Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. George Bernard Shaw
Many people spend a good portion of their lives looking for themselves, hoping to stumble upon their true passions and purpose. Who am I? What do I want out of life? What can I do next to keep my life moving forward? These questions take up our hearts and minds, especially in times that call for personal change.
But, what does creating yourself really mean? What does it look like? What do you have to do make this happen? This is the subject of my post today.
As far back as I can recall, I was creating and expressing myself. My first memory is around 7-years-old. My brother David and I decided to take our talents to the road. We put on an episode of the Lucy Show in the front yard of our house. We were the talent and the concession stand. For five-cents, you could watch the show and buy a glass of lemonade. What a deal!
No one showed up. But, that didn’t matter, to us. The show must go on, as they say. And, so, we acted out a completely spontaneous dialogue of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, oblivious to what others thought of us. We were children, able to bring forth whatever was in our imagination at the time.
Well, this tendency to actualize my imagination did not end there. I’ve tried many things in life, to explore my true passions and purpose. Some of them turned out well and others went by the way side. But, what became clearer to me overtime was that my purpose and passion lay in the know-how of creating oneself. I have learned much about this process. I want to share some of it with you, today.
Lesson One: Creating oneself isn’t purely an act of imagination.
The process of creating yourself uses both your imagination and reason. The more emotional intelligence you have, the better able you are to do this. You go to the heart to sense your desires, and then to your brain to make sure you have talents and resources to carry them out.
Lesson Two: Creating oneself has a learning curve.
If you try and fall, get up and try again. You will increasingly know your life direction and passion, so that what you try next is more in line with your authentic self. Take for example, how I found out that I was meant to teach. I started my work as a psychologist in private-practice. I practiced many years, before I had begun to feel a little intellectually stifled. I loved what I was doing, but I was at the point of needing something new. What felt good, and also made sense to me, given the life I had carved out for myself so far, was teaching. I recalled that in undergraduate and graduate school, fellow students would ask for my notes or for me to explain some concept to them. They discerned that I took my studies quite seriously. In particular, I remember walking a fellow student through a statistic’s project. I didn’t do it for her. Instead, I spent hours with her showing her the process. Also, I knew that my singing background would give me the confidence I would need to teach large groups of people. By evaluating how this desire fit in with my talents and resources, I came up right. This hunch led to a 20-year teaching career that helped me to see how to unfold my life further from there.
Creating yourself is like strengthening a muscle. You have to exercise the process to make it work better for you. When you choose an experience to unfold that really expresses the authentic you, your passion and purpose will be there. What is more, these more authentic experiences contain the seeds of your next self-actualization venture. Now, you will know more quickly what to do next to unfold your life. The learning curve shortens. You hit the jackpot, here.
Lesson Three: Seize the Moment For Creative Change, Before it Passes
I don’t agree with some new-age philosophies that you can do or be anything you want and leave behind prior commitments in order to do so. We are limited by our commitments and the social context in which we live. This has always been the case. Nothing worthwhile comes that easily. You have to learn how to work with the confinements of your life and imagine possibility from there. This is the challenge of unfolding your life creatively.
Also, you don’t have infinity to actualize yourself in life. There are built in developmental stages that call for you to advance your life in some way, like going to college, finding a career, building a family, or retiring. Then, scattered throughout these challenges are openings for creative change that resulted from the decisions you’ve made. You may have married and now want to divorce. Or, you became an accountant and now want to be a musician. These times that invite you to try new things exercise your skill at defining life as you see it.
There’s really only so much time you have to create yourself in life. The older you get, or more complicated your life has become, the harder it is to shake it up in new ways. Thus, you have to seize the moments that lend themselves to this activity in your life.
Remember, the only true freedom that any of us has in life is the right to choose, the right to self-actualize our creative self through the decisions that we make. If you want your life to be moving forward positively and be rich in meaning and purpose, you have to own it. Start creating experiences that expand you psychologically and spiritually, rather than just hoping to bump into the right people and situations that will unfold your life for you. I assure you that when you do, this creative process will enliven you. You will have a deep sense that you did what you could do to live the best life possible, no matter what happens to you. No one can take the dedication you give to your life away from you. Start today! After all, this is your life.
I hope you liked my post today. If you did, please let me know by selecting the Like button that immediately follows. I welcome your experiences, thoughts, and comments. Warmly, Deborah.