“Finding Yourself” Is a Crock

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    Apr 20, 2008 9:43 PM GMT
    This was written by Cameron Ming on some "manliness" blog - otherwise lame I find this resonant (and not heterosexist). This isn't "all" of what I believe and having kids scares the shit out of me (I have enough trouble with Dachsunds). However, the smartest people I have ever met are gay men with kids.


    Cameron Ming - April 17, 2008

    I was watching a program on Caligula the other night. Most should remember Caligula as one of the most inhumane, blood-thirsty, and psychotic of all Roman emperors. On the program they pointed to a turning point in his reign where he sort of just cracked. He had started out fine but about six months in he turned wacko. Some of the more notable acts of lunacy included ordering the deaths of tons of people (including his cousin), proclaiming himself a god, and wanting to make his horse a consul. As most of these programs do, there were various experts and professors that gave their commentary on Caligula’s life. One gave her opinion as to why Caligula lost his marbles. She said - and this is the kicker - he never had a chance to “find himself.”

    That’s right folks, the ensuing bloodbath was all because little Caligula never had a chance to really find out who he was. Whatever. I’m not an expert on Ancient Roman History and I’m no psychiatrist, but I think that’s absolutely the lamest excuse ever.

    It’s nice to know that one of the stupidest tools of justification has made its way into the big leagues. Most of the time that I’ve heard, “Oh, I really think I just need to find myself,” it involves a 20-something kid that still can’t decide what they want to do with their life. It’s typically used as a cop-out to wriggle out of committing to a woman or as a cover to continue putting off any kind of real responsibility. It’s what man-boys tell themselves while they continue to play video games 7 hours a day, get smashed every weekend, and sleep with anyone that’s willing.

    Human beings have the longest childhood and adolescence of any animal in the world. You spent 22 years finding yourself. You know what you like and what you don’t like. If you are still “finding yourself” after college, it’s because you’re afraid of commitment.

    Now, I’m definitely not against really understanding one’s self and truly knowing who you are (the essence of “finding yourself”) - that’s all just fine. I think that’s the key to being happy. What I do think is that anyone who consciously states he is “finding himself” is a tool. I don’t think it’s something you sit down and decide. It just happens.

    The irony is that the only way to actually find yourself is by embracing commitment. I learned way more about who I really am after suffering through hardcore adversity and taking on massive responsibility than I ever have by taking some “me” time. I think that’s what real men do. You find out what you are made of and who you really are when the fight starts. Not by playing video games and sleeping around. That type of “finding yourself” is a largely selfish prospect and is ultimately detrimental to developing acceptable social skills. No real growth can come from it.

    So to say that Caligula lost his marbles and banished his wife and killed his father-in-law because he never had a chance to find himself is a pretty weak argument. I’d just say he wasn’t a man and couldn’t handle the pressure.

    Here are some legitimate ways a man can truly find himself:

    1) Commit to a Relationship: I don’t care if it’s a puppy or a plant (but better if it’s a human), being in a relationship where someone depends on you requires you to sacrifice and make time - both things that will help you to prioritize your life and learn respect for others.

    2) Get a Job and Keep it: If you’re over 22 and daddy is still paying your rent and bills, something is wrong. Get a job and make your own way. And don’t quit if it gets hard. Stick it out and be respectful to your boss and coworkers. I’ve learned a ton about myself by how I handle tense moments at work, not during a sweet 8 on 8 halo battle with my buddies. My sick Halo skills haven’t been responsible for any increase in my salary…yet.

    3) Do Service for Someone that Really Needs it: Giving of yourself and your time is always nice, but to do it for someone that really needs it makes you feel all nice inside. And try this - see how long you can go without telling anyone about it. I was watching a show the other night where this millionaire kept bragging about how many poor families he fed last year. He didn’t even try to be discrete about it. Made me question his motives. If you keep it quiet then it’s truly for you and the other person. No one else needs to know.

    4) Get Married: I truly believe that personal progression
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    Apr 20, 2008 10:51 PM GMT
    UrsaMajor, your headline got my attention because I don't think 'finding oneself' is a crock.

    I agree with you (or the writer you quoted), however, that a psychological diagnosis hundreds of years after someone lived should be taken with a grain of salt. And that includes even relatively recent corpses.

    I also want to add that it seems to me a bit unreasonable to expect the process of 'finding oneself' to end at 22 for everybody. I'm also not sure getting married is right for everybody.

    In short, one-size-fits-all in lifestyle or personal development seems a little bit much to ask.

    But thanks for posting. For me, there's enough in that article for a lot of discussions.
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    Apr 20, 2008 10:53 PM GMT
    Forgot to add that I'm not sure gay men with kids are the smartest people I've ever met, but I have concluded that they are the most considerate, helpful, etc.
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    Apr 20, 2008 11:52 PM GMT
    Well, Carlos, I don't agree with everything this guy says either. However, like you, I think it is worth a discussion.

