If there’s one feeling every human has experienced at some point, it will be the feeling of not being in contact with themself.
Every individual at one point or the other feels they are either not in place, in the right place, or both. This feeling is what causes loneliness— a feeling of lack of connection with one’s environment.
But over the years, individuals have been able to rise above this feeling of loneliness and through documentation of their journey to freedom we have found that the principles they followed can be summarised in one sentence: they came in contact with themselves. This, therefore, is the ultimate cure for loneliness.
We all were created differently. This truth alone suggests to us that we are to function in different capacities. Coming in contact with yourself, therefore, is finding this capacity or space at which you were created to function best, and functioning there –not even ‘just staying around,’ because that creates greater frustration.
But how can one come in contact with themselves? How can one find where they fit in? This article highlights keys that have worked for years. It is a step-by-step journey.
How To Come In Contact With Yourself And Find Where You Fit
This is a jump-starting step in coming in contact with yourself. As much as we were created differently, we have similarities in our functioning. Your space in life is not an alien space. Someone somewherehas similar functioning as yours, and although not exactly, your functioning in life will overlap with someone’s — or better, some people’s.
The reason many people haven’t come in contact with themselves is that they don’t, first of all, know where they should function exists.
For instance, someone in a local community in Nigeria may not be exposed to the reality of being a web developer or a runway model. Even if this happens to be their space, they are kept away from it.
Exposure opens you up to choices; you are not locked up to what is, alone. Seek to be exposed — to careers, skills, and industries, and from the variety of choices, you will find something(s) that catches your attention. Exposure basically lays the foundation of giving you what to choose from. It takes you to the goldmine where you can, then, dig for the gold (your place)
Tools for Exposure
- Books: What books do is that they give you a whole lot of pieces that you can put together. But not just that: books can also give you a totally new idea that you would have never thought of.
There are spaces hidden in books; from academic to entertaining, all books can get you exposed — at least if not to what you should do, to what you didn’t do.
- Movies: Movies also do a lot, especially movies from other countries and cultures. Animations, for instance, research has shown to help boost creativity and imagination.
- YouTube: The goldmine for exposure in this age. Any field not represented on YouTube in this age probably doesn’t exist
Books and YouTube are two very powerful tools for exposure (the Bible is a book, remember). The third tool will be our next main point.
2. Engage yourself
Note at this point that exposure comes in both negative and positive forms, so you must watch so you don’t consume destructive content.
Engagement is also another tool to discover yourself. Whichever environment you find yourself in, be a part of the work going on there. Develop the attitude of always being a contributor. Join service groups.
Many musicians discovered themselves while engaging in a church, politicians in schools, writers and speakers in school clubs, founders of great organizations in community service, and the list continues.
There are two main reasons why engagement is important.
Firstly, it helps you discover hidden potential — some things you never knew you could do. Engaging in the various activities of a community pushes you, or digs into you, to your hidden potential since you will have to do what the environment demands, not just things you would naturally do if you were alone.
This makes engagement a strong complement to reading and YouTube where you are the one in control of what you read and watch (and you will most likely stay within your comfort zone which might not actually be your place, but just where you are used to).
Secondly, engagement helps you develop skills. Apart from discovery, it is a platform of practice; where you get better at what you do.
After discovering your place, it will only be wise to develop yourself in it. Engagement merges discovery and development. It even gives you extra skills that are not necessarily in your niche but can be infused into it to get better outcomes.
3. Spending Time Alone
A quarter of the women and two-thirds of the men in a University of Virginia study chose to subject themselves to an electric shock rather than do nothing and spend time alone with their thoughts.
Spending time alone is something not celebrated and sometimes considered negative in our society today. But being alone is not being lonely. Let’s call it aloneness.
Loneliness is a state of mind, feeling unconnected to the environment. One can be among many and still feel unconnected. Read this article on The Real Social Implication of Spending Time Alone.
Spending time alone allows you to sieve from all you have discovered from your exposures and engagements, what really suits you, or where you really find yourself.
At this point, you are free from the distractions of self-consciousness (being uncomfortable because you are worried about what people think about you or your actions).
Spending time alone is the hub of coming in contact with yourself; where you make that decision, from all you have seen and experienced, of where you can really stay. It isn’t a day’s job, but it doesn’t take forever, either.
Day after day, you’ll keep sieving from general to specific. A journal will do you good here, where you record your progress. You also keep adding to the list other things you discover along the way that suits you.
In continuous adding and subtracting, some things will remain.
Discipline is placing restrictions on yourself from pleasures in the present in order to attain a future gain. It comes to play in finding your place because sometimes (or most times) you’ll need a push in order to be truly satisfied in your place.
An airplane is made for the sky, but it must fight against gravity to get there. After you have discovered your place, it might not seem like it at first. Yes, it was your best option among the many things you have explored, but when starting, you most likely lack the necessary disposition needed.
You will have to adjust (leave where you have been used to) and learn what is required for excellence in this new field. It is enjoyable when you are in your place, but you will have to pass through this initial stage of friction.
If your field is writing, for instance, your first few works or even the thought of writing might overwhelm you. Once you have passed through this stage through discipline, like the airplane, you will fly with ease.
One area in which you must show discipline is in continuous study– for deeper discovery and greater development. You will be tempted to stop studying/research once you have gotten to an appreciable level in your field but you must discipline yourself not to fall for that temptation.
Further studies on the popular belief that practice makes perfect brought about the Learning Curve. It shows that you may experience a rapid improvement early as you continue with just practice, but this improvement will slow and your skill level will reach a plateau.
At this plateau, you must take conscious efforts and discipline to get to the point of excellence.
At the very basis of effectiveness and satisfaction in life is the discovery of your place. Our place in life is discoverable if we would work at it. At whatever stage you are in, in the discovery process, these four steps can take you from where you are to the next step. Get exposed, engage yourself, spend time alone, and be disciplined.
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.