A walk in the woods
One sure thing not to do, as you seek to establish your own identity and identify a career that is a fit with who you are, is to equate your future career with your authentic self. A career is really best understood as just a partial and temporary expression of who you are; it doesn’t define who you are, or at least it shouldn’t.
“How exciting, our long-awaited taxi driver has finally come!” Not likely the first words to come out of the mouths of your parents as they caught a glance of your smiling face in the maternity ward.
But if a career does not determine who you are as a person, not to mention your dignity or worth, what does? Something to think about.
One way to at least begin to discern your authentic identity is to get in the habit of going on long walks in the woods – all alone. Alone? Yes, alone. You will, of course, need encouraging relationships, language skills, a supportive community, formal education, new experiences, etc. to help you gain a sense of who you are. But you will also need solitude and silence and a degree of danger.
A regular dose of S & S & D has a way of filtering the voices around you and alerting you to other realities.
Please note, that I am not encouraging anyone to intentionally place themselves in a potentially life threatening situation. If you are out in the woods and coming across a cliff decide to merrily leap from the edge armed only with your Wal-Mart umbrella…don’t blame me for the consequences. If there are bears in your neighbourhood, be sure to bring a gun.
It is just that all sorts of voices are coming in your direction, voices on the outside and voices on the inside, voices that are attempting to define you in a way that fits with an agenda. And these voices need to be turned off from time to time or at least turned down if you hope to eventually view yourself from a more authentic perspective.
Isolating yourself in such a way that your senses are on high alert can be a step in the right direction.
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