    I have a friend who moved to Mexico (he is half Mexican and half American with both passports). He came back after awhile saying it had all changed since his youth.

    When did you find yourself? (sounds like you have)

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    Apr 21, 2008 1:18 AM GMT
    I think "finding yourself" is a perfectly normal idea.

    We're creatures of upbringing, everything about us is shaped by our genes and where we grew up. Some guys/gals might not have a stable or appealing upbringing. When brought up then thrown into a world that conflicts with everything they knew its easy to see why people might feel lost or alienated from the world.

    I think finding yourself is the process of adjusting your mind and body to the world you desire, drifting away from the world you were raised in.

    And since you mentioned the typical 20 yr old with no clue on life, well most (as least some!) of us 20 something year olds didn't get to enjoy being raised in an open family. Plus that and the typical suburban upbringing is a far cry from the real world. When finally faced with the world beyond my parents house its easy to see where some guys might need time to adjust.
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    Apr 21, 2008 1:29 AM GMT
    I'm of the personal opinion that "finding" one's self is a very rare thing in life.

    Since we, as human beings, are ever changing and growing, we are constantly revising the definition of ourselves and of our existence. If that definition is constantly changing, then that would suggest that when we "find" ourselves, our perception and definition of ourself may be different, and hence, we would have to go on that journey of self-exploration and "find" ourselves again.

    If this could be held as true and valid, then no man would be able to "find" themselves because it's ever changing and growing, just beyond our grasp.
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    Apr 21, 2008 2:22 AM GMT
    Great topic Terry !!!! by the way, I liked particularly what you said about gay men raising kids !!! but I'm Biased since I raised a boy and a girl on my own after a divorce. LOL !!!! So thanks for the compliment !!!! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------But the real topic is "FINDING YOURSELF" There's no way to find yourself except by "DOING SOMETHING" preferably something you like, I don't think setting a goal to "find yourself" will work. Every person knows of something that he likes to do, so start with that, then you will fine tune what you like to do, that suits you best. And Walla !!!!! You will find that you have "FOUND YOURSELF"!!! Every person is constantly being re-invented to adjust to what life throws at him, it may be a health problem, or an unavoidable move, but you adjust and "FIND YOURSELF" again in a new way that fits with new circumstances. The key to finding yourself is in finding your passion in your life, and going where that passion leads you. I think your exactly right, that you have to commit to something to do it. Your not going to be successful if your floundering aimlessly thinking about finding yourself. it just won't happen !!!! So start with doing something you like to do, don't go down anyone elses path, go down your own path to finding what you like to do, what your passion is, then and only then will you "FIND YOURSELF" You'll also be happy while on that road because you'll find satisfaction in accomplishing some goal you like to do. So I basicly agree with you Terry !!! I just said it less eliquently. Ha !!!!
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    Apr 21, 2008 2:28 AM GMT

    Hey ursamajor, while you're tuckin in those lil rugg rats, readin em bed time stories, i'll be bangin your husband. icon_razz.gif

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    Apr 21, 2008 3:46 AM GMT
    UrsaMajor, to answer your direct question, I have to admit that finding myself is still an ongoing process.

    In fact, my most recent notion had something to do with the way, if I laid my life out, I'd see some parts where it was fluid and self-directed (in other words, I was creating my life) and other parts where it was more solid and I was just kind of living out pre-created arrangements (some of these less thrilling stretches lasted YEARS).

    To illustrate, moving down here was definitely fluid and self-directed and thrilling, but it's already (after nine months) starting to semi-solidify.

    I know this has something to do with stability and change.

    And I hope it answers your question.

    Perhaps I should say when I've overcome my next self-limiting belief I can answer your question.
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    Apr 21, 2008 3:47 AM GMT
    Sorry, I should have addressed you as Terry.
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    Apr 21, 2008 3:50 AM GMT
    Not that there's parallels to GWB and Caligula, Ursa, but I remember the excuses why he ignored the bulletins about Al Qaeda, given by the right-wing media: he hadn't found himself yet as a leader.

    Not that there's a parallel. I just hate that crap too.
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    Apr 21, 2008 3:57 AM GMT
    I do partially agree with you ursamajor. Most of the time when I hear people say "I'm finding myself" they are really saying I'm taking time to sit around and do nothing. I also believe in some of your values, such as committing to something, and doing service for others who need it.

    I myself have found myself a little empty at night. Focusing on "damn I can't get that guy I want" or "I missed a day at the gym" it ends up ruining my day. I really need to learn theres alot more to life, if someone isn't interested I need to get over it. If I can't get to the gym a day I want to go, I need to find a way to live with it. I do want to get out and do something out of my mundane everyday existence, because honestly its making me depressed.
  • justjk

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    Apr 21, 2008 4:02 AM GMT
    I FOUND MYSELF!!... sadly i was sitting in the corner eating a bag of oreos!!! i was very sad!!!! LOL
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    Apr 21, 2008 7:00 AM GMT
    Gotta make a distinction here folks. I did not write the topic. These are the ideas of Cameron Ming, a straight guy. I happen to agree with a lot of them.

