On Quora there are plenty of Q&A along the lines of ‘looking back, what would you advise your 20 year old?’ I think I finally have the answer and it’s not ‘eat less sugar and floss daily’ (though this advice would have saved me tens of thousands of pounds in dental costs which I could have invested in passive fund and retired by now). My advice to my 20 year old self is not to look for yourself in other people. Not to run around looking for love as desperately as I did. The lack, the gap can only be filled by finding yourself, by discovering who you are and by falling in love with yourself.
There are 5 tips to finding yourself that worked for me:
- Understand your strengths and your values
- Be honest with yourself and others
- Learn to love yourself
- Let go of expectations and beliefs that are not yours or hinder you
- Find peace, find balance
More on loving yourself in later posts – this has been the central theme for me lately. I leave you with a poem by Charles C. Finn which I learned about in the Tiny Buddha‘s Guide to Loving Yourself book and reblog from Life In Light Of Eternity. Be yourself.
Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear,
For I wear a mask, I wear a thousand masks,
Masks that I am afraid to take off,
But none of them are me.
Pretending is an art that’s second nature to me.
But don’t be fooled
I give you the impression that I am secure,
That all is sunny and unruffled with me,
Within as well as without,
That confidence is my name and coolness is my game,
That the water’s calm and I am in command,
And that I need no one.
Don’t believe me, please!
My surface may be smooth,
But my surface is my mask,
My varying and ever-concealing mask.
Beneath lies the real me,
In confusion and fear,
I idly chatter with you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that’s really nothing,
Of what’s crying within me.
So, when I’m going through my routine,
Please don’t be fooled by what I’m not saying,
And what I’d like to be able to say,
But what I can’t say.
Only you can call me into aliveness,
Each time you’re kind and gentle and encouraging.
Each time you try to understand because you really care,
My heart begins to grow wings,
Very small wings, very feeble wings, but wings.
With your sensitivity and sympathy and your powers
You can breathe life into me, I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
How you can be a creator of the person that is me if you choose to.
Please choose to.
Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
My long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me, the blinder I may strike back.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls.
In this lies my hope,
My only hope.
Who am I, you may wonder,
I am someone you know very well-
I am a hurting member of your family,
I am the person sitting beside you in this room,
I am every person you meet on the street.
Please don’t believe my mask,
Please come behind it to glimpse the real me.
Please speak to me, share a little of yourself with me,
At least recognize me.
Because you care.