In the era of self-help and the endless search for self-actualization, self-awareness might be the most common sound bite. But its popularity also stops there because in actuality- self-awareness is a difficult path and a continuous journey. That is in so far what I learned in the three decades, almost 4 in this life. The moment I start telling my self “I know who I am”, life in a humorous and painful way proves me wrong. The self is an ever evolving figure and soul. Discovering oneself is often an awkward and uncomfortable process as it is confronting. It seeks for the person to evaluate deeply and this entails humility in the face of the truth. And one of the truth is the irony that we so desire to know ourselves but we are very scared to embrace the vulnerability that it peels off. The layers of our identity can be confusing and contradicting. I think this is why self-help is a lucrative industry on its own because it has no single answer and it has multitudes of references and outcomes.
The more I discover bits and pieces of me- the more uncertain I feel and the more questions pop up. I think we change in every stage and breakthroughs in life. I read somewhere that we are not the same person say 10 years ago. Part of that is the thought that the person we have become today is also determined by our choices in the years, months, days, seconds between those 10 years. It is not a time-travel thing where we jump from Year 1 straight to Year 10. It is a slow, tedious and often unnoticed passing of time. We feel our growth pains- in every crossroads, dilemmas and for every human person we gain and lost along the way. And the most painful is thinking of losing ourselves. I think we might need to lose ourselves more than once- and this happens every time we enter a new era or phase. I have understood this phrase now than I first read it in a book- Losing oneself in the essence of finding who we are. It is transformative, yes, but it’s not the kind of transformation most gurus describe. There are no butterflies and fireworks- it’s not magical. It is liberating yet heartbreaking. Because saying goodbye is always not easy. At least that’s how it felt to me.
I talk about this because as I traverse through my profession- I get confronted with so much emotion. They say that in the business arena you have to make sure you don’t take things personally. This is where it confuses me because in the business of people, I bring my authentic self or I don’t. I bring my mind and heart into it. There is a better way of managing oneself when it comes to emotions but our emotional thermostat is also a tricky set. As an HR Professional- I am expected to be compassionate and detached (guarded heart) and oh boy that is not easy to navigate. The narrative I have given myself for so long has started to shift. I think I am entering a new phase. I hope I am ready to receive it and take it. For all that I have become.