What It Takes to Find Oneself

January 4, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 4 Comments

“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life.” Frederick Nietzsche

“Finding yourself” harkens me back to my agenda as a hippie in the late 1960’s at UCLA. Deep and confusing was the journey as so many different proponents of personal and social change became prominent: Abbe Hoffman, Che Guevara, Eric Fromm, and Alan Watts all suggested methodologies for “finding yourself” by different means, from revolution and protests to love and meditation.

The Very Few “Grand Ole Days”

In the 60’s finding yourself was as much a corporate journey as it was a personal one. The Hate Ashbury district of San Francisco was our Mecca and Woodstock our weighty announcement to the world that Bob Dylan was “right on” when he said, “the world, it is a changin’.”

But now… after all our effort did we change ourselves or change the world for the good? I think not. So many of us surprisingly turned into yuppies and simply proceeded pretty much with the old American Way.

Comfortable with Yourself?

Still, I have indeed changed. As I sit here fifty years later “finding myself” has become much less desirable than “being comfortable with myself” or as my friend Terry Hershey advises, “to be comfortable in my own skin.” But for each of us that most likely is determined by something different. For me to be comfortable with myself is all about peace and serenity, knowing that I am okay just as I am. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I have only to “be,” and to love and to be kind.

For me, Nietzsche really understood the quest most assiduously almost one hundred and fifty years ago when he spoke of the need to build our Own bridge upon which to cross the turbulent waters of life.


My methodology for bridge building has been intentional solitude and reflection in which I perform a daily morning ritual of meditation, inspiration reading, and journaling. This ritual has allowed me to bypass ego needs and discover even more enlightening heart and soul needs. There is something about reflective solitude that has, for me, proven to be life altering.

Or Productivity?

Regarding solitude Hermann Hesse pens, “Solitude is the path over which destiny endeavors to lead man to himself.” However I find that solitude is not for the young because, for the young, the need for active productivity and accomplishment are necessary in the journey of maturation… and for “finding oneself.”

These thoughts make me curious regarding your own journey. Are you searching for the life enriching self-confidence that comes from building your ego? Or do you find yourself in the place where perhaps a greater emphasis of solitude and reflection is more conducive to finding yourself—or perhaps, being comfortable in your own skin?

Either journey is admirable, for either one will lead you to the experience of a more meaningful life.

You Must Build Your Own Bridge

To Cross the Rivers of Life

Photo courtesy of Xurzon at istockphoto

4 thoughts on “What It Takes to Find Oneself”

  1. So fascinating! Because of my personal experiences when I was young, I’m living Hesse’s idea in reverse! I started off with the solitude, meditation, soul-searching, quest for meaning. Now…I’m trying to figure out the building my “real-world” ego, and existing in a system/environment, both socially and financially, that I never really understood! Haha!

    1. Jonathan. It is absolutely critical for meaningful personal development to establish a strong ego. I highly encourage you to continue to do so. The task falls into the the category of 1st half living. And you are naturally in the first half. I’m so glad that you have embraced your journey in a thoughtful manner. Please keep me posted on your adventures along Your road.

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