Who even am I? Figuring out who you are

I spend a lot of time in my head just thinking about stuff. There’s always a few ideas on the go in there and I had a huge realisation tonight when I was in the process of colouring my hair. I tend to do a lot of thinking and often get good ideas pop into my head in the shower, so I think the combined powers of the shower and the fumes from the hair dye must be some kind of magic inducing thought elixir for my brain.

I’ll start at the beginning of where this thought came together but I am going to relate it back, very fittingly I promise, to bariatric surgery so bear with me. Do you remember when you were a teenager and in the last couple of years of school everyone wanted you to figure out what you wanted to do for a job. You needed to make these decisions so you could study the appropriate stuff and go off on your merry way to a (hopefully) good career.

This, I think for me at least, was the start of me trying to ‘find’ myself and figure out who I was. I think, as an older teenager and young adult as you go through the stages of not having your parents looking over your shoulders all the time and you start to feel a bit more free of their influence you set out on a quest to find yourelf, figure out who you are as a person, find people like you and bascially try to have some idea of what the f*$k is going on. I think a lot of us equate this ‘finding’ of ourselves as the point we will feel like an adult because we ‘know’ who we are and what we stand for.

When I was at university, especially in the last couple of years, and as I graduated and started being a ‘real’ adult with responsibilities and all that adult stuff you have to do like your own washing and cooking I think I thought I had arrived, found myself and thought I had myself sorted. I have seen a few 23-24 year olds (they tend to be other bloggers) writing advice kind of posts where they (in my near on 30 year old, old lady eyes) give really precious advice about finding themselves which can be summarised as, “Wow, I have totally figured out this adult stuff and you will too.”

I may just be getting old and stuff but I’ve just had this really big realisation. I naively thought when I was 18-22 that I was on this big mission of finding myself and once I got to know myself without the overt influence of my parents, that was who I was and was going to be for the rest of my life. I thought, without even being able to articuate it, that once I figured out who I was I would have this magical key to life.

As I have now learnt change is the only true constant in life. Literally the only one. This cannot be more true in regards to your sense of self and who you think you are as a person. Of course you will have some really core values and beliefs which will be more resistant to change but it’s not out of the question that they may change at some point in the future.

I think this also relates back to the feeling of imposter syndrome so many of us have. I still, on a semi regular basis feel like I’m pretending to be an adult and can’t believe people give me the responsibility and trust that they do. I particularly felt it when I left the hospital with my son after giving birth. I literally had no idea what I was doing and they let me walk right out of there with him. I think when some of those ideas about who we are, are under construction we start to doubt ourselves a bit more and we let the imposter syndrome feelings in.

The change that is possible within ourselves, especially in relation to those core things we think make up who we are, how we feel about things and how we express ourselves is far more likely to change when we go through a hugely transformative change in our own lives. When we’re trucking along quite nicely and everything is under control we won’t have a need to adapt and change.

This is where I’m going to relate it back to bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery and all the change that happens afterwards is hugely transformative on you as an individual. It will change and affect every aspect of yourself. The physical change will be the most obvious but it’s going to affect you mentally and emotionally too. Not only is all of that change happening to and within yourself but you are going to find that the world around you interacts with and percieves you differently giving you a vastly different world to live in.

All of this is going to push you to change and adapt. Some of those things that you held closely and you used to define yourself in your own head are never going to be the same again. Some of those core values, beliefs and ideas you had about yourself and the world are going to change, forever. Once you reach maintenance the change will settle and you will become comfortable with the new you, in more ways than one, but don’t think that’s your journey of finding yourself over and done with.

To sum all of that brain vomit up, we will never reach a point of being done finding ourselves and figuring out exactly who we are. As humans we are always learning and being challenged by the world around us (look at the current political election in the U.S. for example!) and being affected by and adapting to those influences is something we can’t stop from happening. Deciding to do something as hugely life influencing like bariatric surgery is going to change a whole heap of things in a relatively short space of time.

This then makes total sense as to why a number of relationships break-up after at least one of the partnership go through bariatric surgery. Why so many of us totally change our hairstyles, sense of style and reach out and go for the professional opportunities we would never have dreamed of before. If you are just setting out on this path or any path of massive personal change and wanted to know what’s going to change, I guess I would have to say everything.

I’m at the point in life now where I feel settled. I know enough of who I am that I have a well developed sense of self and know what I am passionate about. I am excitied to have realised though that this is not it. This is not the ‘me’ I am going to be for the next however many years I get to grace this earth for. I look forward to seeing where life takes me and how the experiences I have shape and influence me. It’s the biggest, scariest ones that, in the end at least, end up being the most interesting.

Where are you at in your journey of finding your sense of self? Are you fairly settled at the moment or are you figuring out some new things about yourself and where you’re at?

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There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Ashleigh at 8:17 am

    I’m at that point in life where I am still a bit unsettled and trying to figure out who I am exactly and find my feet – it can be overwhelming, challenging and anxiety ridden sometimes, but I know at the end of the day I’ll work it out.. I hope haha!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 8:47 am

      It will and I think realizing that it’s a never-ending process of self discovery makes it kind of exciting. At the end of the day if you’re being true to yourself and not living to please anyone else to your own detriment then you’re doing life right!

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