The last view weeks I have been doing a FIND YOUR WHY SERIES in which I help myself, and others to figure out their purpose in life and put it into words. This week I talk about my personal journey into self-discovery and formulating my own WHY.
‘Only when you take the time to plan for the significant moments of the past, retrieving them nugget by nugget, will they turn into treasure’
– Simon Sinek
I have moved a lot since I was little, growing up with three languages and between two cultures. When I was 4 years old, my family moved from Argentina to the Netherlands. During school I noticed that I didn’t really fit in with my peers. I thought that it was because I felt more like an Argentinean kid who grew up in Holland. Unknowingly I started to form my identity as being an outsider. Because I moved a couple of times, I learned quickly how to adapt to circumstances.
Growing up speaking three languages I had a difficult time expressing myself and understanding others. I understand now that when people grow up bilingual (or more) they might experience a delay in their language skills. For example, their vocabulary can develop a little slower, because they need to learn more words (multiple languages).
At a certain age they catch up to normal development, however, they now are capable of speaking multiple languages and there are other advantages as well. This is something I know now. Back then, I had no idea of all of this and it could make me insecure. It added up to the feeling of not belonging. Mind you that I did not realize all of this at the time.
At one point I experienced the same experiences in Argentina as well. Logically, I could not speak as fluent as a person who lived there. I had difficulties in expressing myself and could not always follow the conversations as well as I liked. I also experienced the sensation of feeling excluded there. Now imagine what this was doing to my identity as the Argentinean kid who grew up in Holland. I did not know where I belonged anymore.
I want to add to these stories that people treated me with love and care, however, this is what I was experiencing at the time from my own perspective. This is not necessarily the ‘truth’, but it is what was going on in my own development and what has shaped me. I was carrying a pain inside me that I did not yet fully understood, let alone others.
‘Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.‘
– Brené Brown
After a few years I found strength within myself, because I had to. I found love and companionship and I didn’t need to belong or be accepted by others as much as I previously had. Instead of looking for belonging in the external, I travelled inward. I found a spiritual side of me that brought me peace and acceptance of who I truly was. The funny thing is that by being so in peace and accepting who I truly am, this actually attracts others towards me. So now I feel even more included than ever before.
I figured out that I should listen to myself more often and less to external voices. This is when I started to notice and understand more how one can listen to their own intuition. It made me happy, because I had always done so, however, now I was becoming conscious of it. Understanding my own intuition better helped me make certain decisions that might look crazy to the rational mind. My intuition shows me what I am supposed to do before I can rationalize it and put it into words. Since then I have made decisions based on my intuition, but at first I did not always rely on it completely.
‘Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.‘
– Brené Brown
Throughout life I did not really know what I was supposed to do. At an early age we are asked to start choosing a career path based on our interests. Yet, we are still discovering who we truly are. I was not ready to decide what it was that I wanted to do. I did figure out quickly that it had to mean something to me, it had to provide a sense of fulfilment.
I gave much importance to freedom and had a sense of resentment against ‘society’. Thinking of it now, I did not know what it really meant. I mean, I believe that there is this path laid out for every one of us, provided by the society you live in. This is a general way of living that can be helpful for many, however, it does not mean that it is the only way, let alone the best way.
Through experience I figured out that if I was interested in doing something, if I saw its worth, I would give 200%. I would learn so much from these experiences, and enjoy doing them as well. If I did not believe in what I was doing, I would give 30% and this was enough to fulfil the assignment. This did not motivate me as much.
I would put all my energy in thoughts and activities that I got me excited, excited about life. This meant that I started to be good at many things, but they didn’t necessarily had much to do with each other. My thoughts and energy were all over the place, going into every direction. This got me nowhere. So now I was feeling good about the things I could do and think of, but I was feeling awful because I felt like I was standing still and not growing.
‘Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong’
– Mandy Hale
Until I discovered a deeper layer of myself. I felt responsible for my talents and all that was given me in life. I felt that I had to contribute in a way to help others. Understanding what my purpose was in life would help me do so. It would help me find fulfilment and excitement. It would give me the direction I needed. So I started to put more thought into this and tried to figure it out.
It was (and still is) a journey of self-discovery. The process I described in my previous blogpost was very helpful. The stories I gathered helped me put to words what experiences have shaped me so far, and what I have learned to overcome my own challenges. I now understand what it is that I am most driven by, the impact I want to have on others, and what I want to contribute to the world.
The process helped me form a WHY sentence: I help people find inner peace, so that they can be comfortable with themselves and with others and no one has to feel alone anymore. I want to accomplish this by helping others discover what their purpose is in life and help them pursue it.
It has been a long beautiful journey, but I am thankful for all the lessons I have encountered so far. Now that I have found direction, I can live a life that brings me fulfilment. Thank you for reading my story.