced with a person you may or may not still be sexually attracted to for the rest of your life. Then what?

Wow. I got way off the topic I thought I’d be writing about. Let me try to get back on track.

So, back to my experience of being an insecure young woman who really didn’t know herself, or her value…I wish there would have been someone to show me how to discover my identity then. Much later in life there was someone, or rather someones, that did just that. They introduced me to some tools that helped me understand myself and the way I relate to others. In my next blog I’ll share some of those tools and how exactly they helped me in my self discovery.

Ugh! Why do I have to wait?!!

Well, I’ll tell you. The truth is I was almost half way done with this blog and I lost the entire thing! If this has ever happened to you then you know how EXTREMELY annoying and discouraging this can be. So I had to remember what I had written and try to recreate it. And now I am determined to post this thing and continue later. Until then…enjoy life!

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