By Tanya Tiger HOLY FIRE

How I’m Finding Myself, Even When I Don’t Know Who I Am

By Tanya Tiger

Knowing Myself Through Un-knowing

My birthday is today Friday, February 3rd.

Birthdays always seem to get me thinking about where my life is headed, and they motivate me to pause and check myself. What I realized today, about turning 38, is that I have spent most of those 38 years trying to “find myself” and all the while I was right here.

It sounds odd, I suppose. I mean, how can someone go through their life not knowing themselves? What does it even mean to “find yourself?” How do you know when you’ve “found yourself?”

Is it like finding money in the pocket of your old coat, or more like finding the lost Covenant of the Ark? What does it even feel like to know yourself? My head has been spinning with all of these questions until I finally told my brain to shut-up and turned to Where’s My Guru, hoping for a nugget of wisdom to chew on.

I found what I didn’t even know I was looking for… someone to tell me that it was ok to not know. This message came in the form of a video by JP Sears, titled “Be Myself?

In a nut shell, JP explains that a major part of life is the discovering of who you are not, in order to discover who you are. It’s the not-knowing which leads to true knowing. To put it another way… Not knowing ourselves opens us up to questioning which leads to growth. If we all “knew ourselves” there would be nothing left to learn and life would kind of be pointless. It’s in the living of life, the discovering our likes and dislikes, uncovering our fears and our pleasures, and simply (or not-so-simply), being present during our journey through life.

After I sat with this new way of looking at things I felt a bit lighter. I didn’t feel so driven to discover how to be “authentic.” I simply am and that is ok. As JP pointed out in his video, instead of feeling upset by feeling uncertain of who I am, and feeling a need to pick an identity, I can sit in the knowing that I am someone who doesn’t know who I am and that is totally ok. From this stance I can take a look at the stories I tell myself and let go of that which no longer fits or serves me.

There is a great deal of freedom in changing the focus from “who am I” to “who am I not”.

I know, through life experience, who I am not. I know what traits, and ways of being, make me run for the hills. Knowing this about myself opens me up to discovering who I am. It’s in the unlearning of behaviors, the untangling of facades, and the stepping out from my hiding place that allows me to flourish.

I am discovering that, by spending so much time trying to “find myself”, I left myself behind. Going forward I will allow the discomfort of uncertainty to sit with me. I will step out into the light of truth and out of the shadow of delusion. There is no need for me to fully know myself in this moment. I am excited by the sense of curiosity I feel growing within me to see what comes next. There is a sense of adventure rather than dread. The pressure of feeling I must be someone or else I am no one has dropped away. The constriction of trying to force myself into mold after mold has loosened.

I am me and I’m not entirely sure who that is or what that means, and I’m totally ok with this way of being in the world. Not knowing myself allows me to be completely open to all that is. Someday I may meet myself. For now, I am going to enjoy the journey and make friends with uncertainty.

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.

"It’s a really beautiful time and unfortunately we live in a culture that doesn’t really know how to honor death. What the feminine teaches us is to honor our own death. I think Joseph Campbell says, if you’re blessed you’ll live many lives in one lifetime. But that involves going through many deaths, right? Change is death, of what you know and who you’ve been. And when we learn to honor our own deaths, we really put to rest what hasn’t served—relationships, ways of being, ways of identifying, ways of showing up in the world—and allow that winter space for something new to be born. That’s a really beautiful way to live." — @sarahdurhamwilson #WAKINGWILD Read more: @kayharr73 @ladypantzz @tanyamarkul @thugunicorn Image: @atticuspoetry


Tanya Tiger

Tanya Tiger is a creative and fiery soul who dreams of a world where everyone is free to be their authentic selves. She has been writing, drawing, sculpting and otherwise flexing her creative muscles since she was a child. She dances somewhere between optimism and “the real world”. Her heart is a vast ocean of emotions where her soul sets sail and rides the ever-changing highs and lows. She is married to her soulmate and is the mother of two daughters, one who lives on this earthly plane and the other who watches over from the “other side” (aka Heaven).

  1. Happy Birthday Tanya.. time for another yearlt cycle of rebirth and growth.. we all spiral upward…look back on this year and see how far you have gone and then look forward to see where you are going.. you naturally redifine every year.. hugs….I have been redefining as I evolve all year .. then a downslide… another issue… to leave behind…, Then another me retuning …..exept this this time , I am aware of it.

  2. Thank you Fern!
    Life truly it’s a journey, not a destination. It’s all about adapting and growing. Thank you for sharing your journey with me here.

  3. Diane Dorrough

    You again leave me in awe!!! I think I just try to damn much instead of just letting it all be.
    You, my daughter and friend are a continued blessing to me. You always will be but, you instill in me your Mother a zest for learning true self. Thank you ❤

  4. Patrizia

    Your writing fires up slumbering souls, it awakened mine in an instant ! I no longer wish to be silent, I feel the lump in my throat melting away, I am ready to speak my truth.
    Thank you !

    • Patrizia,
      Responses like this help keep my creative fires burning. My hope, with everything I write, is that someone will be inspired to seek their own truth and let their voice be heard.
      Blessings to you!

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