    Mickey, I think the parallel of President Bush to Caligula is pretty astonishing. It never occurred to me, but it actually makes sense.

    Guilty - at least that will make one of us. icon_razz.gif
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    Apr 21, 2008 7:06 AM GMT
    Interesting topic to say the least.

    I wonder how many people ever find thmeselves assuming they are even looking for themselves. Most people send most of their time searching for others.

    I've found most of myselfand I have the rest of my life to find the rest. I'm in no hurry.
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    Apr 21, 2008 7:07 AM GMT
    If you can 'find yourself' it means that there wasn't much depth to be found.

    Finding one's self is a crock.

    Being okay with who you are at the moment you think of it, that is more the issue at stake.

    If you're constantly wondering if what you're doing is right, then you're not quite comfortable with how you function or your decision making process.

    If you've found yourself, and feel like its possible for everyone, it would be really hard for me to believe that some drug was not involved.
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    Apr 21, 2008 6:59 PM GMT
    I don't think you ever fully find yourself.

    I mean life is full of experinces that change us. When my dad had 7 heart attacks last December on the verge of Christmas I was so thankful he could be home for the holidays. I saw how life could change in a split second and that every moment should be important and meaningful.

    It also showed me that I was a very strong person, because I had to hold myself together when my mom was falling apart.

    It's hard to really find yourself because people grow. I think when we get into our later years we have pretty much made up our minds about who we are.

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    Apr 21, 2008 7:40 PM GMT
    The whole notion of finding oneself reminds me of the fantastically choreographed musical Pippin. The moment we are living right now is 'it.' That's who we are.
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    Apr 22, 2008 12:06 AM GMT
    UrsaMajor: Your constellation is prominant in the high early evening April northern sky--have you been able to "find yourself" looking north? There is something hidden within your constellation, it is looking to find itself too and only a discerning eye can allow it to "come out."

    Your topic "finding yourself" is an intriguing one.

    I came here to this place of letter writers to know more about myself--in a sense to find myself. But that "is another story" so they say.

    About Caligula--well, if we believe in the existence of good and evil, then it is somewhat simple. In chosing his way of life, and committing to it--he chose the "dark." No--he became it...evil incarnate, cloaked in anti-social sickness...damit, he had a criminal mind that "awakened" within him when power was available--absolue power. This guy was simply evil--chose it and it made him sick. Shakespeare writes about this in some of his histories and tragedies and touches on it even in his comedies.

    But "finding youself." I agree with some of the other guys here ... you will not find yourself in seeking to do so. I entered a monastery when I was a young man seeking to "find myself." That was a joke -- I only found confusion. But I look back at it now--I was too young to understand what was really happening to me ... in reflection I noticed I had changed ---but not deliberately.

    I entered the military ... not to "find myself" but because I was ordered to do so. It was here that I encountered my self stripped and humbled and weak and had to do something about or die or allow others to die. I still look over my shoulder watching for the coward in me.

    There is a genre in literature that deals with "coming of age" a period in life when people "find themselves" and growth occurs. "Augie March", "Hucklebery Finn", "Atlas Shrugged", "Catcher in the Rye," "Separate Peace" and on and on are all written about this "coming of age" this "finding self" (esp "Siddhartha"). But it is all about youth not about people my age (60s and about)... in order to grow and continue to grow we all must "come of age" continuously--and in so doing--find another part of our self.

    So I have been seeking (like Diogenese with his lantern) that part of writing that speaks to people over 30 who come of age --of a sudden-- because of something that happened in their life. A sudden Epiphany of light that they had the courage to grab towards and it changed them. Damn--we have all had this happen to us ...and without knowing sometimes or simply taking a chance.

    But no one writes novels about this...

    Well--I have jack jawed you all to death by now.

    Good evening--enjoy UrsaMajor in his splendor...lol.


  • MisterT

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    Apr 22, 2008 12:24 AM GMT
    I believe life is a mix of finding what makes you happy and creating your own path. You create who you are and your own path, but can take time to find what truly makes you happy, for some people that takes a long time, some people find some happiness quickly, and stay happy, where some switch tracks at points in their lives to find a different happiness. Humans are complex, and can't have simple rules to live by set on them, only if they choose.
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    Apr 23, 2008 6:02 AM GMT
    There was a time in my life when I felt lost.

    So I looked in the usual place--among the sofa cushions--and there I was!

    Simple, really.
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    Apr 23, 2008 6:13 AM GMT
    Ah, it was getting a bit crowded in there with the lint and now YOU.