Who am I?

By Ana Vidosavljevic. Ana, 37, is teacher, international relations specialist, writer, surfer and mother. She lives in Belgrade, Serbia. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

As we are growing up, we learn the benefits of being surrounded by family, dear people, and comfortable home. All that makes us feel protected, safe and happy within the boundaries of our comfort zone. But can we always be happy there? Aren’t we meant to strive for more?

At home, while we are still children, in our hometown or village, we are someone’s son, grandchild, neighbor. We identify ourselves by belonging to a certain family, and later when we are adults to certain race, religion and gender. We know that we belong to some group and it makes us feel comfortable, accepted and approved by society.

However, at a certain point, most of us want to surpass the boundaries of that social acceptance and affirmation and do something that would make us, ourselves, happy, fulfilled and different. Only by learning new things, gaining new knowledge and skills do we feel the real satisfaction of life itself. A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but one can’t be happy forever within its boundaries. In life and in work, we always have to be growing and evolving because the world is constantly changing around us. Self-growth is extremely important for us in order to live fulfilling lives and be successful at work. Whether good or bad, positive or negative, the one constant in life and work is change. It is inevitable. We are creatures of habit, but change pushes us out of our comfort zone, requiring us to make decisions and take action. Embracing transformation demands much more from us than going about our normal daily routines. Having a routine is predictable and safe. There is nothing exciting about it! Most people
tend to view change in a negative light, yet no matter how we feel about it, we can’t stop change from happening. We can only decide to evolve and or stay what we were, i.e. accept the change or refuse it.

Change and personal evolution does not necessarily mean that you will learn who you truly are and what you want to do in your life. You don’t have to stick to one thing, one job, one preference until the end of your life. You might allow changes leading you from one job to another, from one lifestyle to a different one, to one hobby to another one in different stages of your life. When we allow changes to occur naturally, we will discover many of our own aspects, and even if we don’t find out who we truly are we will get to know ourselves better, with every new change. In order to find our values, we need to question things. Stepping outside the box, and getting out of our comfort zones will lead us to start reflecting what is important for us. Once we know what is important to us and the more that we act in
accordance with those values, the better we will feel about ourselves. When we step out of our comfort zone and become uncomfortable we learn what life is all about. Feeling that discomfort and despite its presence, allowing the change to lead us and let us experience different things, will eventually make us less uncomfortable about everything that is new. We will become braver and ready to take upon anything we find interesting.

Taking action is crucial in personal growth. Brooding on thoughts instead of moving your body will only make you depressed and unhappy. Explosion of productivity and personal evolution are possible only by changing your habits and being active. Taking action helps you erase all your anxieties and worries. Every second you wait and think about doing something, the less likely you are to actually do it. You’ll end up procrastinating because you’re not really sure what you have to do. The fact is, everyone makes mistakes, and every beginning is hard. Good thing is to do what feels right at the beginning and to start adjusting along the way.

Michel Foucault believed in the importance of “maintaining mobility of mind and spirit; of avoiding a fixed, stabilized view of the ever-changing present; of maintaining a critical awareness of oneself and the place and time in which one resides.” Foucault proposes activities such as meditation and self-writing practices that bring oneself inside oneself, and momentarily outside of one’s relationship with the world. He proposes that all of us should practice what would help us to explore our sense of freedom by maintaining the ability to choose where to fit oneself within society. Furthermore, Foucault finds the pleasure of life and work in the fact that we don’t know exactly where and how those would end. “What
is true for writing and for love relationships is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know where it will end.” Life doesn’t have to be a plan, a map, a schedule we stick to. On the contrary, the beauty of it is in a constant personal growth and pleasure we find while accepting the
changes that life brings us.

Michel Foucault said: “Couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art?” This question refers to the problem of how to live, how to relate to oneself and to others. This oneself is not a lonely self but practical work with and in relations to others on how we behave in the social world.

Breaking free of the limitations of what others think you should be, brings satisfaction that can even lead you to establish new norms. Nothing frozen is perfect. We can’t be happy if we accept the things as they are and let them carry us into deeper unhappiness. Entering the waters of unknown, experiencing new things which might be scary and discouraging, and letting ourselves embrace those failures and even love them is the way to enjoying our lives and becoming someone we would love more than when
they started the journey of transformation and growth. We are learning about how things work by practicing them. There is no need to wait to be told what to do. We should choose by ourselves. And do it the way we think is best.

43 comments on “Who am I?

  1. Bill parry on

    A beautiful and accurate illustration of the authors happy and loving background and the “aura” of happiness and confidence she exhibits. A sincere text, well documented.

  2. Misko on

    Bright mind, very well upgraded during the years, i remember beginnings of this girl, simply as she can grow in person which she is now, some decisions and movements were definitely out of the average Balkans box mindsets, combining wide and unexpected pallets of interests make this person creative and preferable for reading and a lot of to learn from her…Well done Ana, congrats.


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