You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go. Dr. Seuss in Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
It is not possible to become the best you and achieve the highest level of health possible if you are not fulfilling the purpose you were created to fulfill. If you are unable to fulfill that purpose there is always going to be a level of discontent in your life. There will always be a void – a void that tends to get filled sometimes in unhealthy or destructive ways. Plus, being discontent creates a background level of stress that manifests daily in one form of another. Consider that stress is more harmful to our health than smoking and being obese. Creating ourselves for our intended purpose brings about a high level of peace and removes much stress from our lives.
So today we begin a three-part series centered around creating or developing yourself for the purpose God intended. Today we will discuss the difference between finding yourself and creating yourself. The second article addresses the question “creating yourself for what?” And, the third article answers the question “what is the purpose in having a purpose?” Have you ever wondered that?
Finding yourself and creating yourself are two ways to obtain the answer to the ultimate question. “Why am I here?” But, they can lead to very different conclusions.
Finding yourself is an interesting concept. My observation of people struggling to find themselves is that they seem overly occupied with the past. They focus on trying to explain to themselves why they are the way the are by looking into the past. They analyze their relationships with their parents and others close to them. They reflect on significant events that occurred to them in those early years.
They look at their failures in life and begin to doubt themselves. They question their decisions. They may feel short-changed because of an impairment or inability or lack of talent of some type. They seem to focus on what they don’t have rather than what they do have.
They tend to play “what if” or “only if”. And, there is nothing wrong in looking at the past. You can learn from it. The problem is you cannot change it. And, you cannot allow the past to cloud the future. The past should not be used as an excuse that prevents you from being what you can be. But, you can use the past as a reason or motivation to strive for a better future.
So if you can’t change the past then you may as well use it to benefit your future. It is important to find ways to take the negatives of the past and turn them into positives as best as possible.
To a large degree what has happened to you already doesn’t matter. What matters is using those past events as a means to improve yourself, not stymie you. What matters is where do you want to go from where you now stand? Then coming up with a plan to get there.
Some people have tougher lives than others. But, for the most part the same stuff happens to all of us. It only varies in degree and in timing. All of us are going to die. All of us will have a loved one die. All of us will have a troubled relationship with a loved one or close friend. All of us will go through a period in life we where are “lost and confused”. All of us will either be personally affected or have a loved one affected with a serious illness or injury. All of us will have financial struggles/concerns at some point – even the ultra wealthy. All of us are going to have people who don’t like us and cases where we have been wronged by others, and so on.
What differs is the age at which we have these experiences and the degree to which all these experiences occur. What matters, though, is how we each respond to those trials and tribulations.
Focusing on “finding yourself” makes it easier to overlook your role in what happened in the past. It’s easier not to take responsibility for the past as you can explain things a way anyway you want. “I’m this way because my parents……” or ” I didn’t get the promotion because my boss….”
We all have to take some hard looks in the mirror from time to time and be honest with ourselves about ourselves. We all make mistakes and we all have made bad decisions and our decisions ultimately define us. Learn and correct, though.
Creating yourself involves looking towards the future and it means assuming responsibility. You are not a plant. You can move and change direction in your life anytime you want. And, you have a brain to make decisions and the ability to act on those decisions and not simply leave things to fate. And, doing Gods’s will is not leaving things to fate as some believe. It’s actively pursuing the purpose that He intended you to fulfill. When you create yourself you avoid saying things like, “I’m poor because God wants me to be poor.” Or, “I’m sick because God wants me to be sick.”
You cannot change the past, but your decisions and actions today affect the future. Creating yourself involves asking the following. “Here is where I am, but here is where I want to go. Here is what I am, but this is what I want to become. And, here is what I must to do to get there and achieve it.” Little in the past affects that. You can make the decision to change your life at anytime and in a single moment. The decision to change your life can literally happen in a second. “I don’t care what has happened in the past, from this day forward I will….”
Now the change resulting from that decision will not happen in a moment. And, the change will not be easy, though some change is rather easy. If you want to be a more kind person – act more kind. It’s not any more complicated than that in some cases.
Creating yourself is a more active endeavor than finding yourself. You are taking responsibility for what you create and you can create whatever you want. Finding yourself, on the other hand, seems to imply that some stroke of luck might be involved. “Jeez, I hope I find myself.” And, it implies that you are already defined and unchangeable rather than being malleable and plastic.
There are things we control and things we don’t control. When we look at the things we do control we find that our lives are the sum total of all our decisions. And, we do control the person we become or create by the those decisions.
Create Yourself for What?
You cannot create yourself into something without knowing what that something is and that in turn is based on the answer to the question, “create myself for what?” That we will discuss in the next article.