Who you are is right in front of you

We all know the stigma around the millennial generation: we are self involved, anxious and giving new meaning to the term ‘identity crisis’. Us 20-somethings claim to not know who we are, to need deep journeys of self discovery to find ourselves. But I think there are actually lots of little signs right in front of you that tell you exactly who you are, you just need to learn how to spot them.

For example, I have a ridiculous amount of tea varieties at work. We are a tiny office – there are three of us. Before me there was two types of tea: normal and Lady Grey. When I started I needed decaf – I’d been off caffeine for years. So, then there were three: normal, decaf and Lady Grey.

Two years later, this is what our tea station looks like:

Normal/decaf
Lady Grey
Decaf Earl Grey
Decaf green tea
Peppermint & Morrocan mint
Apple & blackcurrant
Lemon and ginger
Raspberry and apple
Chai
Decaf coffee

All of these additions are because of me. I am not a person who can stick to one thing for any period of time. It isn’t because I don’t like the original anymore – I always have at least one cup of decaf regular tea a day – but I like variety and, often, the regular tea isn’t what is best for me at the time; sometimes I need peppermint to sooth my stomach or some chai for a placebo sugar fix.

At the end of the day, I am someone who needs variety in my life in order for me not to become complacent or bored.

So what little clues are around you that might point you down the path of discovering who you are? I guarantee they are there but if you’re not convinced, look at your bookshelves.

My room is full of books – I have read most of them at least twice. When I find something I like, I will keep it around. I go over it again and again, loving all the details that I already know and delighted by new ones I discover. On the flip side, I cannot ‘persevere’ with a book – either it catches my attention or I’m done.

I’m a person who knows very quickly if something is right for me or not and I don’t force things if it isn’t a good fit.

Have a look around and see what you find. You don’t always need a therapist or soul-searching trek around Asia to discover who you are. Sometimes you just need to look in your cupboard.

You’ve forgiven others, now forgive yourself

A few years ago I fell prey to the ‘fantasy relationship’ syndrome: the degrading situation of creating a romantic situation where there isn’t one.

Sadly, this situation seems to exist far more than any of us would like and is even acknowledged in Hollywood – remember Gigi in He’s Just Not That Into You? She spent the majority of the film constructing a relationship that didn’t exist anywhere, except in her head.

Now, it’s Hollywood, so of course her situation ended happily with the guy actually falling for her. But this is far from the case in real life.

I built a romantic yarn in my head around a complete fallacy. I took tiny things – like him sending me a message on facebook – and blew them out of proportion, convincing myself that it had a deeper meaning.

Any rational mind wouldn’t have found anything in it but mine did.

Inevitably I was used and humiliated. I’d basically offered it up to him and, unsurprisingly, he took it without giving anything back; as much as we wish everyone had the moral compass of Ghandi, most people don’t.  To be fair, I had walked right into the situation and though I did finally say, ‘no, I have more self respect than this’ I had still constructed this thing entirely on my own in the first place.

There was the time of hating him and cherishing the thought of him being sad and alone forever but I did finally manage to let go of my anger and resentment toward this person.

Instead I started blaming myself.

I would randomly think about it and be reminded that I had created such a stupid situation and the silent and semi-subconsious self bashing would begin.

But blaming myself wasn’t better.

We are human, we make mistakes. We hope for the best and dream about what we don’t currently have. We live in a culture where romance and meaning is arguably dead so I don’t find it at all surprising that girls (and guys) seek something real. And sometimes this yearning slips into fantasy.

That is why we fall prey to this situation. Because we want something beautiful and perhaps, we’ve gotten a little tired of waiting. We want someone to cherish and love us. It’s not a crime.

But, if you have made this mistake, it’s okay. Despite what the other person might say, you are not crazy or psychotic*. You’re a human who makes mistakes. Learn from it. Forgive yourself. And accept that sometimes a ‘hey, how you doin’?’ is just a standard greeting.

*Of course, if it seems like you do this with every guy/girl you meet, there may be other underlying issues that should probably be addressed. Doing this once is a mistake. Creating fantasy relationships from every interaction isn’t – that is a problem.