Exploring The Horizons of One’s Self – Without Being Lost

By Katerina Zagaynova. Katerina lives in Moscow, Russia. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

“I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” – Michel Foucault

To become someone else that you were not in the beginning… That sounds like a genuine life challenge. Indeed, isn’t it exciting to constantly set new limits and never let the self-development stop? It’s impossible to predict with certainty where the chosen way will lead us, and that is what makes exploration ever beautiful. But should we allow the events of our lives to ultimately define and shape us? Are we not missing something essential here?

More than a decade ago, on one of the warm and sunny summer days, I made a life-changing decision on a whim. Being a high school student in a small provincial town, I chose education and challenge over the stability and certainty of the established lifestyle. That particular moment of my life was the first time when I truly did not know who I am and what I am to become. The feeling was overwhelming and slightly frightening, but at the same time incredibly motivating. For the first time I realized that my life and future are a canvas in my own hands, and having experienced it once, I did not let that feeling go. Years later, I am a medical doctor working in the humanitarian field and traveling all over the world. I am grateful for every single moment, every unexpected turn and every bump along the way, and looking forward to what is to come next. The ultimate destination is still hidden from sight – it’s a story of events and transformations which I keep writing.

Many of us would prefer exploration over stability, are not afraid to set new limits and experiment. And this is what makes life fun, isn’t it? Starting at one level and making your way to the next, achieving new heights and uncovering your abilities which you, perhaps, were not even aware of. Sometimes along the way it may be impossible to know for sure who we are at that particular moment – only to find out later, looking back at the journey made. And then let a new cycle of evolution begin. It is the eternal self-development and pursuit of dreams that make life worth living.

But moving forward along the way, how do we know that we are on the right track? Don’t some of you, fellow travelers, feel lost? We all do at times – a feeling of being lost is part of finding the right way. What would be the light to show us the direction when we are wandering in the dark? You may be listening for clues and waiting for signs, but can you hear your true calling? It is the internal voice of our self that keeps imploring and convincing us to take the right step. Perhaps you are too busy to pay attention and disregard it way too easily. But if you take a moment to listen, it may give you the key to the solution long sought. Are you indeed pursuing your dreams, or did you just let yourself go with the flow? Are the decisions you are making truly you own? We may not exactly know who we are right now – but we need the direction to keep moving forward. To hear your calling and to follow it is not always easy or even possible at a particular moment. But if you do… it may one day open a new door in your life, perhaps when least expected.

The voice of our calling may tell us the direction we have been long looking for, but is there something else that we would regard as a common and immutable value, no matter where the road of exploration leads us? Perhaps there is, and the word for it would be genuineness. It is amazing how, while it comes naturally to us all as kids, sometimes we lose it along the way of life without even noticing.

Do you remember how you used to smile to people when you were younger? Do you still do it in the same way? Is it true that being around you, people would sense openness and warmth? Or just see a polished and seemingly perfect surface, which turns out to be plain cold artificial stone upon touch? Oh, I do know life is not all smooth sailing – each of us has more than one story of our trust being broken and our openness being taken advantage of. But while there is a need to avoid such kind of interaction, is it really necessary to mimic the offenders?

True, it is not essential to know who you are at a particular moment – but to always keep the direction in mind. A change without direction may become a dead end. When in doubt, take a moment to listen to yourself – maybe the right way has been in plain sight, but you did not notice it, caught in a continuous race. Directions may change – it is also part of life; what should not change, however, is the sincerity – to ourselves and others around us.

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