Encountering Yourself Anew

Encountering Yourself Anew | Photo by Fares Hamouche on Unsplash

HSSS | Encountering Yourself Anew | “I met a lot of people in Europe; I even encountered myself.” When the American writer James Baldwin said this, can you relate with him? It makes one reflect if you have indeed already encountered yourself. The description of the word encounter is “to meet by surprise” or “to meet unexpectedly,” among other definitions. When was the last time you were taken by surprise by something you discovered about yourself?

When was the last time that you have come across something that you didn’t think you would have a taste for, but which you found enjoyable later on? Have you ever experimented with a new dish or activity? Perhaps you’ve taken up a new pastime. When something like this takes place without you having any control over the circumstances, it is an opportunity for greater self-discovery. Too many people never leave their safe spaces and therefore rarely allow for situations where they could be forced to confront themselves in new and unfamiliar ways.

Make it a point to do something out of the ordinary today. Visit a beach or forest and take in the sounds, scents, and tastes of nature. Stroll leisurely and find time for journaling. Spend some time by yourself observing and taking in details that you would normally take for granted. In addition to writing your feelings and reactions, jot down any reflections or nostalgic recollections that may have been sparked.

Encountering yourself anew is the first step on the path to self-discovery. As much as we normally want to keep away from confrontation and conflict, which are usually connected with the word “encounter,” we have to be willing to face them.  For successful self-discovery, we need to be willing to explore even the inner battles we have been continually fighting inside us, some of which are more subdued than others. We need to face the irrational worries and presumptions that plague us.

In some ways, our lives are similar to that of a little child who, upon first glance, has an opinion on the meal before him based just on appearance. He’ll give it a shot if it seems appetizing, but if it doesn’t, he’ll say so. And as adults, we usually urge them to give it a try before they could even say no.  This should also be our approach to our encounters– giving ourselves the freedom to be surprised by life, even in ways that challenge our internal assumptions.

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