May 4, 2009

Just took me by Surprise this Morning

Surfing has a way of creating balance for me. For instance, this morning as I was slurping coffee, I found this article on wikipedia....and it said that it was ok to reprint here. My particular favorite line is
Love many, but trust few; always paddle your own canoe

How to Find Yourself

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Finding yourself is an enlightening experience. You become self-sufficient. You can do things for others without any expectations of return. You are no longer a needy child and you become utterly grateful for all those things people have done for you in the past. Finding yourself is a time of developing a philosophy or belief system that can carry you through the rest of your life. When you love yourself and who you are, you will savor and enjoy both life's pain and pleasures. How do you know you've found yourself? You will be able to help others find themselves. Finding yourself is not easy, but how can you be yourself if you've never felt connected to who you are, and you want to find whatever makes you you, then read on.


  1. Start with a clean slate. Develop your own moral conduct and practice sticking to it. Remove vice from your life. Smoking, over-eating, and over-drinking will prevent you from functioning at your peak. Remember, you can't drive your life forward if you are always gazing through your rearview mirror!
  2. Now that you have a clean slate and you realize some people still think you stink: Forget about what everyone else thinks! You cannot please everyone. While you might not want to disappoint the people close to you, they should want you to be happy. As long as you continue to exist to fulfill other people's ideas of who you should be, you'll never know your true talents. "He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away." - Raymond Hull
  3. Find solitude. Get away from the expectations, the conversations, the noise, the media, and the pressure. Take some time each day to go for a long walk and think. Plant yourself on a park bench and look. Take a long, thoughtful road trip. Whatever you do, move away from anything that distracts you from contemplating your life and where you want it to go. In solitude, you should feel independent and self-sufficient, not lonely, needy or afraid.
  4. Ask yourself every question in the book, questions that are difficult, that dare to look at the big pictures, such as:
    • If I had all the resources in the world - if I didn't need to make money - what would I be doing with my day to day life and why? Perhaps you'd be painting, or writing, or farming, or exploring the Amazon rain forest. Don't hold back.
    • What do I want to look back on in my life and say that I never regretted? Would you regret never having traveled abroad? Would you regret never having asked that person out, even if it meant risking rejection? Would you regret not spending enough time with your family when you could? This question can be particularly difficult for some people.
    • If you had to choose three words to describe the kind of person you'd love to be, what would those words be? Adventurous? Loving? Open? Honest? Hilarious? Optimistic? Realistic? Motivated? Resilient? Don't be afraid to pick up a thesaurus. Don't be afraid to choose words that are considered negative. Sometimes your traits that others don't like become useful only in emergency situations or are valuable to the job you are meant to perform. If you do have a truly negative trait work on redirecting that energy to something positive. Exercising compensates for many bad habits and there are hobbies for almost every vice. Pole dancing is becoming a hobby! Don't wash your clothes much? Try camping.

  5. Write down your answers. Beyond your time alone, it's easy for these thoughts to slip to the back of your mind and be forgotten. If you have them written down, then every time you reflect, you can review your notes and take it a step further, instead of answering the same questions all over again.
  6. Act upon your newly discovered knowledge. Do the things that you want to do! Pick up those water-colors. Write a short story. Plan a trip to Mombasa, Mt Kenya, a walk at Nairobi Safari Walk. Have dinner with a family member. Start cracking jokes. Open up. Tell the truth. Whatever it is that you've decided you want to be or do, start being and doing it now.
  7. Be ready for dead ends. Finding yourself is a journey, not a destination. A lot of it is trial and error. That's the price you pay in return for the satisfaction you receive: More often than not, you hit a bump in the road, and sometimes you fall flat on your face. Be prepared to understand and accept that this is a part of the process, and commit to getting right back up and starting over. It's not going to be easy - it never has been for anybody - but if you learn to see that as a chance to prove how much you want to find yourself, then you'll find fulfillment and security in your pursuit. When you are yourself, everyone will respect you more and treat you kindly. Best of all, you will always feel good about yourself.


  • Love many, but trust few; always paddle your own canoe.
  • You're never as bad or as good as people say.
  • Resist the urge to feel like you're the only one going through this:All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself. ~ Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man"
  • Be yourself and make sure no one influences who you are. It will make finding yourself even harder since people are influencing who you think you are.
  • Don't be afraid to sleep on it. There's no hurry in making decisions, and you'll be more likely to make good ones if your mind is calm and rested.
  • Be forgiving and learn to let go.


  • Don't spread bad gossip or otherwise speak ill about other people. Knocking others down is not the path to self-knowledge. It only compromises your dignity as a human being and makes others dislike you.
  • Do not let others decide for you what you are destined to do. Their path may not be the correct path for you. What works for one person may not work for the next.
  • Don't lie to yourself and try to be someone you are not. Remember this is about being yourself. As it is important to not let family members decide, it is also important not to let society and the media push you in a certain direction, especially when it comes to your physical appearance.
  • Don't let yourself get caught up in a habit of constantly changing who you are or how you act just to fit in.
  • Don't feel you have to prove your worth to the world.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Find Yourself. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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